Quadradinhos de Laranja (Little Squares of Orange)

Orange lovers rejoice! This cake—one of the traditional yellow-hued sweets of Lisbon—is packed with sunny flavor thanks to loads of zest plus it's drenched with orange syrup after coming out of the oven. Tightly wrap any leftovers with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. We added a touch of whole-wheat flour to help balance the sweetness. This recipe is part of Brooke Siem's Grandmother Project. Learn more about this recipe and other recipes Siem learned to make in the article How Cooking Connected One Chef with Grandmothers Across the World.

Quadradinhos de Laranja (Little Squares of Orange)
Photo: Penny De Los Santos
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins


  • ½ cup white whole-wheat flour

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 4 large eggs, separated, divided

  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup, divided

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • Zest of 2 oranges plus 1/3 cup orange juice, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving about 1 inch overhanging the long sides. Coat the parchment with cooking spray.

  2. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

  3. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, on low speed until the whites begin to froth, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until foamy and doubled in size, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the egg whites to a clean bowl and set aside.

  4. Wash and dry the mixing bowl (if using a stand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment). Beat 1 1/4 cups sugar and butter in the bowl on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in orange zest, scraping down the sides as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, one-third at a time, beating until just combined.

  5. Using a flexible spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

  6. Bake until the cake is light golden and the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 35 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, combine orange juice and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  8. While the cake is hot, brush with the orange syrup. Let cool for 15 minutes. Lift the cake out of the pan with the parchment and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.


Parchment paper

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

59 Calories
2g Fat
9g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 48
Calories 59
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 1g 2%
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Vitamin A 87IU 2%
Sodium 26mg 1%
Potassium 12mg 0%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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