Anything with citrus is something we love, and this Fresh Orange Cake is one for the books! A light and fluffy cake chock full of orange flavor is topped with a not-too-sweet mascarpone frosting. It’s an easy but impressive cake that is perfect for any time of the year.
Fresh orange zest & juice are the key to the spectacular flavor of this cake.
Orange Cake Ingredients:
- Baking Powder
- Orange Zest
- Orange Juice: I like to use the leftover oranges that I’ve zest. If that doesn’t yield enough OJ, add in store-bought.
- Vanilla Extract: Nielssen & Massey is the Creme de la Creme of vanilla extract. Its pricey, but worth it.
- Almond Extract: I like to add a little bit for some added flavor, but you can sub for vanilla extract if necessary.
For baking, I like to use a mis en place cooking method- that is French for ‘everything in its place’. I find it makes baking easier in general, since baking is more of a science (cooking is an art!). To start, zest your oranges. I used Valencia oranges (my neighbor gave them to me fresh off of her tree!).
Valencia oranges are sweeter, but any type of regular orange will work just fine if that’s all you have access to.
Once you have all of your ingredients handy, mix the wet ingredients in one bowl, and the dry ingredients in another (I.E. follow the instructions and don’t cheat!). Mixing wet and dry ingredients separately does add a step, but it is essential for the perfect cake. If you want to read more about this process and why it works, check out this post from Stress Baking.
After the batter is mixed, pour half of the cake batter (reserve the other half for another layer) into a greased 9 inch cake pan (I use a springform, I think they are easier to release the cake from) and bake for about 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center is clean. If using the same pan for the next layer, allow the cake to cool before removing it from the pan so it doesn’t crumble. Bake the remaining cake using the leftover batter for 20-30 minutes.
While the cake is baking, I made my frosting. I made a mascarpone frosting which I loved, but you can use any frosting you like. (classic buttercream, Swiss meringue, or even just a jar from the grocery store would be fine! If you go the store-bought route, consider adding 2 tbsp of orange zest to it to add some additional flavor).
Mascarpone Frosting Ingredients:
This recipe yield about 2.5 to 3 cups of frosting, which is perfect for a 3 layer cake. If you are NOT making a layer cake, consider halfing the recipe.
- Mascarpone Cheese
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
After frosting the cake, we’re ready for garnish! I like a simple orange slice garnish. Sprinkled orange zest would be nice as well. Enjoy this cake on its own, or served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream…yum!
If you’re a fan of homemade desserts with loads of flavor, here’s a few more cake recipes that we love.
Fresh Orange Cake
- 1 9 inch springform pan
- 2.5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 granulated white sugar
- 1 1/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed if possible)
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 3 tbsp orange zest
- .5 tsp vanilla extract
- .5 tsp almond extract
Mascarpone Frosting (Optional)
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar (best to use a hand or stand mixer) and mix until light and fluffy. Add orange juice, orange zest, and oil and continue to mix until fully combined.
- Gradualy add dry ingredients to wet mixture and continue to mix, being cautious of overtaxing.
- Pour roughly 1/2 of the batter into the spring form pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Allow cake to cool before removing it from springform pan, then bake second layer. Once second layer is finished baking, remove from oven and allow both cakes to fully cool before frosting.
- Whip heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer with whisk attachment just until stiff peaks form (cautious not to overmix and turn it into butter).
- With the mixer still running on low, add vanilla extract. Gradually add in mascarpone cheese, and powdered sugar while scraping sides. Mix only until combined.
- Place in refrigerator until ready to frost cake.
- If assembling the cake into layers for your first time, this is a great guide from I Am Baker.
- You can also make this into a loaf cake. Use a standard 8x4 loaf pan.
- This recipe will yield 2 loaves, half the recipe if you only want one loaf.
- If using mascarpone frosting, this cake will require refrigeration if not enjoyed immediately.