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Orange Coffee Cake

So much for my vegetable-a-week promise. I look back at recent posts and see a carb-heavy, fat-laden series of desserts. Yes, I’ve been eating my greens, but not in a way that will make you beg for the recipe. I’ve been very plebeian about my vegetables, choosing instead to concentrate my creativity on cake.

So, it’s steamed broccoli, boiled beans and plain old salad while my time in the kitchen is spent searching for the perfect orange cake for my sister’s wedding — light, airy, easy to stack and and with a bright orange flavour. I’ve created some really tasty desserts, but so far they only hint at orange. Despite adding generous portions of rind and opting for frozen concentrate instead of juice, the cakes end up tasting as if they merely chatted to a bowl of clementines on their way to the oven.

Just what is the secret to a really orangy orange cake? Beats me. Orange oil? A bit of lemon rind? Some almond extract? I’m open to any and all suggestions you might have. As an advanced thank-you for your help, here’s one of the “failures” we gobbled up for the cause. It might be the wrong texture for a stacked wedding cake, but makes a lovely bundt, perfect for afternoon tea or mid-day coffee with friends.

Got an orange cake recipe you care to share? Talk to me. July is coming fast.

Orange Coffee Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp grated orange rind
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tin frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed


  • 1/2 tin frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar, a bit at a time and beat until light.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla and beat until blended.
  5. Sift together the orange rind, flour baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  6. Whisk the yogurt and 1/2 tin of frozen orange juice concentrate.
  7. Add the flour  and yogurt mixtures alternately to the butter mixture, blending by hand. Begin and end with the flour, mixing just enough to blend. Don’t over-mix. This helps ensure a delicate texture.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The cake is done when a cake tester or metal skewer can be inserted into the thickest part and comes out clean.
  9. Cool the cake for 20 minutes on a wire rack, then invert onto a plate.
  10. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze: Heat glaze ingredients in a small pot until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered,  for 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Pour the hot glaze over the cake. Let cool before serving.
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19 Responses to Orange Coffee Cake

  1. The Diva on a Diet May 3, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Sadly, I don’t have a tried and true orange cake recipe, so I will await further comments from those in the know … since you’ve now got me craving such a thing!

    But I’m excited that you’re doing your sister’s wedding cake. How fun! I did my brother’s wedding cake. I was running a very small cake business from my home at the time and I figured my soon to be sister in law would choose something fairly standard and simple. Wrong! She chose a cake from that year’s Martha Stewart Weddings issue and it scared the crap out of me! LOL

    That said, I mastered the intricate piping techniques and the cake turned out to be spectacular. My crowning achievement in cake. I wish I had a pic to show you but I lost it when my old computer crashed. Sad.

    Here’s a link to the MS cake:

    I did the whole thing, piped wisteria hanging off the grape vine trellis and all! :)
    .-= The Diva on a Diet´s last blog ..Grilled Chile Lime Chicken =-.

    • Charmian Christie May 4, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

      @The Diva on a Diet, oh my! I’d have died if asked to produce that wisteria cake. Congratulations to you for producing such an intricate design. I can only imagine the hours and hours of work that went into piping the frosting.

      My mom will be making my sister’s cake. I’m just helping by finding a good recipe and sugaring some flowers for decorations. It won’t be nearly as fancy as your SIL’s.

      Thank for sharing your story!

  2. Life Artist~ May 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    oh God!
    I can eat it right away!

    how can you take it out of such a pan?

    by the way coffee lover; share us..
    what’s your favorite coffee?
    you’re welcomed =)
    .-= Life Artist~´s last blog ..What Is Your Favorite Coffee? =-.

    • Charmian Christie May 4, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

      @Life Artist~, my favourite coffee is a latte. I’ll drop by your blog with more details.

      And this cake is a perfect accompaniment to a latte.

  3. Cheryl May 3, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Um, there’s nothing at all that screams failure about that cake. It looks scrumdiddlyicious.

    One of my favorite baking books is Lisa Yockelson’s Baking by Flavor. Many of her recipes give flavor boosts by incorporating several flavor ingredients on top of one another. So her vanilla cakes use vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla sugar. I bet she’d advise (and hope she would forgive me for speaking for her) that you tart this cake up with orange juice AND orange rind and, I don’t know, maybe orange flower water, or orange extract? (I don’t like orange oil but I do like orange extract.) Plus, a confectioners sugar glaze made with orange juice should give an even bigger flavor kapow.

    Of course, none of this may be appropriate for a wedding cake, in which case, um, ignore all of the above.

    • Charmian Christie May 4, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

      @Cheryl, thanks for the tip. Never heard of Baking by Flavor but it sounds like the kind of thing I’m looking for. I tried layering flavours (rind, frozen concentrate) but might need to boost it yet again. Great advice!!

      And this cake is only a failure as a wedding cake. It’s a lovely coffee time cake. Hmmm. Coffee…

  4. badness jones May 4, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    Nigella Lawson has a recipe (in How to Eat) for clementine cake, and she boils the clementines and then cuts them in half, takes out the seeds, and then pulps all the rest (skin, pith and all) for the cake. It’s very moist and very orange-y. I don’t know if the texture is right for you what you’re making, but you might want to try it.

    Good luck!
    .-= badness jones´s last blog ..I think we can skip the soap this time…. =-.

    • Charmian Christie May 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

      @badness jones, ooooh, the grind-up-a-whole orange approach. I have a muffin recipe that does this. It’s very moist but I’m sure I can fiddle with things to get it tow work. Thanks so much for the tip.

  5. Robin Smart May 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    Dear Charmian,
    As one of the lucky few who was able to taste this cake I thought it was lovely and moist, but delicate in the flavour department. Why not drench it in orange liquor? I love anything drenched in liquor.

  6. Lindsay May 5, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    My husband’s favorite cake is orange cake and I have a family recipe that has been passed down his family for generations. It is good stuff…very orange-y but a little too sweet for me. I’ve been fiddling around with other recipes but I don’t think you can go wrong with “Aunt Moo’s” version. Feel free to email me in you are interested in the recipe.
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..Rhubarb Lime Sherbet =-.

    • Charmian Christie May 9, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

      @Lindsay, thanks for the recipe. I’ll be giving Aunt Moo a test drive soon.

  7. Cheryl Arkison May 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I was going to suggest the blitzing of a whole orange as well. Many recipes for Sunshine muffins do this. And I think Molly over at Orangette had an olive oil cake that did this a few months back.

    And on the glazing front, try glazing it with a very thin syrup when warm. And extra boost and you should still be able to ice it once cool. At least I’m thinking you can…
    .-= Cheryl Arkison´s last blog ..Taste Adventure – Eggplant =-.

    • Charmian Christie May 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

      @Cheryl Arkison, thanks for the heads up on Sunshine muffins (I make a variation) and Orangette.

      I have tried the glaze on warm and cool. Warm works better. At least with the one I tried. Guess orange icing will be next…

  8. Sophie May 7, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    What a lovely looking tasty cake, my friend!

    Looks incredibly yummie!
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Marinated chicken in lemon thyme, lemon, lemon zest, garlic & honey =-.

  9. Michael Cavinta August 12, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    This recipe I must say is one of the best cake recipes I have made. The taste is definitely outstanding and the instructions are very much easy to follow. Thank you for sharing this with us. I would make this one up again this weekend for a small party at my house. I sure t will be a hit. It really goes well with a hot cup of coffee, which reminds me, I need to buy some fancy espresso milk for the weekend. Kudos!
    Michael Cavinta recently posted…italian coffee makersMy Profile

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