The Best Orange Cake

This easy Orange Cake is moist, tender, and positively bursting with fresh orange flavor. Make it in a bundt pan or two loaf pans and top with a simple orange glaze for a stunning and delicious citrus cake.

If you love orange desserts, try our Iced Orange Cookies, Orange Julius Recipe, or Chocolate Orange Cake.

The Best Orange Cake Recipe

Orange cake on a cake platter with sliced oranged and raspberries.

This Orange Bundt Cake has been a long time coming. I started testing an orange cake recipe almost two months ago. My first attempt was delicious, but the texture was heavier and denser than I wanted.

I tweaked it just a bit, thinking it would be an easy fix, and ended up with one of the strangest cakes I have ever baked in my life…and I don’t mean that in a good way.

After that, it was back to the drawing board for this orange cake. I reworked it again and things got better, but still not great.

By this point, I was sick of squeezing oranges, but I wasn’t willing to give up. Some cakes are worth fighting for, and this was definitely one of them.

I thought I had tried everything–using cake flour, adding cornstarch, extra egg yolks–but the secret ended up being much simpler than any of that. I swapped the butter for oil.

The results? Absolutely perfect Orange Cake with a moist but not heavy crumb and an intense citrus flavor. This was the spring-time cake I had been dreaming of.

I topped it off with the BEST orange glaze for a bright and refreshing dessert that’s perfect for spring or any day you’re craving a little sunshine.

Unglazed orange cake on a dark background.

Ingredients in Orange Cake

  • Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Orange Zest- I use a full 2 Tablespoons, from about 2 large oranges.
  • Eggs
  • All Purpose Flour- I tested the cake with both cake flour and all purpose flour, and ended up liking the AP better. It’s also much more convenient, since I always have it on hand.
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Orange Juice- I prefer fresh squeezed orange juice for the best flavor. You’ll need about 4 oranges to get 1 cup.
  • Milk- 2% or whole is best.

TIP: A great zester and juicer saves time and comes in handy for so many other things.

orange cake batter in a bundt pan with Baker's Joy in the background.

How To Make Orange Bundt Cake

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the oil, sugar, and orange zest on high speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine the orange juice and milk.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the orange juice and milk, and beating on medium speed after each addition.
  5. Pour batter into a greased pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

TIP: Thoroughly greasing and flouring the pan is the key to bundt cakes that don’t stick. I have the most success with Baker’s Joy, which is a cooking spray that includes flour, but if you don’t have that, make sure to generously grease and flour your pan.

The Best Orange Glaze

Whisk drizzling orange glaze over a bundt cake.

You guys, this orange glaze is everything! I could eat it with a spoon. It really amplifies the citrus flavor and makes the cake, in my opinion!

The glaze is a simple powdered sugar glaze with orange juice instead of milk.

I always add a Tablespoon of melted butter to my glazes as I find it helps cut that “raw” powdered sugar taste and creates a nice gloss.

More grated orange zest, a pinch of salt, and a splash of vanilla complete the glaze.

This recipe makes a generous portion of glaze. You may want to use it all on the cake, or you can save it to top Orange French Toast Casserole, Orange Scones, or even Lemon Zucchini Bread.

Swirled orange bundt cake on top of a cooling rack.

Tips and FAQs

Can I sub store bought orange juice?

Yes, you can. I’ve tested orange cake with fresh orange juice and store bought, and while I prefer fresh, the cake will work either way.

Can I sub buttermilk or sour cream for the milk?

Yes! I’ve tested this orange cake with buttermilk, and it was really lovely! It gives the cake a nice tang. I like using plain milk to really let the orange flavor shine, but if you want a little tang, definitely try it with buttermilk.

Can I halve this recipe or bake it in bread pans?

Yes and yes! I recommend making the full recipe and dividing it between two 8-9 inch loaf pans. This recipe will fill a 10-12 cup bundt pan (the one we use is this Nordic Ware Pan) or two loaf pans. Depending on the size of you pan, you might need to adjust the cook time. Begin checking for doneness at 40 minutes.

Can you freeze Orange Cake?

Absolutely! This cake freezes beautifully. Remove it from the pan and double wrap it tightly in saran wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw overnight on the counter top. Glaze before serving.

Pie server removing a slice of orange cake from the bundt cake.

More Amazing Bundt Cake Recipes

Bundt cakes are my JAM. They’re easy, unfussy, and so pretty without all the fuss and work of intricate decorations.

This Orange Bundt Cake recipe is perfect on its own, but INCREDIBLE paired with fresh raspberries. Such a delightful combination!

You may also enjoy the BEST Chocolate Bundt Cake, one of the most popular recipes on our site.

Looking for more fruity bundt cakes? Try this Bourbon Peach Bundt Cake or Pear Bundt Cake.

Got leftover bananas lying around? Try this Caramel Banana Bundt Cake or Banana Split Bundt Cake!

Orange bundt cake with several slices taken out and plated on a pink plates.
Top down image of a swirled orange bundt cake with orange slices and raspberries.

The Best Orange Cake

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This Orange Cake is positively bursting with fresh orange flavor. It can be made in a bundt pan or two loaf pans for an easy, effortlessly beautiful and delicious cake.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from 3-4 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup milk

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons orange juice
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • Splash vanilla
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large 10-12 cup bundt pan with Baker's Joy or heavily grease and flour the pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the oil, sugar, and orange zest on high speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. In a measuring cup, combine the orange juice and milk.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the orange juice and milk, and beating on medium speed after each addition.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  7. For the glaze: Whisk together all the ingredients until smooth and pourable. If it's too thick, add a few extra drops of orange juice. Pour over the cooled cake.

Notes

This cake can also be baked in 2 8-9 inch loaf pans. Grease them and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 344Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 1gSugar: 36gProtein: 4g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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9 Comments

  1. Great recipe; thanks! I used buttermilk and it had just the texture I was looking for: moist, substantial but not heavy, tender. The orange flavor is subtle but lovely. I think this might also make a great base for a coffee-cake style Bundt, with or without the orange.

    1. Yes! The cake should keep just fine for that amount of time. Wrap the cooled cake tightly in saran wrap to keep it fresh.

  2. Made this for my folks and they said it was the best cake they ever had. I did a raspberry glaze just by switching out the juice. Be sure to let the cake cool before doing it so it’s prettier and doesn’t melt everywhere.

  3. I will be trying your cake.when I make orange cakes .I wash the orange..slice it 1/2 inches.put into pan..cover with water.cook on med high heat till the orange is soft done..drain or save juice.cool ..put all the cooked orange in food processor.puree it up.use however much you want in receipe.
    Frosting…soft cream cheese,powdered sugar ,butter,cooked pureed orange…and vanilla .whip all together till fluffy…this cake is very good with this icing.
    You get more of an orange flavor..
    But I will try yours.

  4. Courtney, I definitely will be trying this recipe, however, for years I have been trying to find an orange cake recipe from my grandmother. It’s been lost for years. It was a dense and heavy cake. In your description you mentioned that one of your first tries with this cake it was dense and heavy.
    Is it possible for you to share that recipe with me? If you don’t see my email address from this comment, please in your answer as me and I will provide, thanks jk

    1. Hi there! If you replace the oil with butter at room temperature you’ll probably be closer to that dense, heavy texture.

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