Orange Loaf Cake

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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.

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Orange Loaf Cake with sliced orange on top.

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.

Slice of orange cake on a plate.

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.
Birdseye view of orange cake with fresh orange slices on top.

Key Ingredients

  • 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.

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!

Close up view of iced orange cake.

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.
Sliced orange loaf cake on cooling rack.

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.

Sliced of orange loaf cake with orange zest on top.

Other Recipes with Yogurt

Orange loaf cake with icing dripping down.

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Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog

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Orange Loaf Cake

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.
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: orange loaf cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 9 slices

Ingredients

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

Orange Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt or milk

Instructions

  • 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!
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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The perfect cake for dessert and to serve at brunch too. Love the citrus taste. Easy and delicious is a win in my books.

  2. 5 stars
    Such perfect timing. I was just telling my husband that I missed baking (I stopped because there’s only two of us now). I was thinking loaf cakes might be a good solution as they are small. We bought oranges on the weekend and now we just can’t get enough of this cake!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m obsessed with orange flavored desserts in the warmer months. It’s the perfect flavor for spring & summer. Can’t wait to try this!

  4. Oh this looks super rich and dense! I love the sweet orange..perfect for the arrival of spring and summer. I cannot wait to make this…I think this would be perfect for Mother’s Day!

  5. 5 stars
    I couldn’t believe how flavorful this cake was. I made it for my wifes book club and they devoured it. Luckily I snagged a piece before they finished it.

  6. 5 stars
    This cake turned out delicious. It was so flavorful and soft. I made it for a dinner party and the guests could not have been more pleased with it. A keeper for sure!

  7. 5 stars
    This cake turned out really good. I used olive oil instead of butter to make it slightly healthier and have no regrets. Such a good recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    I couldn’t even get past the first paragraph before my mouth started to water. This cake looks so delicious and tender. I’ve never had orange cake and now I won’t stop thinking about it until I make it. LOL.

  9. 5 stars
    THis orange loaf cake went down in just a few minutes, friends asked for the recip. I’ve shared your link with them. So refreshing and moist. Love your black bowl/plates, where did you buy it from? 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    I have made loaf cakes but never an orange loaf cake and this looks delicious! I love thé colour of this desert it looks amazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  11. Why not use a good quality orange extract for extra orange flavor? Penzey’s makes a great one! Either way, sounds delicious.

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