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4.92 from 24 votes

Whole Orange Cake (super moist)

Super moist and bursting with fresh orange flavor, this whole orange cake will become a new favorite. Rich, sweet and citrusy. Eat it unadorned or drizzle on an orange buttercream glaze to take it over the top. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
cooling30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings (change as needed): 12
Author: Cheryl


whole orange cake

  • 2 large seedless oranges about 184g each
  • 3/4 cups (170g) butter, cut in chunks 1 1/2 sticks
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar (use an extra 1/4 cup/50g if oranges aren't too sweet)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups (256g) all purpose flour Note 2
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt skip if using salted butter

orange glaze or buttercream frosting (optional) Note 3

  • 1 cup icing sugar also called confectioners or powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 orange (use half an orange for fresh orange juice and zest) other half for decoration
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • HEAT OVEN TO 350F/177C. Spray 9 inch (23cm) springform pan with oil. Note 1 for other pan options.
  • PREPARE ORANGES: Using a sharp knife, place orange on cutting board and slice off the thin top orange layer all around the orange. Try to get as little of the white pith layer as possible (leaving on some is fine - no need to obsess!). Then slice off the white pith layer and discard. Repeat with second orange. Cut oranges into quarters. Shortcut: If your oranges only have a very thin layer of pith, you can use the whole orange.
  • CREAM BUTTER, SUGAR, EGGS: Place butter, sugar and eggs in food processor bowl. Process for 2 minutes at high speed until fluffy and creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl once or twice. Scoop mixture into medium-large bowl.
  • GRIND ORANGES: Place oranges and orange peels in food processor. No need to clean out processor first. Process until finely blended, about 1 minute. Scrape orange mixture into bowl with butter mixture.
  • FINISH BATTER: Add flour mixture of flour and baking powder. Gently fold into wet mixture just until incorporated. Do NOT over mix or the cake will be dense. Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter to level the batter evenly.
  • BAKE: for 45-50 minutes or until cake no longer jiggles when shaken and when cake tester or toothpick is inserted in center and comes out clean. Two 8" round pans will take less time, about 25-35 minutes. Timing depends on size of oranges (amount of liquid in cake) and your oven (all ovens are different and not perfectly accurate on temperatures). Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing on pan. Cool completely on cooling rack before frosting.
  • MAKE FROSTING/GLAZE (OPTIONAL): While cake is baking, whisk icing/confectioner sugar, 1/2 of orange juice and orange zest with a fork in a small bowl. Add more orange juice until you get the consistency you like. Note 3 for traditional orange buttercream frosting.
  • DECORATE: Sprinkle orange cake with powdered icing sugar (through a sieve) if not using frosting. If using frosting/glaze, spread it on top of cake letting it slip down the sides if desired. Decorate cake with orange zest strips, orange slices, drained mandarin oranges, a little bit of zest or crushed nuts if you like.


  1. Pan options: Dimensions of cake pans will change the timing of baking cakes so always keep your eye on the doneness in the last 10 minutes or so. For the orange cake recipe, you can use a 9" (23cm) springform pan (what I use), two 8" (20cm)round pans (for two layers), an 8" (20cm) square pan, a 9" round pan or 9x5' (23x12.7") inch loaf pan. 
  2. Flour options: You can substitute 1/4 of the flour (1/2 cup/68g) with almond flour or whole wheat flour
  3. Orange frosting/glaze: The recipe makes enough of a thinner frosting/glaze to cover the top of the cake. If you want a thicker, more traditional buttercream frosting, use 1 1/2 cups (180g) icing sugar, 1/4 cup (4 tbsp, 1/2 stick or 57g) butter and 2-3 tbsp orange juice. It might be easier to use a food processor or hand electric mixer if making the traditional frosting (instead of a fork).
  4. Other frosting options:
    • A chocolate buttercream frosting like we use on our best banana cake would also be fantastic because chocolate and orange are a perfect match. 
    • Or try this cream cheese frosting from Sally's Baking Addiction. Add orange zest if you like.
  5. Lower calorie, lower fat version: Substitute half the butter with unsweetened applesauce. So use 6 tbsp butter and 6 tbsp apple sauce. And skip the frosting (just dust with icing sugar)
  6. Make Ahead:
    • The whole orange cake can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days in an airtight container to keep it fresh and moist. 
    • The cake can also be frozen for 2-3 months. 
Nutrition values are estimates and include the orange buttercream frosting. 
Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 238mg | Potassium: 90mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 681IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg