This soft, moist, easy orange cake recipe from scratch is loaded with with cream cheese frosting, mandarin oranges, orange marmalade and lots of fresh orange zest.
In my opinion, Summer is the BEST time to make citrus cakes.
The aroma and flavors of oranges that fill the air while this dessert is baking is intoxicating!
This cake tastes like a creamsicle cake!
Now, this is NOT a juice cake because no juice was used. I like to use buttermilk instead. It's also NOT a pound cake, which has a firmer texture and is usually made in a loaf pan.
2 key ingredients: Marmalade and fresh orange zest!
I seriously love marmalade and truly believe that's what makes this recipe the best, hands down! In each bite, you get to taste marmalade, cream cheese frosting, and orange slices. It's a heavenly combination of all those flavors and textures.
Tips for Moist Mandarin Orange Cake
- Don't replace all-purpose flour with any other flour because the texture will change.
- Use unsalted butter to prevent this cake from becoming too salty.
- Only assemble the cake with frosting and marmalade when they have completely cooled down.
- If you plan to include any add-ins in this recipe like chocolate chips or cranberries, check out my baking tip on preventing chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom.
- This recipe works great as cupcakes too.
- Recipe can also be easily doubled to make a cake with more layers.
- Mandarin orange slices must be patted dry on paper towels. This prevents the cake from becoming too wet and soggy.
- Don't omit the orange marmalade because it really enhances the citrus flavor in this dessert. You can even use orange jam or jelly if you like.
- Don't replace buttermilk with any other milk because it adds a lot of moisture to this cake. You can also make a DIY homemade version, if you don't have it in your pantry.
Other Flavor Variations for Marmalade cake
- To make a pineapple version, replace half the mandarin oranges with small pineapple slices or you can even use pineapple frosting.
- To make olive oil cake, use olive oil instead of butter. I would suggest using a mild brand so that the oil flavor and fragrance does not overpower the orange flavor.
- To make citrus cranberry version, replace half the mandarin oranges with freshly chopped cranberries. Use them between the cake layers and top as well.
- To make chocolate orange cake, use this chocolate buttercream frosting instead of cream cheese frosting. The flavors compliment each other very well.
- To make an overload cake, use this orange buttercream icing and the rest of the steps are same.
- Add almonds or poppy seeds for a subtle crunch.
How to Make easy homemade Orange Cake recipe From Scratch?
- Whisk together flour and baking powder and keep aside.
- In another bowl, mix together eggs, butter, sugar, buttermilk, zest, extracts until smooth.
- Add flour and mix until just combined.
- Pour into cake pans.
- Bake and let it cool down.
- Spread marmalade on top of each cake and top it off with frosting.
- Decorated with mandarin orange slices. Enjoy!
How to Make best Orange layer cake Recipe From Mix?
This cake mix recipe is different than my printable from scratch" recipe below. They are both delicious. Use whichever one you like.
- 4 eggs (Large)
- ½ cup oil
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange extract
- 1 package pre-made vanilla pudding (Snack packs)
- 1 package yellow cake mix
- In a mixing bowl, add eggs, oil, orange juice, orange extract, zest until smooth.
- Add cake mix powder and mix until just combined. Don't over mix.
- Pour batter into two round cake pans (Dimensions: 8x2).
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool down. Then, frost in your choice of icing and enjoy!
Citrus cake filling ideas
Some cake filling options are:
- Orange curd
- Orange jam, marmalade or jelly
- Whipped cream (stabilized)
- Buttercream frosting
- Orange frosting
- Chocolate frosting or ganache
- White chocolate buttercream frosting
- Cherry pie filling
- Blueberry pie filling
How do you get Orange Zest?
Use a zester. They are cheap and can be found online on Amazon or at most grocery stores. You can also use a cheese grater.
How do you Make Orange Colored Frosting?
Use gel food coloring. The two brands I recommend are Americolor or Wilton.
What Can you make With Oranges?
You can use them in many sweet and savory recipes such as:
- Orange banana mango smoothie
- Orange fruit salad
- Chocolate orange brownies
- Coconut orange cupcakes
- Slow cooker orange chicken
More Summer Cake Recipes
- Naked Cake
- Mango Cake with Mango Frosting
- Homemade Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Rosette Cake (Buttercream)
- Refrigerate- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freeze- Cake and frosting can be stored separately in the freezer for up to 1 month. When you are ready to enjoy it, thaw to room temperature and assemble as per instructions below.
Easy Orange Cake
- 3 cups Cream cheese frosting
- 1 cup Orange marmalade or Jam
- 1 cup Mandarin orange slices Patted dry on paper towels
- In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, butter, sugar and mix until combined.
- Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix!
- Pour batter into two round greased/floured cake pans (Dimensions: 8x2).
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool down completely. Then, cut the dome on top of the cake and the stiff sides.
- Place one cake on a cake stand. Spread a thin layer of marmalade. Then, spread a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Add some mandarin orange slices if you like.
- Place the other cake on top of the frosting. Spread another thin layer of marmalade and another thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Top it off more mandarin orange slices. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- To make orange cranberry cake, stir ⅓ cup dried cranberries into the batter. To make chocolate orange cake, stir ⅓ cup chocolate chips into the batter. Make sure to toss them in some flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.