I think it’s safe to say that most of us are pretty sick of winter at this point and if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where you don’t really experience winter, I envy you. This time of year is the one I like the least because despite knowing that spring is almost here, it just can’t come soon enough. We got a small taste of spring in Montreal last week but that was just a tease and we have since fallen back into cold winter weather. Yet, the one good thing about this time of year is the abundance of citrus that’s available. I’m a huge fan of citrus and I’ve eaten quite the variety over the last few months. While I love to bake with citrus, especially lemons and limes, I don’t include oranges in my baked goods as often as I should. So when my mom brought some deliciously sweet and juicy oranges over to my apartment (her bid to make sure I stay healthy), I knew I wanted to try baking with some of them.
As I was flipping through The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden over the weekend, I came across this recipe for Orange Cake that is popular in the Sephardi world. This was exactly the kind of recipe I was looking for, but what made it even more appealing was the information I found about the relationship between the Jewish community and oranges. When one thinks about the link between Jews and citrus, the first thing that will usually come to mind is the etrog, a central element in Sukkot celebrations. However, Jews also have a long history with the orange that extends far into the past.