Last week when I went grocery shopping I double checked the ingredients in this orange cake recipe to make sure I had everything I needed to make it. The only ingredients I didn't have were oranges and buttermilk, so I picked those up at the store. But when I went to make the cake, the oranges were gone. My kids ate them all up. What can I say? I’m glad they ate them! The funny thing is that I really only needed the oranges for the zest. I had to laugh when I thought of this recipe's key ingredient being thrown away in the trash. When you think about it, isn't it amazing that we normally throw away the very thing that gives this cake so much flavor?
And that got me thinking back to when I was young and the first time I saw my mom using orange zest. She was making orange sweet rolls, and I remember seeing her putting bits of peel in the bowl. I thought that was so disgusting. I told my mom that you are not supposed to eat the peel—you throw it away! She explained to me that it added flavor and was supposed to be in the rolls, but I was not convinced. There was no way I was eating those rolls with orange peel in them. She told me to wait and see, that I would like them. And of course I did.
I think this cake has just the right amount of orange flavor. But, my kids thought the frosting tasted too “orangy”. (What?? Aren’t these the same kids that love oranges so much that they ate them all??) So if you are like my kids and prefer a more subtle orange flavor, skip the orange extract in the frosting.
Orange Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
A favorite orange cake recipe that uses orange zest.
- 2 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon orange juice
- 3/4 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour two 9" round pans, or spray with baking spray.2. In a large bowl combine cake cake flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.3. Mix in butter, buttermilk, eggs, orange zest, vanilla, and orange extract.4. Beat with mixer on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.5. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.6. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cooling racks, then allow to cool completely before frosting.7. To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, orange juice, orange zest, and orange extract.8. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 9" two-layer cake