How to make orange cake from scratch! This simple citrus orange cake recipe is perfectly balanced with fresh orange juice, zest, and olive oil.
A Refreshing Orange Cake With Homemade Orange Curd
The bright flavors of citrus are a gift from winter that help us get through the dreary cold days aren’t they?
It’s almost hard to believe that in the dead of winter, something so colorful, flavorful, and truly delicious is ready to be enjoyed. Hard to believe, yet – I’ll take it!
This light and delicious orange cake recipe is the perfect winter treat to enjoy during citrus season, or really any time of year you’re in the mood for a flavorful citrus cake!
During citrus season I am usually lucky enough to receive bags of fresh oranges as we are in California and many friends of ours have citrus farming family members! This year I thought to myself, what can I make with a lot of oranges!? Here are some of my favorites:
- Orange Cake
- Orange Curd
- Orange Marmalade
- Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
- Orange Scones
- Candies Orange Peels
- Homemade Orange Julius
Now…let’s talk about cake!
Ingredients for Orange Cake
- Eggs: Make sure the eggs are room temperature. Eggs add structure, flavor, and fat to the cake.
- Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice: The star of the show! Fresh squeezed orange juice will add tang and flavor to this cake.
- Orange Zest: Zest brings out even more citrus flavor.
- High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This richness of olive oil will round out the citrus and create a light and fluffy cake!
- Sugar: A cake wouldn’t be cake without the sweetness of sugar!
- Salt: Salt is a necessary ingredient to balance out the sweetness.
- Baking Powder: Used to leaven the cake and help it rise.
- All Purpose Flour: Gluten from flour creates the structure of the cake.
How to Make An Orange Cake
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs & sugar and whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Add the olive oil, orange juice, and orange zest and whisk to combine.
- Sift in the remaining dry ingredients: all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly into two 8″ round cake dishes or one 9″ round cake dish. Be sure the cake dishes are either lined with a piece of parchment paper or greased to prevent the cake from sticking.
- Bake at 350 F for 15-17 minutes, or until the cake springs back like a sponge.
- Allow to cool completely, then frost and enjoy!
What Icing Can You Make For Orange Cake?
This orange cake recipe is finished with a delicious homemade orange curd.
Orange curd isn’t hard to make, but it is a bit time consuming. If you’re short on time you can simply make an orange glaze. I will include the recipe for that below. It is a mixture of confectioners (powdered) sugar and orange juice and takes less than five minutes to put together.
You may also opt for a cream based frosting such as a buttercream or a simple whipped cream. The options for orange cake frosting are endless!
What type of oranges should you use for orange cake? You can use any type of oranges you have on hand!
Types of Oranges During Orange Season
- Seville Oranges
- Temple Oranges
- Honeybell Oranges
- Tangelo Oranges
- Cara Cara Oranges
How to Decorate Your Cake
To make this cake, I simply slathered on some orange curd! It needn’t be fancy, the cake speaks for itself!
To dress up the cake, I added fresh orange slices. You may also like adding candied orange peels or candied orange slices! If you have some orange leaves, they make a great decoration as well!
Cake Making Tip
If you’re wondering, how can I make my cake soft and fluffy? You’ve come to the right place!
Using oil in cakes and muffins (like my blueberry lemon muffins) create a soft and fluffy texture. In this recipe, olive oil provides a robust flavor and really adds a nice compliment to the orange juice and zest.
A Refreshing Orange Cake With Homemade Orange Curd
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ½ cup orange juice freshly squeezed
- Zest from one orange
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup orange curd optional – recipe provided separately below
- Preheat oven to 350 F
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until combined. Add oil. Whisk to combine. Add orange juice and zest, whisk to combine.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into the wet ingredients until just combined, do not over-mix.
Divide the batter evenly into two 8” round cake pans (or 1 9" round cake pan) lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the cakes spring back like a sponge and just begin to turn golden.
Cool completely. Place one cake on a cake plate, spread ½ of the orange curd evenly over the top. Place the second cake directly on top, spread the remaining curd evenly over the top. Garnish with orange slices if desired.
Homemade Orange Curd
- 1 stick butter room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 8 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice strained well through cheesecloth
- Zest from 1 orange
- In a large non-reactive heatproof mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium-high speed for about a minute, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks and orange juice (be sure to strain the orange juice through cheesecloth to remove pulp, seeds, etc…). The juice should equal 1 cup after straining. Use the hand mixer to combine on medium speed.
Fill a medium sized heavy bottom pot with water about ⅓ of the way full, place the ingredients in the mixing bowl over the pot to create a double boiler. Bring the heat to medium high and continuously whisk the mixture.
Do not let the mixture boil, reduce the heat if necessary. Adding more water to the pot if needed to keep the pot about ⅓ full.
The mixture will coagulate and look curdled, continue to whisk gently as the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
After about 15-20 minutes, the mixture will thicken to coat the back of a spoon, the consistency of thick glue, it will thicken more once cooled. Stir in the orange zest and pour into a mason jar to cool. Keep refrigerated; will keep for about 10 days.