orange glaze

Tangelo Sweet Rolls


It has been a very long time since I lasted posted, and (unsurprisingly) a lot has happened. My husband and I are expecting our first child in October!! It is a very exciting time for us, and the first trimester was a roller coaster of nausea for me. Our cooking has been minimal the past few months, as I have been living off of my cravings for subways sandwiches and mashed potatoes!

I have also been craving  citrus fruits way more often than I ever did before! Perhaps I need the calcium? Either way, we found a way to make citrus fruits unhealthy and sugary and delicious- put them in sweet rolls! These are essentially cinnamon rolls with a fruity filling instead of the more traditional nut and spice filling.


Typically these kinds of sweet rolls are made with oranges, but we made them with tangelos (the zest and juice). I preferred the tangelo flavor because it is tangier. Also, the rind is much brighter in color, which makes for great photos when you add in the zest!

You can serve these for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack! It does make a large batch, and they don’t stay moist for too long- so I recommend making these when you’ve got lots of hungry mouths to feed!


The recipe was inspired by an orange roll post from Lemon-Sugar, who uses traditional citrus and no zest! It was super easy to make, even in our small kitchen with no mixer. It is rather time consuming, but these tasty treats make the wait worth it!



Tangelo Sweet Rolls

(makes roughly two dozen rolls)


for the dough
2 1/4 tablespoons instant yeast
1 3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup salted butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
5 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp salt
2 eggs

for the filling
1 tablespoon tangelo zest (from about 1 tangelo)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangelo juice
1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature [especially if you don’t have a mixer, it’s best to take this out as early as possible so that it can completely soften]
1 cup sugar

for the icing
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangelo juice
1 tablespoon tangelo zest
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream


First, make your dough. Preheat the oven to 200° F and after it has preheated, turn it off. Combine the warm water with the yeast to proof your yeast- you may even wish to add a pinch of sugar for the yeast to feed off of. Let the yeast proof for about ten minutes. I usually proof yeast in the oven, but it was very reactive and I just left it on the counter this time around!

While the yeast is proofing, melt the butter in the microwave. I did probably one minute on 50% power, just enough to get it melted, but no more. Whisk the honey into the butter.

In a large bowl, measure out four cups of AP flour. Combine with the salt. Fold in the proofed yeast.

When the honey-butter mixture has cooled down a bit, whisk in the eggs. Then, add this to the larger flour mixture.

Fold it all together with a rubber spatula. In different environments dough will form in a unique way. My recommendation is to keep folding until it all comes together in one big heap. If you can stick your finger to it and pull away dough (meaning, it’s super sticky), add a bit more flour. Add 1/2 cup at a time, and do not go over 6 cups! We needed about 5 1/2 for ours, thus we added 1 1/2 cups to the original dough. Work it as little as possible in between additions. You do not want your dough to get tough and you don’t need it to lose all stickiness. It should be pretty sticky, but it should at least all stay together even when you put a finger on it.


Butter the bowl well and cover it in plastic wrap. Place it somewhere warm- either your oven or maybe even a microwave! Let it rise for 1 hour.


While the dough is rising you can make the filling, which takes like two minutes. With the remaining 58 minutes you could watch your favorite show or go to the gym to make up the the insane number of calories you will be consuming from these rolls. William and I chose the former. 🙂

To make the filling, start by washing and zesting a tangelo. We got one tablespoon of zest and 1/2 cup of juice from a single tangelo. Juice the tangelo and strain the juice into a bowl. Combine 1/4 of the juice with all of the zest in a bowl. Add in the sugar and room temperature butter. Blend them together until a paste is formed.




When the dough has finished rising, and is about doubled, prepare a large work surface by covering it in parchment paper and sprinkling it with flour. Punch down the dough while it is still in the bowl. This gets all of the added air out and allows for the rolls to cook more evenly. Spread the dough carefully into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.


Take your filling and drop spoonfuls across the entire sheet of dough. You will then need to spread the filling with your hands. Your dough should be sticky and the filling is a bit granular from the sugar, so the process will take some time and patience. Spread the filling generously across the entire rectangle of dough.




Next comes William’s favorite part! Rolling the dough. This is not an easy task, but it’s fun- don’t let yourself get frustrated with any mess you make, it will all be tasty and beautiful in the end! You need to roll the rectangle into a very long cylinder. Try to keep it as tight as possible, gently pressing down and squeezing the dough when necessary. If you need to stretch out the dough to help this process, you can, as long as you don’t poke too many holes in it!


When all is said and done, hopefully you have a giant cylinder of dough snaking its way across your countertop!


Butter several pans. [We really like using round glass or ceramic pans for rolls, it seems like they cook better in these and the heat more effectively reaches the center of the pan, fully baking all of the dough.] Using your sharpest knife, cut 2-inch slices and carefully place them in the pan. It helped having two people in the kitchen for this. When you move them, you do have to be pretty careful to keep them together and not let any filling fall out.


When all of the rolls are cut and in their pans, let them rise for another half hour.


Preheat your oven to 375°F. When you bake the rolls, be sure to bake them all on one rack, to insure even cooking. We did 20 minutes on the top rack, and 5 minutes on the bottom rack. During the last five minutes we also needed to cover them with tin foil so that the tops would not be too browned.



I will say, the baking is always a little stressful for me. We do not have the best oven, and it doesn’t seem to heat things very thoroughly. This can be especially problematic with breads, and sometimes the center goes uncooked. This technique of moving our pans around worked very well for us and they were all perfectly cooked!



While the rolls are baking, you can make the icing. It’s super easy! In a medium sized bow, whisk together another 1/4 cup of juice, and another tablespoon of zest, along with a bit of orange extract. We did need to zest one more tangelo for this, but if you have a really good plane grater, you might not find it necessary! Combine this with the powdered sugar and cream. You may need to add additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time) to get the consistency that you like.


I prefer fairly thick icing, as it photographs better and coats the rolls a bit better.



When the rolls come out they are ready to be glazed and served! [Do not skimp on the glaze, yes, you have enough to cover them!!]










Tangerine Cake with Tangelo Glaze

tangerine cake


Let me preface this post with a very important fact about myself: I am not a cake person. I don’t love cake, it always seems too dry to me. I am obsessing over every detail of my wedding except the cake. It’s just not my thing.

That being said– this cake is awesome. 

I crave this cake, and that’s no problem, because it is healthy and easy to make. I actually entered every ingredient into myfitnesspal, and it is about 120 calories per slice!!

tangerine cake


This cake is a fantastic way to use the last few tangerines or clementines from that giant basket you bought a week ago. As an added bonus- the cake uses ALL of the fruit. Yes, you read that right. Every last bit of the fruit: rind, pulp, peel, and all goes into this delicious cake!

The inspiration for this recipe came from a Smitten Kitchen post about clementine cakes. It is difficult to find clementines here, so I settled on tangerines. I’d been wanting some tangelos, so I threw those into the mix in the glaze, and it turned out to be a good choice. The glaze adds another level of tartness and sweetness to the cake, which complements the bitterness of the rinds. Also, as an added bonus, it soaks into the cake itself, keeping it moist much longer than normal cakes, so this cake gets more delicious the longer you let it sit!

You do need a food processor and a spring form pan, but the technique and cooking process is as simple as could be!


tangerine cake



for the cake
14 ounces tangerines (adds up to around 5-7, depending on how large they are)
6 eggs
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/3 cups almond flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
parchment paper

tangerine cake

for the glaze
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
5 tablespoons tangelo juice (about 2 tangelos)
1 tablespoon orange juice
4 pinches tangelo zest

tangerine cake


Step one. Wash the tangerines. Place them in a heavy pot with water. Boil, covered, for 2 hours. Check on the fruit after about one hour, you might have to add in more water, as it evaporates. After the second hour, drain the water out.

tangerine cake

Lightly skin and chop the tangerines, checking for seeds. You want to take out the seeds, but definitely keep everything else- it will all go into the cake batter.

tangerine cake

Puree the fruit, until it looks like the pulpiest OJ you’ve ever seen!

tangerine cake


Step two. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and add in the sugar, flour, baking powder, and puréed fruit.

tangerine cake

Mix thoroughly.

tangerine cake


Step three. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a 9″ spring-form pan by buttering it and covering the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake for about 30 minutes. If you are using an 8″ pan, it might take a bit longer.

As is mentioned on Smitten Kitchen, you do need to check this cake throughout the baking process. The sides can get pretty dark, but they crisp up, and almost make a crust for the cake (which is William’s favorite part). The cake is ready when a knife comes out from the center clean.

tangerine cake

Let the cake cool, while you make the glaze.

tangerine cake


Step four. Juice and zest the tangelo. Whisk together the sugar, juices, and zest in a medium bowl.

tangerine cake

tangerine cake


Pour the glaze over the cake. This makes a ton of glaze, because I wanted it to almost act like a sticky toffee cake, soaking up the sugar-juice mixture!

tangerine cake

Use a small flour sifter to sprinkle the cake with confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy!

tangerine cake