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.

Here is the Vegan Orange Cake recipe. Enjoy, everyone!

5.0 from 2 reviews
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.



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  1. says

    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.

  2. says

    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?

  3. says

    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!

  4. says

    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.

  5. says

    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!

  6. says

    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?

  7. Anonymous says

    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.

  8. Laura says

    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!

  9. says

    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.

  10. Anonymous says

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

  11. says

    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..

  12. Shobana. says

    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.

  13. says

    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.

  14. says

    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.

  15. Anonymous says

    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!

  16. says

    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.

  17. SS says

    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.

  18. says

    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:-)

  19. Mel says


    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

  20. Hasita says

    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 :)

  21. Jessica says

    I wonder if these would work as cupcakes? Only one way to find out…actually two if others have tried this and want to let me know.

  22. Jessica says

    So, cupcakes were great. I also added fresh diced pineapple, used spiced rum in place of the Cointreau I did not have, decided that made it a kind of spiced cake so added fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg, used carrot orange juice b/c that’s what I had, threw in a handful of poppy seeds because why not, and used half and half canola oil and olive oil for the veg oil, again, what I had. I doubled the recipe and did one 8″ cake and 12 cupcakes. RAVE reviews by all.

  23. shani says

    this cake is so amazing!! made it twice now and it came out perfect each time :)
    not to mention – easy! can whip it up in less than 10 minutes!
    a tip – before I put it in the oven I sprinkle it with poppy seeds for a orange and poppyseed cake :)
    so delicious – you don’t need frosting!

    • Selvi says

      Hi Vaishali…I baked this cake twice using all the ingredients in the same proportion except for the liqueur part. I used one cup of fresh orange juice instead. I threw in some orange zest. I also used unbleached flour and substituted the oil with melted vegan butter. The final product was soft and moist and tasted delicious. However, the orange cake appeared more like a brownie as in the colour. When I took it out from the microwave convection oven, it was light in color but became brown over time. I used a dark colored baking tin. It took 15 minutes to bake at 150 degrees Celsius.How do I get the orange color as illustrated in your picture to live up to its name “orange cake”?Thank you.

      • says

        Hi Selvi, it’s strange about the color. A dark tin can indeed darken the final product, but the cake pan I use is also a pretty dark one. One possibility is the microwave convection oven which might brown differently than my gas oven does. Is it orange inside, or brown inside as well? Anyway, glad you liked the texture and taste.

        • Selvi says

          Hi Vaishali…thank you for the reply. It’s also brown inside…dark chocloate so to speak. The thing is it was lighter in colour when I took it out from the oven once baked and as it cooled down…it was browning all round. This has only happened to this recipe. I have tried other recipes and they turned out normal. Anyway, the cake is still good to go. Thank you.

  24. says

    I know this is kind of belated, but I want to thank you for taking a stand against Michael Vick. You are so right, and I feel his punishment was totally inadequate because of his fame. And now this animal torturer has a new dog – I fear for its life and am sure it will be trained to fight. A pit bull would be too obvious, so he got a Belgian Malinois – used frequently by military handlers and can be trained for aggressiveness and attack.

  25. Lakshmi says

    Tried baking orange cake…I halved the recipe and used 1/2 cup orange juice as I did not have Cointreau. The cake sank in the centre after I took it out from the oven (Ibaked it in the convection mode in the microwave oven). I baked it for 30 minutes and the toothpick inserted at the centre came clean. Any suggestions where I could have made a mistake.

    • says

      Hi Lakshmi, it’s hard to say what could have happened, since you used a convection oven– I’ve only made this in my conventional gas oven where the heat comes from the top and bottom. In a convection oven, a fan blows the heat around which should allow for even cooking. Perhaps next time you might try reducing the temperature a little bit– by about 25 degrees– and see how it works.

  26. Lisa says

    Another successful cake recipe from HCV! Thanks Vaishali! I really don’t see the need for adding eggs to a cake batter anymore. Seems to me that eggs could be one of the ingredients that make cakes dry out anyway after baking the vegan way several times now. This orange cake is tender, moist, and full of orange flavor, particularly since I added the zest of an orange before blending the flesh to make fresh juice.

    • says

      Hi Lisa, so happy you liked it! And can’t agree more on the use of eggs in cake — they do seem to dry the cake out. Besides that smell! Even when I was eating meat and eggs etc., and I did enjoy eggs, I couldn’t stand the eggy smell in baked goods. :(
      Thanks for your feedback, and the orange zest sounds like a great idea! :)

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