Vegan Turmeric-Orange Cake: Magic out of a Box



This is probably my last fall recipe in 2018 before everything outdoors turns to ashes and everything indoors turn into glittery white, red and green! I am aware that the Christmas baking season has kicked off. Yet, I wanted to bid a farewell to my favorite season with this wonderfully fall-hued cake, inspired by the Lebanese turmeric cake Sfouf.

Sfouf is a traditional Lebanese turmeric-anise-scented cake, cut in diamonds and served with a cup of coffee or mint tea. I wasn’t familiar with this cake up until I saw Sfouf cake mix on the shelves of my neighborhood Middle Eastern store. I was curious to try it. Admittedly, I am a big fan of cake mixes and cooking shortcuts in general.

As my friend commented on this post ” We nowadays are under the pressure to do everything from scratch, yet who has the time.”  I want to stress the fact that shortcuts are not a sin. I am labeled by my family as purist. Yet, I use shortcuts often to save some energy for other family tasks. I prefer spending quality time with my kids piecing a puzzle together rather than spending several hours in the kitchen preparing a complex meal. We can always check the ingredients of the cake boxes to choose what we feel most comfortable with.

Now back to this cake, the first time I baked it as is, I envisioned the potential of spinning it into a delectable show stopping dessert! Perfect context to test my new vegan dessert was a seated vegan dinner at my place, to which I invited cross-cultural guests with genuine passion for fusion cuisine.

To the Sfouf mix I added a teaspoon of turmeric to enhance the color, the zest of one orange and dashes of cinnamon and clove. Instead of using the traditional rectangular mold to bake the cake, to cut it later into diamonds, I picked a silicone mold of mini bundt cakes. I fancy individual desserts for seated dinners. They make an unmatched elegant grand finale.

While the cake was baking in the oven, I prepared a zesty fragrant syrup to drizzle it over the cake while it was still warm. To gild the lily, I prepared some almond praline the day before and sprinkled it on the top of the cake. This last step is definitely optional.

There is nothing wrong about using a box of a cake mix! Conversely, it challenges our creativity and opens a whole lot of possibilities. Vegan turmeric cake is a light, easy fix, and a restaurant quality dessert that leaves a long-lasting impression on foodies.

Vegan Turmeric Cake

Inspired by the Lebanese cake Sfouf

Serves 12



The Cake: 

  • 1 Sfouf cake mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Zest of one orange

The Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • A rind of an orange (small piece)
  • One cinnamon stick

The Praline:

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds
The Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400° F). Grease the bundt molds.
  2. Empty the cake mix in a deep mixing bowl and follow the instructions on the box.  After adding the quantity of oil and water indicated, add the spices and the orange zest.
  3. Beat the batter for 2 minutes until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the mini bundt molds. Or just pour it in if you are using a regular mold.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let the cake cool to room temperature and drizzle the warm syrup over it.

The Syrup

  1. Add the sugar to the water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir continuously to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add the cinnamon stick and the orange rind when the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Let the syrup boil for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Let it cool down and drizzle it warm on the cake.

The Praline: 

  1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Increase heat to high and boil without stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture turns golden. Remove from heat. Set aside for 2 minutes to allow bubbles to subside.  Add almonds. Pour onto prepared tray. Allow to cool. Break praline into bites and shards.
  3. Sprinkle praline on the cake right after drizzling the syrup so the praline sticks to the surface of the cake.


  1. Baking time could extend to 30 to 35 minutes if you use one big mold to bake the cake, instead of mini bundt cakes.
  2. Don’t let the simple syrup boil more than 5 minutes so it doesn’t get too thick.

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