This orange cake is another one of my favorite recipes. It is adapted from my butter pound cake recipe and has a refreshingly rich, citrus flavor from fresh orange juice and grated orange rind.
This orange cake is one of my calculated cake recipes collection. My other cakes are butter pound cake, chocolate cake, coffee layer cake and marble butter cake. This was one of the cake recipes on my menu when I was running a cake decorating business. This cake has a soft and firm texture, making it most suitable for stacked and carved cakes.
A true and tried cake recipe, I have baked this orange cake so many times and have perfected the recipe for various cake tin sizes. All you need to do is just follow the cake tin guides to bake your orange cake in the exact size you need.
Seen on this page is the image of my orange cake filled and frosted with orange buttercream and decorated with homemade candied orange peels.
How to Make Orange Cake
- Self raising flour + baking powder + salt
- Castor sugar
- Butter (at room temperature)
- Eggs (at room temperature)
- Freshly squeezed orange juice + orange rind
Frosting & Decoration
How to make orange cake
- This orange cake is made using the creaming method which starts with the butter and sugar being beaten until light and fluffy. For the recipe amount in the recipe card below, this should take a good 2 minutes (scrape the sides of the bowl at least twice).
- Once the butter and sugar turn light and fluffy, add in the eggs. These should be added one at a time, making sure the eggs are well incorporated before adding more.
- Next to go into the batter are flour and orange juice. These should be folded into the batter in alternate order. Start with the flour and end with the flour.
- And finally, the grated orange rind should be folded in.
- Pour the orange cake batter into prepared tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.
- Remove the cakes from oven and cool completely before frosting.
How to decorate orange cake
This orange cake goes very well with buttercream or with any chocolate-based icing like chocolate ganache or chocolate icing. I chose to frost mine with buttercream made entirely with shortening (instead of butter). This is why you can see that the buttercream is white instead of the normal pale yellow color of buttercream. The reason I used shortening is for a white buttercream without having to add any coloring to it. The shortening can always be substituted with butter. See my buttercream recipe here.
I decorated the orange cake with a simple buttercream palette knife horizontal lines pattern and homemade candied orange fruit peels.
To start the decoration, prepare your buttercream.
Crumb coat the cake
- Sandwich the cake layers with buttercream and give the stacked cake layers a crumb coat. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Apply second layer of buttercream
- Apply a second layer of buttercream, this time a thicker coating. At this stage, the buttercream does not have to be entirely smooth on the cake. Suffice if it is generally well coated as shown below.
Making horizontal lines on the cake
- To make the horizontal lines on the cake, I used a palette knife. You can also use a jam knife that has a rounded end.
- Place the cake on a turntable and start by placing your knife at the base of the cake. The knife should be touching the buttercream but only lightly.
- The next step requires you to use both hands. One to turn the turntable while the other hand to hold the knife and gently move it up the sides of the cake, marking the horizontal lines pattern on the sides of the cake as you turn the turntable. You don’t have to lift the knife. Just continue moving the knife in a slightly slanted horizontal position as you move it up the sides of the cake.
- In marking the lines, make sure they are close to one another. They should not be overlapping and not too far apart that there is a gap between each line. The lines look the best when the width is consistent all around.
- Also, when marking the lines, there could be bulges of icing that are formed along the horizontal lines as shown below.
- To remove them, use your knife to gently scrape them off. Redo the horizontal line if necessary.
- Here is how the cake looked like after I removed the bulge.
- Next is the cake top. Make similar lines in a circular pattern on the cake top, starting from the sides to the center.
- Once that is done, clean the sides of your cake board of any icing marks.
Decorating with candied peels
- Next, arrange candied peels on top of the cake as shown. Press them down lightly with the back of a spoon so that they get attached to the icing.
- For the cake border, arrange a single layer of the candied fruit peel all around the base. Press them in lightly into the icing so that they remain in place.
- And that’s pretty much how I decorated the orange cake with orange flavored buttercream and homemade candied peels.
Orange Cake Recipe – Recipe Notes
Make sure the cake tins are well greased and lined
- I normally prepare my cake tins by applying a layer of shortening and then dusting with flour. This helps release the cakes very quickly from the tins after baking. It is important for every corner of the cake tin to be well greased to avoid any parts of the cake from being stuck to the tin.
- You can also line your tins with parchment paper. You can see the many ways of lining cake tins in my post here.
Measure all ingredients accurately
- Accurately measured ingredients will give you consistent results. It is best to use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients. I often find measuring by cups and spoons to differ slightly every time.
Use good quality ingredients and fresh oranges
- This orange cake is based on my butter pound cake and as with any butter cakes, the quality of butter used plays an important role in the final taste of the cake. I use salted butter in the recipe and in fact, use salted butter for all my other recipes as well. If you prefer to use unsalted butter, it is perfectly alright too, but you would need to increase the amount of salt you add separately to the cake batter.
- The other most important ingredient in this orange butter cake is oranges. Use fresh, un-waxed oranges. Fresh oranges give better citrus flavor to the cake. Un-waxed ones are very important as you don’t want waxed orange rind in your cakes!
- Orange rind is basically the thin orange layer on the skin of an orange. When taking the rind, use a grater to grate only the orange part of the skin. The white layer underneath is bitter. Avoid grating that into your cake. If you don’t have a grater, use a sharp knife to slice the orange skin layer of the fruit (carefully avoiding the white layer underneath). Then chop it up into tiny bits with a knife.
- As for the orange juice in the recipe, always use freshly squeezed orange juice. You can add the pulps in as well but be sure to avoid the seeds! Its always easier to grate an orange before squeezing out its juice, so remember to process the oranges in this order.
Butter and eggs should be at room temperature
- If either the eggs or the butter is cold, your orange cake batter will tend to curdle. If both are of the same temperature, this is unlikely to happen. However, since butter needs to be softened at room temperature to cream it properly, curdling will tend to happen when the eggs are cold.
- To prevent this, make sure your eggs are also at room temperature. If your cake batter still curdles, add some flour (from the amount measured for the cake) and mix until it is no longer curdled. Bake your cake as usual.
Use cake tin size guide for different sized cakes
- Each calculated recipe on this page produces 2 layers of cake that measure approximately 2 inches high. It is advisable to not bake all the batter in one cake tin. The butter cake would take much longer to bake in the middle causing the sides to become dry.
- Also, if you intend to make cakes larger than 10 inches in diameter, use cake strips or a heating core. These will prevent the sides of the cake from drying out due to longer baking time for larger cakes. See my post here on how to achieve leveled cakes to learn more about using cake strips and heating cores.
Don’t over bake the cakes
- Baking time is another very important success factor for this orange cake recipe. If you want a soft, fluffy, and moist butter cake, avoid over baking. Place the cake on the 3rd rack in your oven. Check if the cake is done at least 5 to 10 minutes before the baking time is up by inserting a long skewer in the center of the cake.
- If the skewer comes out without any wet batter sticking to it, the cake is done. Remove the cake from the oven. Ideally, there should be soft cake crumbs sticking to your skewer. If the skewer comes out totally clean, the cake could have been overcooked. Also, when the cake is done, the sides will pull away from the tin.
Storing the orange cake
- This orange butter cake can be served on the very same day it is baked, even while it is still warm (without any frosting). It is also equally good when baked in advance and stored in the fridge until it is ready for use, within one week.
- To store the cake in the fridge, wrap it tightly while it is still warm with cling wrap and refrigerate. Wrapping while still warm locks and distributes the moisture in the cake making in soft and moist after refrigeration. When you need to use it, remove the orange cake from the fridge. With the cling wrap still intact, let it warm up to room temperature. Remove the wrapping only after the cake has reached room temperature. This will prevent condensation on the cake which can reduce its shelf life.
- Leftovers of this butter cake can be stored at room temperature for a good 4 to 5 days provided it is handled without any moisture. The leftovers can last up to one week if refrigerated.
- If you wish to use this cake for carving, the cake is best left to rest for at least one day after baking. This is so that the texture stabilizes for easy carving with fewer crumbs.
Orange Cake Recipe
Here is the printable version of my orange cake recipe. While you are at it, don’t miss my recipe notes right above. They contain absolutely useful tips for baking the best orange cake ever!
Orange Butter Cake
- 360 g self-raising flour
- 330 g castor sugar
- 360 g butter
- 6 eggs
- 90 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- Grated rind of 4 oranges
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 300 g shortening
- 600 g powdered sugar
- 1 tsp orange rind (grated)
- Candied orange peel
- Preheat oven to 170°Celsius.
- Beat butter and sugar till soft and creamy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Fold in the sifted ingredients into the creamed mixture alternately with orange juice, starting and ending with flour.
- Finally add in grated orange rind and combine well. Pour batter into two greased and floured cake tins of the same size and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Baking time for larger cakes may be slightly longer than smaller ones. Use a skewer to check that your cakes have cooked completely. Your cakes are also done when they start to separate from the sides of the cake tins and the top of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with finger.
- Remove cakes from oven and let them cool completely before decorating.
- Baking time may vary slightly for larger cakes.
Calculated Tin Sizes9 inches round/ 8 inches square (makes 2 layers of 2 inch high cakes)
- 600 g butter
- 550 g castor sugar
- 600 g self raising flour
- 10 eggs
- Grated rind of 6 oranges
- 150 freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
- 840 g butter
- 770 g castor sugar
- 840 g self raising flour
- 14 eggs
- Grated rind of 9 oranges
- 210 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 ¾ tsp baking powder
- 1200 g butter
- 1100 g castor sugar
- 1200 g self raising flour
- 20 eggs
- Grated rind of 13 oranges
- 300 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
And that’s my orange cake recipe for you.
Here are my other recipes you might want to check out:
- Light Fruit Cake
- Mini Funfetti Cupcakes
- Sprinkles Layered Cupcakes
- Super Moist Vanilla Cake
- Chocolate Banana Fudge Cake
Happy Baking 🙂