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!


  1. This looks so lovely! I love orange flavored cakes and breads, I must give this a try! Thanks for posting!

  2. Whoa! Looks delicious, and prange is my favourite flavour. Must try now! :)

  3. I'm drooling already...

  4. This looks AMAZING! I love how fluffy it tastes and I love that it's orange spice, because just orange can get a bit overly sweet. Love it!

  5. wow, Amy this looks excellent. This is my kind of cake too, I am not one for the traditional bday so this would be excellent.

  6. This sounds so totally delicious and the pics of the glaze all crackled... swoon :)

  7. This looks great. Is there any way to print just the recipe?

  8. Anonymous - I don't have a print feature built into the blog. You could copy the post and paste it, then print. Thanks for asking!

  9. I'm curious about this cake. I'm looking for an orange cake to make for solstice, but I will be cutting it with star cutters and I need a very dense cake. The recipe has a lot of wet ingredients, so does it come out like pound cake?

    Thanks for any info you can give me. :)

  10. Hi Anonymous (Dec 19) - This is not a dense cake. It's tender and moist, which probably wouldn't work well with your star cutters. A pound cake would be a better option, I think. Thanks for asking, and have fun celebrating the solstice!

  11. An entire cup of fat (3/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup canola oil) seems like a lot for a 9x9 cake.

    1. One cup of fat isn't unusual for a coffee cake. It's not health food afterall, it's cake! And there are at least nine servings in this cake. If you like, you could substitute some of the butter or oil for other fats like yogurt or milk.

  12. I made this last night. I made it with 1/2 cup butter and no oil and it turned out just great. The kids loved it :) I looked in my King Arthur Cookbooks for spice cakes and similar and they called for 1/2 cup fat for 9x9 so that is what I went with. I would be curious to know if you would be able to tell the two cakes apart if you ate them side by side. The glaze definitely makes the cake!

  13. Do you think this recipe would do well as a two layer cake with cream cheese frosting? The cake looks absolutely beautiful in your pictures!!