Orange Pound Cake

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This orange pound cake recipe is everything you love about citrus desserts. It has a perfectly light orange flavor, it’s wonderfully moist, and is topped with a heavenly orange glaze.

slice of pound cake with orange zest

I love baking with citrus flavors! There’s just something so light and refreshing about desserts made with citrus.

Lemon thumbprint cookies, lemon bars, and lemon cupcakes are my all-time favorites.

But lemon isn’t the only citrus I have a crush on. I adore bread pudding with orange custard sauce or candied orange slices which I think would be a fun decoration for today’s cake.

This cake is GOOD!

The smell that fills your home while the cake bakes is amazing. It’s like a fresh breath of warm air.

orange pound cake on plate with green napkin

Why this recipe works

Unlike my lemon pound cake, traditional pound cakes don’t use chemical leavening agents. Instead, they are leavened with the air that’s incorporated by beating the sugar and cream together.

I decided to add just a tiny bit of baking powder to this recipe though. It softens the crumb slightly making the cake perfect for summer.

There’s a good amount of orange flavor from the orange zest and orange juice used in the cake. Then a generous drizzle of orange glaze adds even more flavor.

close up of slice of pound cake

Ingredients

The ingredients needed to make an orange-flavored pound cake are pretty basic.

  • Butter: Unsalted sweet cream butter will give the cake a sweet buttery flavor. It needs to be softened, not melted, in order to cream properly with the sugar.
  • Sugar: Use regular granulated sugar.
  • Eggs: You need 5 large eggs. Make sure they are at room temperature.
  • Orange zest: I found 2 tablespoons of zest, which is about 2 oranges, give the best flavor.
  • Orange juice: The same goes for orange juice. 2 tablespoons was flavorful without being too strong.
  • Flour: I usually use cake flour for pound cakes but chose all-purpose this time around. The results were just as good!
  • Salt: Just a pinch is needed to balance all the flavors.
  • Baking powder: I chose to use only ½ teaspoon to make the texture lighter while keeping true to the denseness pound cakes are known for.
  • Milk: Whole milk will give you the best results.

What can I use in place of milk?

If you don’t have milk, you can use non-dairy milk, sour cream, or plain yogurt instead. If using sour cream or yogurt, your pound cake will have a tighter crumb and taste denser.


Equipment needed

When it comes to making pound cakes, I prefer to use a stand mixer. It seems to work best when mixing large quantities of batter.

You’ll also need a 10-inch bundt pan. But you can also bake it in two 9×5 loaf pans.

orange pound cake with slices spread on a round plate

How to Make Orange Pound Cake

This recipe is a lot like my sour cream pound cake, but I used milk instead of sour cream, added orange juice, and used all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. Here’s an overview of how to make it:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together until well combined.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs followed by the vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until almost fully combined. Add the milk followed by the remaining flour mixture then mix until no dry streaks of dry flour remain.
  4. Bake. Spread the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Glaze and serve. Mix the ingredients for the glaze and drizzle over the cooled cake.

Don’t have a bundt pan?

The recipe as written is made for a bundt pan. It yields too much batter for any other pan. However, you can bake it in two 9×5 loaf pans.


Recipe Variations

Try this recipe with lemon zest and lemon juice instead of orange for a bright lemon pound cake.

close up of sliced orange pound cake

Storage tips

You can make this cake ahead of time if needed.

  • Cover it and store it for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
  • Or freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring it to room temperature before serving.

Orange Pound Cake

4.62 from 39 votes
slice of pound cake with orange zest
This Orange Pound Cake is everything you love about citrus desserts. It has a perfectly light orange flavor, it’s wonderfully moist, and it’s topped with a heavenly orange glaze.
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Serving Size 12

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 ¼ cups (282 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 cups (390 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk

For the glaze

  • 1 cup (120 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Instructions

Make the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan, and set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the orange zest and juice. Continue beating for an extra 2 minutes, scraping down the pan once or twice so that everything gets well mixed.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir with a whisk. Add to the butter mixture. With the mixer set to low speed, slowly pour in the milk. Continue to beat just until combined. Do not over mix.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes or until the pan is cool enough to touch. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Drizzle with glaze.

Make the glaze

  • Add the confectioners’ sugar to a small bowl. Stir in enough of the orange juice to create a galze thin enough to drizzle.

Notes

  • Mix the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until fully combined. Mix in the orange juice and spread over the top of the cake.
Make ahead tip
  1. The cake will keep for up to 5 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. Or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 232mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 61g | Vitamin A: 736IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Adapted from Taste of Home

Originally published May 2015. Post updated June 2020 with a new topping, new photos, and a video.

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Recipe Rating




63 Comments

  1. Made the orange pound cake , didn’t turn out as expected the taste was ok but the texture was crumbly and parts of the cake was doughy as if it wasn’t completely done . I don’t know if it was the whole milk or not , I usually use butter milk in my pound cakes . The recipe said to use 1 tsp of salt but you mentioned you used a pinch of salt , soo which should I’ve used?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I hate to hear that as the recipe always works for me and it’s worked for many other readers. This recipe doesn’t need buttermilk since it contains orange juice. The acid in the orange juice works with the baking soda to create a soft texture. And you use 1 teaspoon of salt as the recipe states. There’s a video at the bottom of the recipe that shows how the texture should be. I’m thinking your oven temperature is off or the ingredients were mismeasured by mistake.

  2. 5 stars
    Um, this is literally the best cake I’ve ever made. The crumb and flavor were both so perfect. I believe the way you wrote the recipe instructions was super helpful. I did use the original cream cheese glaze and that was definitely the right choice. Thank you!

  3. Can You cook it with gluten free flour?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I haven’t made the recipe with gluten-free flour but if you try it let me know it turns out.

  4. Hi
    I was wondering could I add some vanilla extract to this recipe.

  5. Chris Yap says:

    Hi Mr Sobjack
    I am learning to bake.
    I am excited to have found your recipe for the orange cake. Do you have the same recipe in metric measurements as I am not good with “cups” measurement. Can I use self-raising flour instead of all purpose flour?
    Thanks for your time.

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      The recipe has been updated to include metric measurements. If you use self-raising flour instead of all purpose, you’ll need to omit the baking powder. Keep in mind, I’ve never made this recipe with self-raising flour so I can’t guarantee it will work.

  6. Kylie F Solis says:

    This cake was amazing. I didn’t even make the glaze, it was so good plain.