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Orange spice cake

You need to try this cake. It's moist, tender, and packed full of vibrant orange flavour. The zest of two navel oranges and some of their juice goes in the cake batter, and more of the tangy juice goes into the glaze that gets poured over top while the cake is still warm. A festive kick comes from cinnamon and cloves, which would make this cake an ideal treat to serve to guests who pop by during the holidays.

My oldest son, who isn't really a cake lover, devoured three pieces of this cake in one sitting the first time I made it. He loved it so much that he recently asked me to make it his birthday cake (I left out the spice for that). So I'm sharing the recipe with you now, the beautifully spiced version, which is baked in a simple 9x9 pan.

Here's how I made it:

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 navel oranges (at least 1 tbsp, but more is better!)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves

1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup icing sugar

While my oven preheated to 375 degrees (F), I got the cake started by creaming the butter and the granulated white sugar using the paddle attachment in my stand mixer (you could just as easily make this cake with a hand-held electric beater too). Then I added the eggs, oil, vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice, and beat well until smooth. In a separate mixing bowl, I combined the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. The dry ingredients were added gradually to the wet ingredients and the finished batter was beat well until smooth. The batter was poured into a well-greased 9x9 baking dish and smoothed out to evenly fill the pan. It baked in the centre of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the centre came out clean (about 35-40 minutes).

Once removed from the oven, the cake rested in the pan while I prepared the glaze. In a small bowl, I combined the orange juice with the icing sugar using a whisk to work out all the lumps. The glaze was immediately poured over the cake, forming a delicate sugary crust while it cooled completely in the pan.

I love this cake. Like, LOVE it. It's so easy to prepare and, despite how simple it is in appearance, it is loaded with heady orange and spice flavours. Try this one for the holidays!

Which cakes remind you of the holidays? Have you started any holiday baking yet? I'd love to hear what you're up to in the kitchen this week!