Orange Cake

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This fluffy orange cake is so moist and flavorful! In this amazing dessert, scratch orange cake layers are filled with a light sweetened whipped cream, and frosted with cream cheese frosting.

Sliced orange cake, filled and frosted with cream cheese frosting, on a white pedestal.

If you are looking for the perfect orange cake, look no further- this recipe is sure to please!

Orange cake is a good idea any time of year, but it is especially popular for spring and summer celebrations. This flavorful, tender cake has become an instant favorite at our house. We hope that you enjoy it!

How to Make an Orange Cake

You can find the full, printable recipe card further down in this post. Here is a quick rundown of our steps!

  • Preheat the oven to 325℉. Grease and flour three 8x2 inch round pans. We also like to line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside.
Bowl of dry ingredients with whisk
  • In another medium bowl, add the ¾ cup orange juice concentrate, vegetable oil, milk and orange extract. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, add the softened butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. (Use paddle attachment if using a stand mixer). Gradually add the granulated sugar to the mixing bowl and mix for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.
Creaming Butter and Sugar in Mixing Bowl
  • Add the room temperature eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until blended.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the orange juice mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, that will be (3 additions of dry and 2 of liquid).
  • Divide the orange cake batter between the three prepared cake pans.
Orange cake batter in pans
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 28 minutes. Baking times may vary. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. The top will also spring back when lightly touched.

  • Let the cake layers cool in their round cake pans for 5 to 10 minutes on a cooling rack before turning out. Placing the cake pans on a wire rack allow them to cool more quickly as the air can circulate beneath them as well.
Orange Cake Layers in pans
Three freshly baked orange cake layers on a wire rack.

Sweetened Whipped Cream Filling

We decided to use sweetened whipped cream for our filling. This simple, light filling is a combination of heavy cream (or whipping cream), confectioners sugar, and a bit of vanilla extract.

It is best to chill the beaters and bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes before whipping up the cream with an electric mixer. Whip at high speed until stiff peaks form. We used a handheld mixer- if using a stand mixer, you'll want to use the whisk attachment.

Whipped Cream

You know that you've reached stiff peak stage when a peak forms and holds its shape when the beaters are lifted from the bowl. Be careful not to over-mix!

*We did not add orange extract or zest to the whipped cream, but you could do this for even more orange flavor!

Bowl of whipped cream

Frosting for Orange Cake

We love cream cheese frosting and often use it with our layer cakes. It is so creamy and flavorful, with just a hint of tanginess.

We used our usual go-to cream cheese frosting recipe, which is a combination of softened cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.

If you would like even more orange flavor, you can add orange extract to the frosting as well to make orange cream cheese frosting. (This is the frosting that we used for our Orange Dreamsicle Cake).

*Cream cheese frosting makes a great filling as well! If you would prefer this over the whipped cream filling, you will have plenty of frosting for both filling and frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting in mixing bowl

Tips for working with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream cheese frosting is softer than most buttercream frostings. For this reason, we like to chill it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, just after whipping up a batch. This thickens the consistency, making it easier to work with.
  • After crumb coating my cakes with cream cheese frosting, I always take a minute to chill the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm everything up before moving onto the final layer of frosting.
  • If at any time while decorating the cake, the frosting becomes too soft, simply pop the bowl, piping bag, or cake (or all of them!) into the freezer for 10 minutes or so (or longer in the refrigerator) until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • This cream cheese frosting makes a great filling and frosting, and pipes perfectly too!

Assembling the Orange Cake

Once the layers are cool, it's time to assemble the cake! Place the first cake layer onto the cake base or pedestal.

Because we are using a soft whipped cream filling, it is best to pipe a dam of frosting around the edge of the cake (about ¼ inch-½ inch from the edge). Then, spread whipped cream filling inside of the dam. Top with the next orange cake layer and repeat.

Top with the third cake layer and crumb coat the cake. (The crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting).

Spreading whipped cream within the frosting dam on the orange cake layer.

After crumb coating my cakes, I like to chill them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes (or longer in the refrigerator) to firm everything up before applying the second coat of frosting.

Frosting orange cake with cream cheese frosting

Decorating the Cake

Decorate the cake however you like! You'll have plenty of frosting for piped details and more. We kept things very simple with our decoration.

I added more frosting to the top of the cake, creating a swirled texture with my offset spatula.

Swirling cream cheese onto the top of the frosted cake with a spatula.

Then, I smoothed over the freshly frosted cake with a metal cake comb to create a pretty ridged design.

Combing the frosted cake with a cake comb

Finally, I added a chunky top border of alternating piped rosettes and shells with a large star piping tip (1M).

Top view of the frosted Orange Cake, which is decorated with a border of piped buttercream rosettes and shells.

Here is our finished cake! We love how it came out. It is the perfect light and fruity cake for all sorts of special occasions from birthdays to baby showers, or gatherings with friends and family.

Sliced Orange Cake on Pedestal

Orange Cake FAQs

Can the Cake Layers be Frozen?

Yes they can! As with any of our layer cakes, when wrapped properly, the orange cake layers can be frozen for up to three months and will still stay as fresh as the day they are baked.

When baking ahead and freezing, we like to wrap each layer individually. Place the cake on a foil-wrapped cake cardboard, then wrap with plastic wrap and tightly with aluminum foil. (When possible, we wrap and freeze the slightly warm cake layers before they completely cool.)

To thaw, place the wrapped layers on the kitchen counter for 30-45 minutes until condensation has formed. Then, unwrap and continue thawing to desired amount. (Some decorators prefer to decorate their cakes while still partially frozen as the cakes are less fragile).

Does Orange Cake Need Refrigeration?

Yes it does, but only because of the whipped cream filling and cream cheese frosting.

For best taste and texture, remove the cake from the refrigerator about two hours before serving. This will allow the cake to warm and soften.

Does the Orange Batter work for Cupcakes?

Yes! This recipe works for cupcakes as well. Check the cupcakes for doneness after 15-18 minutes. They will bake up with little to no dome, as with most of our scratch recipes.

How is this Orange Cake Different?

The scratch orange cake layers in this moist cake differ from our popular Orange Dreamsicle Cake and Orange Vanilla Bean Cake because they are fluffier. This is not a dense cake. It has a tender crumb and bright orange flavor. You will love it!

Why is Cake Flour Used Instead of All Purpose Flour?

Cake flour has less protein than all purpose flour. This lower protein content results in less gluten development, resulting in a softer, more tender cake.

Slice of Orange Cake on white plate

More Orange Cakes

We've made several orange and citrus cakes over the years! Here are few more that you may like to try! They would be perfect birthday cake recipes and are sure to make any occasion feel more special!

Aside from today's orange cake, we have several other popular cakes with orange!

Orange Dreamsicle Cake (as well as Orange Dreamsicle Cake from Cake Mix), Orange Pineapple Cake, and Spice Cake are all delicious options.

Enjoy the Recipe!

Orange Cake, sliced on a pedestal

Orange Cake

This Orange Cake is the best! Moist orange cake layers are filled with whipped cream and frosted with cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 15
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened (This is the equivalent of 1 ½ sticks butter)
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups (342g) cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons (12g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons (3g) salt
  • ¾ cup (190g) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • ¼ cup (54g) vegetable oil (we use canola oil)
  • ½ cup (121g) milk (we use whole milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon (10g) Orange extract
  • A small amount of orange coloring gel (optional)

Sweetened Whipped Cream Filling

  • 1 cup (240g) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (29g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, softened (Two 8 oz packages. Full fat)
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) salt
  • 6 to 6 ½ cups (690g -747g) powdered sugar


For the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325℉. Grease and flour three 8x2 inch round pans.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, add the ¾ cup orange juice concentrate, vegetable oil, milk and orange extract. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and mix for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each until the yellow of the yolk has blended.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the orange juice mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. (That will be three additions of dry and two of liquid).
  • Divide the orange cake batter between the three prepared 8 inch cake pans.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes and turn out.

For the Sweetened Whipped Cream

  • Chill the mixing bowl and beaters/ whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Pour the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla into the chilled mixing bowl, begin beating on low speed gradually increasing to medium high speed.
  • Mix until the cream thickens (approx. 1 ½ minutes) and stiff peaks form. You've reached the stiff peak stage when the beaters can be lifted from the bowl and a peak of whipped cream forms and holds its shape. Be careful not to over-mix.
  • Use immediately as the whipped cream will gradually begin to deflate over time.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Add the softened butter to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the butter is smooth.
  • Cut the softened cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating at low to medium speed until incorporated. If you are using a hand mixer you may need to soften the cream cheese a bit more.
  • Add the vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar beating on low speed until blended. Cover the bowl with a towel to keep down the cloud of powdered sugar.
  • Increase mixing speed and beat until fluffy. Don't over beat or it will become too soft. If it becomes too soft, just refrigerate a short while to firm it up a bit.
  • This frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly (do not microwave) and remix.

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    1. Hi Shannon, The frozen orange juice concentrate gives the cake an extra boost of flavor. Fresh squeezed orange juice flavor seems to bake out. There is 1 Tablespoon of orange extract in the recipe so I don't know if that would give you the depth of flavor you want.

      1. Hi Kelly, yes- that is correct! A stick of butter is 1/2 cup, and so this recipe calls for 1 1/2 sticks of butter (which is 3/4 cup)

  1. I'm so excited. I've finally found an orange cake recipe from scratch that uses frozen orange juice and isn't going to have the texture of a loaf. I just bought a can of frozen orange juice hoping to try it with a different recipe (was planning to swap orange for lemon) but now I don't have to do that. I get to use your recipe. I'm planning to make this by the weekend. I'll be sure to come back to let you know how it came out. Thanks ladies... 👍

    1. Hi Julie! We normally write the batter amount but I see that we didn't for this one. It should be between 6-7 cups of batter. Each cupcake is about 1/4 cup of batter-- so roughly 24-28 cupcakes (maybe a few more!) ;0)

      1. Thanks so much!

        This looks divine… I’m making cupcakes for my grand daughters birthday party this Wednesday and she chose a Halloween theme, and we both love Orange creamsicles so I figured this would be perfect for our Halloween themed party… can’t wait to try them!

  2. Hi! I made this cake for a friend’s birthday and it was awesome! Now i’m wondering if you know how/if I should adjust the time or temp if I want to make them as cupcakes?

    1. Hi Alex, so glad that you liked the cake! I would bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes for cupcakes. (Check at 15 minutes to be on the safe side).

    1. Hi Obiyaa- I can't say for sure but I think it should be fine, you just wouldn't have quite as much orange flavor. However, if you are using orange extract, that will make up for it.

      You may also like to check out our Cranberry Orange Cake that we posted recently. It doesn't call for orange juice concentrate. You could just leave out the cranberries for another orange cake option ;0) --

    2. 5 stars
      This cake is so delicious. My cakes or cupcakes didn’t rise enough and sank in the middle. Did I over mix or not have enough batter. Any suggestions will help.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I have tried making a few different kinds of orange flavored cakes, and now this is my favorite! The only thing I changed is I made 1/2 the frosting and I added orange zest to the top. Will definitely make again!

  4. Thank you!! I absolutely loved this cake. My grandma used to make me orange cake for my birthday when I was a little girl. She's since gotten old and lost her recipe and I've been trying to remake it for almost 10 years. This is the exact cake she used to make and it makes me feel like a kid again.

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Aliyah, we are so glad that this cake brought back special memories of your grandmother & childhood ;0) - We appreciate your feedback!