Orange Cake

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This easy Orange Cake is a loaf cake made with Greek yogurt (or regular) and lots of bright orange zest. It’s tender, moist, and it’s ready in under an hour.

A fully baked orange loaf cake with slices cut off.


 

A good loaf cake recipe comes in handy whenever you need an afternoon snack, a treat for brunch, or a gift for a neighbor or friend. This simple Orange Cake are easy to make (no stand mixer required), travels well, and will delight anyone who is lucky enough to share a slice.

Use plenty of fresh oranges for their zest and juice. Adding yogurt to the cake batter increases the fluffy texture and moisture in the cake which makes an absolutely delicious loaf.

If you have enough pans, double the recipe for two loaves so you have an extra to give away to a friend, neighbor, or family member. Or, tuck it away in the freezer for a future Sunday morning when you’re dreaming of citrus.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for orange cake.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Baking powder: Instead of yeast, quick breads such as loaf breads, muffins, biscuits, and scones use chemical leavening agents, in this case baking powder (baking soda is another example).
  • Yogurt: Use Greek yogurt, regular yogurt, whole milk yogurt, or even French yogurt.
  • Oranges: Always zest your oranges before you cut them open squeeze the fresh orange juice. It’s much harder to zest half of an orange. Zest just the outside peel, avoiding the bitter white pith beneath.
  • Vegetable oil: Avocado oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil are all neutral-flavored oils that will work here. 

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, yogurt, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.
Ingredients to make orange cake in bowls.
  1. Add the flour mixture in batches, whisking to incorporate after each addition. Fold in oil and stir carefully until uniformly combined.
Orange cake batter in a mixing bowl.
  1. Pour into prepared pan.
Orange cake batter in a loaf pan unbaked.
  1. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 50-60 minutes. The cake should be fragrant and spring back when pressed lightly. Remove from oven and cool in pan 10 minutes. 
A baked orange cake in a loaf pan.
  1. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar, orange juice, lemon orange (if using) until smooth.
Glaze to drizzle over orange cake.
  1. Using a sharp knife, slice around the inside of the cake pan to loosen the cake. Flip out onto a wire rack. Slowly drizzle glaze over the top.
Drizzling glaze over an orange cake.
  1. Cool cake completely. The glaze will harden in 20 to 30 minutes.
A fully baked orange loaf cake.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: 1 loaf cake makes about 8 slices.
  • Storage: Store covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • Order of operations: The orange glaze can be made while the cake is baking. Leave the glaze at room temperature. 
  • Orange syrup: For a stronger orange flavor, cook ⅓ cup orange juice and ⅓ cup sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Pour or brush this orange syrup over the cake while it’s still warm, before adding the glaze.
  • Extra-large eggs: The recipe calls for 4 large eggs, but you can substitute 3 extra-large eggs instead.
  • Lemon Yogurt CakeSubstitute lemon juice and lemon zest for the orange juice and the orange zest for a lovely lemon-flavored loaf.
  • Olive Oil Cake: This easy Lemon Olive Oil Cake is soft, moist, and 100% vegan. It’s a thoughtful addition to a potluck or picnic menu or a great loaf cake for a weekend brunch.
  • Lemon Bundt Cake: This amazing Lemon Bundt Cake uses two secret ingredients (cake mix and instant pudding) to make the easiest, most delicious lemon cake you’ve ever had, made right in a bundt pan.
Slices of orange loaf cake on plates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does yogurt do in a cake?

Adding yogurt to cake batter increases the fluffiness and moisture in the cake which makes an absolutely delicious loaf. In a pinch, you can use sour cream or buttermilk instead of the yogurt.

What size is a loaf pan?

There can be slight variations, but look for an 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch by 2-inch loaf pan.

Can you make this Orange Cake in a stand mixer?

I love the simplicity of whisking the cake batter by hand. But, you can certainly combine your wet ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat on low speed, and then add the dry ingredients until uniformly combined.

More sweets to sample

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An orange cake on a serving platter.

Orange Cake

This easy Orange Cake is a loaf cake made with Greek yogurt (or regular) and lots of bright orange zest. It’s tender, moist, and it’s ready in under an hour.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 470
5 from 8 votes

Ingredients 

For the cake:

For the powdered sugar icing:

Instructions 

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, yogurt, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in batches, whisking to incorporate after each addition. Fold in oil and stir carefully until uniformly combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 50-60 minutes. The cake should be fragrant and spring back when pressed lightly. Remove from oven and cool in pan 10 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar, orange juice, lemon orange (if using) until smooth.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice around the inside of the cake pan to loosen the cake. Flip out onto a large plate. Slowly drizzle glaze over the top. Cool cake completely. The glaze will harden in 20 to 30 minutes.

Notes

  1. Baking powder: Instead of yeast, quick breads such as loaf breads, muffins, biscuits, and scones use chemical leavening agents, in this case baking powder (baking soda is another example).
  2. Yogurt: Use Greek yogurt, regular yogurt, whole milk yogurt, or even French yogurt.
  3. Oranges: Always zest your oranges before you cut them open to juice. It’s much harder to zest half of an orange.
  4. Vegetable oil: Avocado oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil are all neutral-flavored oils that will work here. 
  5. Yield: 1 loaf cake makes about 8 slices.
  6. Storage: Store covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 470kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 6gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 225mgPotassium: 114mgFiber: 1gSugar: 56gVitamin A: 150IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 114mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Wow, delicious! Added a bit more fresh orange zest. Husband loves orange and orange chocolate. Next time I would love to add some dark chocolate into the batter, and or the icing. New to your site recently and I appreciate all you do. Thank for sharing.
    Teri5 stars

    1. Yum! Dark chocolate does sound like it would complement the cake well! Thanks for your kind words, and thanks for stopping by the site! -Meggan

  2. Interesting that in top part it says bake time 30 minutes but in actual recipe it says bake 50-60 minutes? Which is it?5 stars

    1. THAT, Kathy, is a typo. Geez louise, I’m so sorry. I will go fix that immediately. I don’t even know how that would have happened except maybe I was taking a nap while writing the cook times. Thank you for letting me know, and I’m really sorry about that, and I’m fixing it now. Thanks. -Meggan