This vegan orange cake is a marvelous treat. It is crammed with vibrant orange flavor in every bite and on top goes a yummy orange marmalade frosting. The recipe is soy-free and nut-free and you need just one bowl and 10 ingredients to make it. You can be sure it is the best vegan orange cake you will ever eat!
Vegan Orange Cake
Citrus is a marvelous flavor for cakes, and one I never can get enough of. This vegan Orange Cake is a dessert I've baked over and over for many years, after first finding the recipe in the Joy of Cooking. Over the years I've made some tweaks and, most importantly, I've multiplied its deliciousness by doubling the recipe and slathering it with a fluffy, decadent orange marmalade buttercream frosting.
This is a delicious cake, full of orange flavor in every bite. It has a tender crumb that's perfectly but not cloyingly sweet, and the marmalade buttercream is soft and fluffy and to die for.
It is also a rather easy cake to make: it should take you no more than 10 minutes to throw the ingredients together and perhaps another 10 to whip up the frosting, if that. It's also a one-bowl recipe because you can throw all your ingredients for the cake in one by one, and then rinse out the bowl and use it to whip up your frosting. And best of all, you can even make your cake a tad boozy, as I sometimes do (but not this time), by subbing a couple of tablespoons of the orange juice with an orange liqueur.
Ingredients for Vegan Orange Cake
- Flour. I sometimes use unbleached all purpose but when I'm feeling a little extra-healthy, I've used whole wheat pastry flour. Both give great results that are quite comparable. You can also use half and half if you're undecided.
- Orange. You need both the orange juice and the orange zest here. I use the pulpy juice, so if you want to just toss your oranges in a blender and juice them, go right ahead. Or just buy fresh squeezed orange juice that's pulpy off the shelf at your grocer's. You will need a whole orange to zest, though.
- Orange marmalade. This is for the frosting, and it's wonderful.
- Vegetable oil. In vegan cakes, oil not only subs for butter, I think it makes the cake more moist, which is a win-win, isn't it?
- Baking soda. There is no baking powder in this recipe and 2 teaspoon baking soda is all you need for the leavening.
- Apple cider vinegar (use regular vinegar if that's what you have)
- Pure vanilla extract
- Sugar. I use turbinado, which makes the crumb darker, but any kind will work.
- Powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar, for the frosting.
- Vegan butter for the frosting.
How to make the best Vegan Orange Cake recipe
- This is a one-bowl recipe, like I already said, so you don't have to worry about mixing the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients, then merging them. You can start out by throwing in your wet ingredients -- the orange juice, zest, oil, vinegar, vanilla and sugar -- beat it all until combined, and then throw in the dry ingredients and mix until they come together.
- Scrape your batter into two 8- or 9-inch cake pans lined at the bottom with parchment paper and with the sides oiled. Bake for 30-35 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes in the pan, then unmold and continue cooling them on racks before frosting.
How to make the Orange Marmalade Buttercream Frosting
- Make sure your butter is at room temperature -- not hard nor melted, but soft.
- Start out by combining the orange marmalade in the bowl with the butter and whisk, then begin to add the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time.
- Beat in the sugar after each addition and taste as you go to adjust the amount of sugar up or down to your liking. I find that most frosting recipes use too much sugar for my taste. For this cake I used two cups of powdered sugar and it was perfect. More sugar will make your buttercream stiffer, so keep that in mind as well.
- If your powdered sugar has been standing around for some time and is clumping together, run it through a sieve before adding it to the frosting to make sure the buttercream is perfectly smooth and fluffy, the way you want it to be.
- Use an offset spatula or a butter knife to frost your cake. Dump half of the frosting on the first cake, spread it around evenly, then carefully place the second cake, bottom side up on the first cake and frost the top and sides with remaining frosting. This recipe doesn't make enough frosting to get a liberal layer of buttercream around the sides of the cake, but if you want to do that, add another stick of butter to your frosting and increase the other ingredients proportionately.
I hope you'll try and enjoy this amazing Vegan Orange Cake with Orange Marmalade Buttercream Frosting as much as we did. If you make it, be sure to let me know in the comments below or take a photo and tag me @holycowvegan on Instagram!
Frequently asked questions
The cake is delicious without the frosting and you can definitely serve it plain. Sift some confectioners' sugar on top for a pretty look.
Using just olive oil would overwhelm the orange flavor of this cake. I recommend using vegan butter in this recipe, but if you want to use oil preferably use an unflavored vegetable oil, like avocado oil. At best you can substitute half the butter with extra virgin olive oil.
The cake will keep in the fridge for up to five days. For longer storage freeze slices, individually wrapped, in a freezer-safe bag or container. You can also tightly cling-wrap the whole cake, place it in a freezer-safe bag, and freeze for up to three months.
More vegan cake recipes
- Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with a Lemon Glaze
- Vegan Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake
- Vegan Zucchini Cake with Orange Marmalade Glaze
- Vegan Mango Cheesecake
- Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cake
Vegan Orange Cake
For the vegan Orange Cake:
- 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (can use whole wheat pastry flour or half all purpose and half whole wheat)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups orange juice (sub two tablespoon of the orange juice with an orange liqueur if you like)
- Zest of an orange
- 2 cups sugar
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make the cake:
- Place the orange juice, zest, sugar, oil, vinegar and vanilla in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a whisk or the whisk attachment of the stand mixer to mix for one minute or until everything appears to be well-mixed.
- Add the baking soda, salt and flour to the bowl and mix. Scrape down the sides of the pan after 20 seconds of mixing and mix for 20 seconds more, but no longer.
- Spray two 8- or 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray or oil. Preferably line the bottom with parchment paper, or, if you don't have this, flour the pans. Divide the cake batter equally between the two pans.
- Bake the cakes in a 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then slide a thin knife around the edges of each cake
- Gently flip each cake onto a plate, slide onto a rack, and continue cooling before you frost.
Make the frosting:
- Place the orange marmalade, vanilla and butter in a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until combined, around 30 seconds.
- Add the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, incorporating well into the butter mixture after each addition. Your frosting should be smooth, creamy and fluffy.
Assemble the cake:
- Place one of the cakes, on a plate or cake stand. Dump half of the frosting on the cake, use an offset spatula or knife to spread it evenly, then place the second cake on top, taking care to ensure they line up evenly. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top of the cake, using anything that remains for the sides.
- Slice and serve.