Vegan Orange Cake

orange cake
Over the years I’ve veganized dozens of recipes for baked goods from the Joy of Cooking, but ironically I had never tried the two cake recipes in this encyclopedic cookbook that are actually labeled vegan.

So this week, with a little time to kill and a craving for something sweet and orange-y, I decided to try my hand, finally, at the Ultra-Orange Vegan Cake.

Like almost everything I’ve ever made from this cookbook, it bowled me over. It was moist, delicious, perfectly sweet, and– best of all– it took me no more than 10 minutes to throw the ingredients together. Yes, it was that easy.

The recipe called for some orange zest. I didn’t have an orange on hand to zest, so I instead threw in a couple of tablespoons of Cointreau which is, of course, an orange liqueur. Alcohol AND cake? I couldn’t be happier.

As I am writing this post, CNN is running a story on the release from prison of former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. To anyone that’s alive and awake, animal lover or not, this man –unfortunately –needs no introduction. In 2007, he shocked the living daylights out of most of us when images of the cruelty he wreaked against dozens of innocent pitbulls splashed across our television screens.

I understand Vick’s going to do some work with the Humane Society of the United States — I presume to raise awareness about how wrong his actions were— but here’s what I really think:

I think people like Michael Vick, who’s pulling this HSUS stunt just to revive his career in major league football, don’t deserve a second chance and he should NEVER again be allowed to play by the NFL. Honestly, does anyone really believe this man is capable of remorse?

I’ve had a lot of arguments with Desi over this who tends to be more forgiving, but someone who can electrocute dogs and slam them to death because they are not good enough to engage in bloody fights with other pitbulls should not be put in a position where he can be worshipped as an idol by thousands of children.

Moving on to happier topics, here is the Vegan Orange Cake recipe. Enjoy, everyone!
Vegan Orange Cake


Vegan Orange Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A moist and flavorful vegan orange cake
Recipe type: Cake/Dessert
Serves: 12
  • Dry Ingredients
  • 1½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 cup minus 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp Cointreau liqueur (Meanure the Cointreau into a cup measure first and then top it off with OJ)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Mix together the wet ingredients and add to the dry. Stir until smooth.
  2. Pour into a greased and floured cake pan, preferably lined with wax or parchment paper which makes it easier to unmold the cake.
  3. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then slide a thin knife around the edges.
  5. Gently remove the cake from the pan and continue cooling on a rack.
  6. This cake is best by itself, but a dollop of whipped vegan cream does no harm, if you know what I mean :)


(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.


41 thoughts on “Vegan Orange Cake

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 20, 2009 at 9:36pm

    Wow cake looks moist and prefect…Delicious orange cake!

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    May 21, 2009 at 12:03am

    Anything citrusy or orangey, I have to try! So far, I’ve tried out at least 12 diff versions of citrus cakes :D

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    May 21, 2009 at 12:05am

    I’m having a houseful of omnivorous company next weekend (they’ll be eating vegan, whether they know it or not ;o) and this recipe would be ideal to throw together in a hurry.

    I don’t follow football nor animal cruelty stories because violence disgusts me, but a mere football ban seems too mild a punishment. We need to get to the point where people recognize that non-human animals are on the same plane with human ones – then let the punishment fit the crime.

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    May 21, 2009 at 12:47am

    Wow the cakes looks so moist and yummy… Great recipe thanks for sharing this.

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    May 21, 2009 at 12:57am

    I just imagine the flavor of citrus!

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    May 21, 2009 at 1:34am

    How have you been Vaishali? Thanks for your detailed comment in my previous post. We have sort of settled and things are back to routine again.

    I have tried a similar recipe from Joy of Vegan baking. It’s blueberry muffin recipe. Just throw in a cup of bluberries and you have a blueberry cake.

    I’m totally with you on the Vick issue. I don’t understand how a life of a dog is cheaper than a life of a human. If he had killed a human will be let free if he simply accepts to do some community service?

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    May 21, 2009 at 1:46am

    That cake sounds very doable Vaishali … am trying it. :-)
    Looks too good.

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    Nithya Praveen

    May 21, 2009 at 3:33am

    First time to ur blog…u have a neat one here.I love the citrus flavor in any food…a gud one to try.Thanks for sharing!

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 21, 2009 at 3:47am

    yummy cake… I love anything orange… will definitely try this :)

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 21, 2009 at 2:27pm

    Wow yummy orangy cake. Looks delicious and tempting.

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 21, 2009 at 3:09pm

    Omg – that cake looks absolutely delicious! I am going to give it a try this weekend for sure!! One qn – if I were to use the orange zest instead of the Liquer – how much would I use? and I guess the orange juice would be an entire cup then!

    I am with you on Vick’s issue. DIsgusting … wouldn’t want him anywhere near a humane society!

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Amy D

    May 22, 2009 at 12:06am

    I love your blog, you express yourself well and you have great recipes! I receive your posts via email, but they enter my email box as holy cow! and no description of the post. Is there a way to write Orange Cake in the subject line so that when I save your recipes they’ll be easier to retrieve? Just a suggestion, I’ll keep subscribed either way.

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    May 28, 2009 at 7:26am

    Love the crumb-like texture of your cake. Great tea-time snack. I made a vegan cake once and it came out good, using vinegar.

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    February 16, 2010 at 5:02am

    Very tasty! I found this recipe an hour ago and I am already eating it.
    It is super moist, you couldn’t tell it is vegan. Can’t wait to share it with my friends!
    I added some orange zest for a stronger orange flavor. Really good!

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    August 21, 2010 at 12:34pm

    Hi Mindhaven– it’s exactly what it sounds like. You need two tablespoons less than one full cup. Instead of measuring out 14 tbsps (a cup is 16 tbsps), it is easier to measure out one cup and remove two tbsp from it. Does that help?

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    January 7, 2011 at 7:25pm

    i am finally getting to thank you for this recipe. I have made it several times now. I have brought it to friends’ homes and they have loved it and asked for the recipe. Made it for my sick mom and she loved it and asked for it again.
    The texture comes our so light and airy in this eggless recipe – it surprises everyone that its eggless. USually eggless cakes come out dense, not this one.

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    May 22, 2011 at 9:03pm

    This is the first recipe I have tried from your blog and it was amazing! This has got to be the best cake I’ve ever eaten, vegan or not. It was so moist and orangey. My whole family of omnivores couldn’t stop raving about it. I used a teaspoon of orange extract instead of the liqueur and served it with a warm blueberry sauce.
    Looking forward to more great recipes!

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    June 27, 2011 at 7:27pm

    Hi Kamini, Thanks for agreeing with me. It still hurts me to think of Michael Vick and what he did, and now he’s happily back in major league football being a big hero. Meanwhile, the innocent animals he tortured are either dead or struggling to get back to normal lives after years of hard work by groups like Best Friends. It really makes me wonder about the values of the world we live in…
    Thanks for the link to the cake! I love Sharan and the work Nandita does, so will look forward to trying this soon.

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    July 12, 2011 at 3:03am

    I made this cake with the only two exceptions were that I used orange extract and added cardamom. It was so delicious – thank you!

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    September 8, 2011 at 7:10pm

    Hi Vaishali

    Tried your orange cake was superb..made some changes since i did not have those stuff in hand but liked it very much..
    Added some pistachios and instead of liqueur & vinegar added decaffine tulsi rose tea and lime juice..

    Thanks for your wonderful vegan site we love it..

  21. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 8, 2011 at 7:18pm

    Anonymous, Thanks for the feedback.

    Roshni, tulsi rose tea and lime juice sound wonderful. Thanks for your kind words. :)

  22. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    October 20, 2011 at 7:32pm

    Hi.. I have been smitten by this cake ever since I saw it.. am trying it out for a friend’s surprise bday party. Have a few questions:

    1. would this be enough to fill in a 9 inch round cake tin or do i have to increase the quantities
    2. i have neither orange essence nor orange liqueor. Can I sub with some lemon juice/orange rind?
    3. Will this cake lend itself to some icing.. Nothing much, just some butterscotch chips heated up and poured on top..? pl help.

  23. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    October 20, 2011 at 7:42pm

    Shobana, it will bake up to about 2/3rds of a 9-inch pan, so it’s not going to be very big. If you are making it for a large crowd, I’d suggest doubling the recipe and baking two cakes, then icing around the middle and on top. The cake is fairly sturdy and would do well with icing.
    Lemon juice wouldn’t really go with this cake, but orange zest (the outer skin without the white pith) would be a good addition.

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    December 14, 2011 at 5:04pm

    This is delicious! really moist, and even better after a day or two in a tin, if it lasts that long. I left out the Cointreau and made up the liquid with orange juice and the orange flavour with zest of half an orange and half a lemon. I made it as two small layers and sandwiched them with quince jelly – fantastic. A dusting of icing sugar on top is nice instead of icing or drizzle, too.

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    April 9, 2012 at 4:59pm

    I’ve made this cake 3x in as many months. Every time I make it I’m asked for the recipe. I made a few tweaks– I use 3 T of Grand Mariner and I add the zest of a large orange. By the way– heed the warning of it being sticky, flour generously!

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    August 25, 2012 at 12:15pm

    Hi, I googled vegan orange cake recipe this morning and came across this post. I am going to make it this afternoon! I am from England and so I had no clue who Vick was until you mentioned it. I won’t go and google it though because it will make me very angry. I am going click the follow button too if you dont mind.

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    August 25, 2012 at 8:28pm

    I have baked this last year for my son’s 6th bday, also made it for my daughter’s 3rd and now making it again for my son’s 7th. It was liked by all of our friends. Thank you so much for this recipe.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      September 11, 2012 at 7:08pm

      The cake looks so yummy. How big was the cake pan that you used?

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    November 6, 2012 at 2:45pm

    Hi hi..i tried this few weeks back and it came out soo fluffy and awesome!:-) I just love ur vegan cake collections…Next on list is the mango cupcake:-)

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    November 13, 2012 at 4:58am


    I came across this page while surfing for a vegan banana cake and just want to say I’m totally with you in disgust and horror over what Vick did to those poor dogs. I think that anyone capable of such sadism who clearly enjoys torturing animals (and how many more during his life that we don’t know about?) can’t be changed by a stint with the Humane Society. He’s obviously a thug and has hoodwinked the judiciary and others. I’d have given him a lengthy sentence and forbidden him any contact or ownership of animals for the rest of his life. A slack judiciary, but sadly it’s the same still in most countries.

    Good on you Vaishali for speaking of this and for a fabulous website! – Mel from New Zealand

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    January 10, 2013 at 6:07am

    I just made this cake with only orange juice and a white chocolate ganache to go on top. It looks like a gourmet cake now! Also, I only had chilli vinegar on hand so I used that and it seems to have added a milt heat to the cake, which is awesome on the taste buds. amazing! Also, no egg means I can eat as many slices as I please :)

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    March 16, 2014 at 6:57pm

    Hi Vaishali, made this cake today. It tasted great. Thanks for this easy recipe

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      March 16, 2014 at 9:46pm

      VKbook, that’s great! Glad you enjoyed the cake, and thanks for letting me know. :)

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