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Orange Loaf Cake is soft, tender, and packed with fresh orange flavor in each bite. Topped with a light orange glaze and can be served for breakfast or dessert.
Orange Loaf Cake
This Orange Loaf Cake is so soft, tender, buttery, and has the perfect balance of sweet orange flavor and zest. You don’t need it to be citrus season to make this cake because luckily, oranges are always available at the grocery store. We use fresh orange juice for both the cake and orange glaze and orange zest is mixed into the cake mix.
This cake is also called Orange Bread because it’s made in a loaf pan but it’s sweet enough to be called a cake. This cake is also similar to an orange pound cake because it’s extra buttery from the melted butter. Serve this loaf cake with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning for breakfast, or enjoy it as a treat for dessert.
The secret to making this cake extra moist and soft is by adding yogurt. I love adding flavored orange yogurt to make the cake extra flavorful but plain or vanilla yogurt work well too.
If you love this cake, be sure to try this Almond Loaf Cake with Lemon that’s made with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and almond flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Anytime dessert: This is the perfect cake for spring, summer, birthdays, Easter, or any special occasion or celebration.
- Easy recipe: You most likely already have a majority of these simple ingredients at home so you can make this cake anytime.
- Soft and tender: Thanks to the yogurt, this cake is soft, moist, tender, and fluffy.
- Made with fresh oranges: Fresh orange flavor is bursting in this cake from the orange juice and zest, and the orange glaze on top of the cake.
- Flour: Be sure to accurately measure the flour correctly. I use all-purpose flour but if you wanted a healthier alternative you can use whole wheat flour.
- Baking powder & baking soda: Used as a leavening agent.
- Granulated sugar: Adds sweetness.
- Orange zest: Adds the fresh orange flavor, it’s best to use a citrus zester to easily zest the orange.
- Orange juice: You can juice your own from the medium orange used to zest the orange or use store-bought orange juice.
- Large eggs: Adds richness and binds the ingredients together. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature for best results.
- Butter: Makes this loaf cake extra moist and buttery. Alternatively, you could use olive oil, coconut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil.
- Yogurt: You can use plain, vanilla, or orange flavored whole milk or low-fat yogurt. Greek yogurt could also be used. Alternatively you could use sour cream if you aren’t a fan of yogurt or don’t have any.
How To Make Orange Loaf Cake
Prepare loaf pan and flour mixture: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter or grease a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan or loaf tin or line with parchment paper. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest to a medium mixing bowl and whisk together.
Combine wet ingredients: In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, mix together the melted butter and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape down the sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add in orange juice and vanilla extract. Slowly add in half of the dry ingredients, then add the yogurt, then the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Bake and cool: Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake has risen and is slightly golden brown at the top. Insert a wooden skewer or wooden toothpick in the center of the cake to make sure it comes out clean. Let cool in the baking pan for 15 minutes then slide a knife around the perimeter and invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Ice cake: Add the powdered sugar, orange juice, and milk or yogurt to a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. There shouldn’t be any lumps and the icing should drip slowly from the whisk. Flip right side up then ice the cooled cake with an offset spatula or butter knife. Let the icing firm up then slice and enjoy!
Recipe Tips & Variations
- Don’t over-mix: Stop mixing right when all of the ingredients are combined otherwise your cake can be dense and chewy.
- Add more orange flavor: If you want even more orange flavor, add 1 teaspoon of orange extract or orange liqueur to the cake batter.
- Garnish the cake: Top with fresh orange slices, chopped nuts, edible flowers, whipped cream, powdered sugar, orange syrup, or sprinkles.
- Swap the oranges for blood oranges: This will give the cake a new look and slightly different flavor.
Orange Loaf Cake Add-Ins
- Chopped nuts: Walnuts, almonds, pecan and hazelnuts make great options. This will add more of a nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
- Blueberries or cranberries: Make sure to wash them and pat them dry before adding them to the cake batter.
- Chocolate: Chop up a chocolate bar or add a handful of milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips to the batter. Chocolate and oranges pair well together.
- Sprinkles: Add rainbow sprinkles to the cake batter or to the top.
- Cream cheese: Swirl it throughout the batter or add it to the butter mixture.
Leftovers & Storage
To-store: Cover the cake with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and store in a cool area for up to 2 days. Place in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Please note the cake may start to dry out once it sits in the refrigerator so you may want to warm it in the microwave to get soft.
Freeze: You can freeze unfrosted cake by wrapping the cake with plastic wrap and then place in a heavy-duty ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. To freeze frosted cake, place the cake in the freezer and freeze for at least an hour until the whole cake is frozen. Cover with plastic wrap or place the frozen cake in a bakery box.
Defrost: To defrost the unfrosted cake, let the cake thaw completely before frosting by placing the cake in the refrigerator to sit overnight.
Other Recipes with Yogurt
- Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Bread
- Vanilla Yogurt Pancakes
- Banana Nut Yogurt Muffins
- Strawberry Yogurt Muffins
- Zucchini Muffins
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Orange Loaf Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 zested medium orange
- 1/2 cup salted butter melted and cooled
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 whole large eggs
- 1/4 cup orange juice ( I use the juice from the orange)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups regular yogurt orange or vanilla flavor preferred
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon yogurt or milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter or grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan or line with parchment paper. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest to a medium mixing bowl and whisk together.
- In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, mix together the butter and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add in orange juice and vanilla extract.
- Slowly add in half of the dry ingredients, then add the yogurt, then the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake has risen and is slightly golden brown at the top. Insert a skewer in the center to make sure it comes out clean. Let cool in the baking pan for 15 minutes then slide a knife around the perimeter and invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Add the powdered sugar, orange juice, and milk or yogurt to a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. There shouldn't be any lumps and the icing should drip slowly from the whisk. Flip right side up then ice the cake with an offset spatula or butter knife. Let the icing firm up then slice and enjoy!