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
For the vegan Orange Marmalade Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 cup vegan butter (2 sticks)
- ½ cup orange marmalade
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon 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.
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.
Hi Vaishali, made this cake today. It tasted great. Thanks for this easy recipe
VKbook, that's great! Glad you enjoyed the cake, and thanks for letting me know. 🙂
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 🙂
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
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:-)
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.
The cake looks so yummy. How big was the cake pan that you used?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Anonymous, Thanks for the feedback.
Roshni, tulsi rose tea and lime juice sound wonderful. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂
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..
I made this cake with the only two exceptions were that I used orange extract and added cardamom. It was so delicious - thank you!
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.
Hey Vaishali...was looking for some good vegan cake recipes and found this. Am going to try it today. But just wanted to say I so agree with you.... for people who torture animals, there should be no second chance! THATS IT! Or do to them what they did to the animals!
Am so with you on this! BTW, here is a great cake recipe
Anonymous, Laura, thank you for the feedback! 🙂
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!
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.
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?