This orange cake is light, soft, and easy to make with simple ingredients and fresh oranges. You can eat it as is or fill it with a delicious orange curd filling.
It's a perfect dessert, snack, and fruity brunch idea. The orange curd inside is tangy, zesty, and so delicious that it will make you reach for another slice.
Check out our Best Easy Desserts
There are many orange cake recipes, from bundt orange cakes (see variations chapter below) to more elaborated layered orange cakes that take hours to make.
Our orange cake is a simple and easy round cake that you can fill with a layer of irresistible and beautifully tangy orange curd.
To make the cake, you'll need a few pantry staples and the zest and juice of a couple of oranges.
Like the cake, the orange curd is easy to make - it takes 5 minutes - and upgrades the cake into a delicious orange dessert. You'll only need sugar, cornstarch, and orange juice, it's finger-licking good, and we recommend it.
If you are not into curds, then you can fill the cake with our easy custard, or you can bake it in a bundt cake pan or loaf pan, serve it without filling, or drizzle it with a sweet orange glaze.
Orange Cake Batter
Use fresh oranges to infuse the cake with orange flavor. You'll need orange zest and fresh orange juice.
When you grate any citrus fruit's zest, ensure only to zest the colored part and not the white pith below the orange peel.
The white pith is bitter and will add bitterness to the cake.
You can make this cake with most flours, including a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour mixture.
We recommend making it with 50% all-purpose flour and 50% whole-wheat flour or just all-purpose flour.
The whole-wheat flour adds a pleasant, nutty, wholesome flavor and lightens the texture.
You can use any milk. We like to use soy milk, oat milk, or almond milk.
We recommend using canola or sunflower oil to make delicious and soft cakes.
The oil makes a lighter batter than butter, but make sure your oil has a neutral flavor and is light in color. For example, we don't recommend coconut oil or strong-flavored olive oil.
We like to use white sugar for cakes.
Unrefined cane sugar works well too. However, if you use coconut sugar, you need to multiply our sugar amount by 1.25 as coconut sugar is less sweet than regular sugar.
Optionally, you can add a pinch of salt, although this is not necessary for this cake.
Baking powder is essential in this cake. Ensure you use a fresh baking powder that hasn't been sitting in your pantry for months.
The baking powder allows the batter to rise in the oven and make a light and soft orange cake.
Optional, but we like to add it for a warm cozy flavor.
To sprinkle on top of the cake.
Use freshly squeezed orange juice, filtered through a sift, to remove the orange bits.
Corn starch or potato starch is necessary to thicken up the orange curd.
We use white sugar to make a clear and bright-orange curd.
Bake the cake
Preheat the oven to 340°F or 170°C.
Lightly brush your springform pan with vegetable oil, then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Set aside.
Add the wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl: milk, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, orange zest, and orange juice. Whisk well.
Tip: first zest the oranges, then cut them in half and squeeze them.
Sift in flour and baking powder and mix with a hand mixer or whisk for a few seconds. Do not overmix. Some lumps are ok.
Tip: do NOT over-mix the cake batter. Mix only for about 30 seconds. Over-mixing will activate the gluten, making your cake gummy and heavy.
Note: In the following pictures, we used 50% all-purpose flour and 50% whole-wheat flour.
Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes at 340°F or 170°C or until a toothpick comes out dry.
Take out of the pan and let the orange cake cool down for about 30 to 45 minutes on a wire rack.
Make the orange curd
Squeeze the oranges, filter them through a sift and add them to a small saucepan.
Add sugar and cornstarch (or potato starch). Stir with a whisk to dissolve the sugar and the starch.
Tip: orange curd is best without orange bits.
On medium-low heat, cook the liquid for one to two minutes while stirring. When the liquid thickens, remove it from the heat and keep stirring for another minute.
Fill the cake
With a serrated knife or bread knife, cut the orange cake open in half. Make sure the cake has cooled completely before you do that.
Add the orange curd and spread it evenly on the base layer of the cake.
Cover with the top layer and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Let the cake sit for about 1 hour, so the orange curd cools down, and you can cut a clean slice.
If you don't want to wait, it's perfectly fine, we never do, but you won't get a clean-cut slice.
Upside-down orange bundt cake with orange glaze
You can make this cake in any shape you want. For example, you can use a bundt pan (9 inches or 23 cm) or a loaf pan (9 x 5 inches or 23cm x 12cm).
To fill the bundt cake, set the "servings slider" in the recipe box below to 18 slices - this will automatically multiply all ingredients by 1.5, the necessary quantity to fill a bundt cake.
Baking a bundt cake takes a little longer, about 35 minutes. Once baked, take it out of the pan, let it cool down, keep it upside down, then drizzle it with our delicious orange glaze.
To make the orange glaze, whisk together 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk (any), and 1 to 2 tablespoons of orange juice.
Use a different filling
You can fill this orange cake with many different fillings, such as jams and custards.
Our favorite is this 5-ingredient vanilla custard with a creamy smooth texture and delicate flavor. The custard is easy to make, without eggs or butter.
Alternatively, fill it with a delicious pistachio custard ready in just 10 minutes.
For a more indulgent cake, you can fill it with homemade chocolate custard with dark chocolate, which is delicious with orange.
How to scale this recipe?
Easy! We calculated the scaling number for you. First, pick the springform pan or cake pan that you want to use for your cake, then multiply all the ingredients in our recipe box by the scaling number in this table.
|Pan size||Scaling Number|
|4 inch (10 cm)||0.22|
|5 inch (13 cm)||0.31|
|6 inch (15 cm)||0.44|
|7 inch (18 cm)||0.60|
|8 inch (20 cm)||0.79|
|8.5 to 9 inches (21 to 23 cm)||1 (this is what we used)|
|10 inches (25 cm)||1.23|
|11 inches (28 cm)||1.5|
Don't overmix the batter
This is the most important tip we can give you. Overmixing will activate the gluten in the flour, which will result in a heavy and gummy cake. Instead, whisk only the time necessary to incorporate the ingredients together, which is about 30 seconds.
Check doneness with a toothpick
Depending on your oven, flour, sugar, and even altitude, your cake might need more or fewer minutes to bake than ours. For this reason, insert a toothpick in the center to check for doneness. If the toothpick comes out dry, your cake is ready. If not, bake in increments of 2 minutes.
Room temperature: store this orange cake on a cake plate, covered, in a dry corner of your kitchen. It'll stay nice and soft at room temperature for up to 4 days.
If you want to extend its shelf-life, store it in a reusable plastic bag - like one for freezing food.
Freezer: we recommend freezing the cake without the filling. Let it cool down completely, cut it into slices, put it in a freezer-friendly bag, and freeze it for up to 3 months—Thaw in the microwave.
More easy cake recipes
If you're a big fan of no-fuss desserts and sweets, check out these easy cakes with few ingredients:
- Easy 8-ingredient apple cake: a reader favorite and guaranteed crowd pleaser
- Vegan carrot cake: a single-layer and no-fuss carrot cake with an easy frosting
- Easy coffee cake with hazelnut custard and a light and soft texture
- Light lemon cake with only 8 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time
- Blueberry lemon pound cake: packed with blueberries and with a glossy lemon glaze
- Easy chocolate brownie cake with dark chocolate, an indulgent and luxurious date-night cake!
- Lemon blueberry cake: super easy 8-ingredient cake
- Pear cake with tender and juicy pear bits
- Springform pan or cake pan Diameter from 8.5 to 9 inches or from 21 cm to 23cm. We use 8.5 inch/21 cm.
- Zester and Juicer
- 2 oranges the grated zest
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¾ cup milk we use almond milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup canola oil or sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour 50% all-purpose flour + 50% whole-wheat flour, or 100% all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
- 1 cup orange juice filtered, no bits
- ¼ cups sugar
- 3½ tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
BAKE THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 340°F or 170°C. Lightly brush your springform pan with vegetable oil, then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add the wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk well.
- Sift in flour and baking powder and mix with a hand mixer or whisk for a few seconds. Do not overmix. Some lumps are ok.
- Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes at 340°F or 170°C or until a toothpick comes out dry.
- Take out of the pan and let the orange cake cool down for about 30 to 45 minutes on a wire rack.
MAKE THE ORANGE CURD
- Squeeze the oranges, filter them through a sift and add them to a small saucepan.Add sugar and cornstarch (or potato starch). Stir with a whisk to dissolve the sugar and the starch.
- On medium-low heat, cook the liquid for one to two minutes while stirring. When the liquid thickens, remove it from the heat and keep stirring for another minute.
FILL THE CAKE
- With a serrated knife or bread knife, cut the orange cake open in half. Make sure the cake has cooled completely before you do that.
- Add the orange curd and spread it evenly on the base layer of the cake.
- Cover with the top layer and sprinkle with powdered sugar.Let the cake sit for about 1 hour, so the orange curd cools down, and you can cut a clean slice.If you don't want to wait, it's perfectly fine, we never do, but you won't get a clean-cut slice.
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