Our very best recipe for orange pound cake is rich, buttery, and moist! It's full of orange flavor from orange zest, orange segments, and juice! To finish, it's covered in an citrusy orange glaze!
This orange pound cake is buttery, moist, and full of sweet orange flavor! It's an incredibly easy cake to make and requires just one mixing bowl!
What we love about this orange pound cake is it's bright, tangy citrus flavor and how perfect it is for year round baking! The texture is smooth, buttery, and fluffy with a golden brown crust!
It's finished with orange slices and an orange flavored glaze that's drizzled on top to give it the perfect icing topping!
It's also a wonderful dessert to have during the warm summer months or during Christmas and Thanksgiving when citrus is at its peak season! We frequently make this orange pound cake for Christmas and add in cranberries for more festive flavor!
Why this recipe works
- This is my mom's recipe who happens to be a retired pastry chef! I've adapted the recipe to make it easy for the home baker.
- It has a soft, tender buttery crumb that contrasts nicely with the crusty golden brown topping.
- It's full of bright, orange flavor! Orange segments, orange zest, and orange juice are all used in this recipe!
The key to getting a tender, moist orange pound cake is to fully cream the sugar with the butter. What this means is that the sugar should be completely dissolved in the butter and there should be no visible sugar granules.
You can also take a bit of the butter sugar mixture and rub it between your fingers. There should be no graininess or sugar granules.
Ingredients you'll need
- Oranges - if possible, choose organic oranges as the recipe calls for using the peel.
- Butter - I used unsalted butter for this recipe.
- Milk powder - This adds a creamier taste and texture while helping the cake brown due to the added sugars from the milk powder. You can leave this out if it's not available to you but if you can find it, I recommend it.
Step by step instructions
- First, cream together the butter and sugar. Make sure your butter is softened first as this will help the sugar fully dissolve. Keep beating on medium high speed until the sugar granules are no longer visible. You can also feel the mixture for any graininess.
- Add the eggs one at a time and wait for it to be completely mixed in before adding the next one. If you add the eggs too fast, it can cause the butter mixture and eggs to separate. You should end up with a very fluffy mixture.
- Next, add the remaining dry ingredients to a sifter and sift them into the butter mixture. Fold gently to combine.
- Afterwards, add in the orange segments and orange zest.
- I recommend using a non-stick loaf pan, otherwise line your uncoated pan with parchment paper or lightly grease the pan with butter. Pour the batter into your pan and spread the batter up the sides, creating a well in the center. This helps the orange pound cake rise fully in the oven. Top with thin slices of oranges.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for the first 10 minutes. This helps the cake achieve an 'oven spring', which is when it rapidly rises and achieves volume during the initial part of the bake.
- Then, lower the temperature to 338 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Once it's cooled enough to handle, remove it from the pan and let it cool on a wire cooling rack. This prevents the orange pound cake from steaming inside the pan and getting soggy.
- Now, make the glaze by mixing fresh orange juice with powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar if it's too thin. Or you can add more orange juice if it's too thin. Wait until the cake is completely cooled before drizzling on the glaze.
- Using a small whisk or fork and drizzle on the icing and let it set before slicing and serving.
Expert tips & tricks
- Completely cream the sugar and butter - this results in a soft, tender crumb with uniformity.
- Baking at a higher initial temperature creates more rise and volume in the oven, called 'oven spring.'
- Spreading the batter up the sides of the pan helps create a split top crust that's ubiquitous in all well baked pound cakes.
- Using milk powder creates a fine, delicate crumb while helping the crust get a golden brown color.
- Orange pound cake with cranberries - use fresh or dried cranberries for a delicious Christmas pound cake! Coat them in flour and add it in as the same time as the orange zest.
- Add nuts - walnuts, almonds, pecans
- Dried fruits - apricots, pineapple, raisins, apple
- Add extracts - add a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract
Frequently asked questions
This recipe gives you a very moist, tender, and fluffy cake due to the amount of butter in the batter.
The most important tip in getting a moist cake is not to over bake it. It's ready when it has a golden brown crust and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Yes, you can freeze orange pound cake. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
You can refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.
Want more? Check out these recipes:
The Best Orange Pound Cake with Glaze
- 1 ⅔ cup all purpose flour - - (200 grams); sifted
- ¾ cup sugar - - (155 grams)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder - - (5 grams)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon milk powder - - (4 grams); optional, See Note 1
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter - - (178 grams); softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large orange - - zested and segmented (without peel)
Glaze and Decoration
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange juice
- 4 thin slices of orange - - cut into ⅛ inch thick for placing on top
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Add the softened butter and sugar to a stand mixer and cream it together using a paddle attachment on medium high speed. (Or use a hand mixer with a whisk attachment). Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved as there should be no granules. Take your time with this step.
- Add the eggs one at a time while mixing on medium low speed. Add the next egg only when the previous egg has been completely incorporated. This helps prevent any separation between the eggs and butter. Keep mixing until the color turns pale yellow and becomes fluffy.
- Sift the flour, milk powder, and baking powder together. Add them into the batter and fold it in until it's combined.
- Next, zest a large orange and chop up the orange segments into pieces. Gently fold the zest and orange pieces into the batter.
- Pour the batter into a loaf pan, and using a spatula create a well in the center. This will help the pound cake rise fully. (Optional: top with 3 to 4 thin slices of orange, about ⅛ inch thick. See Note 2.) If using a non-coated pan, line your pan with parchment paper or butter the insides. Non-stick pans should be fine as the amount of butter in the batter should help it release.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for the first 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 338 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Make the glaze
- Mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice until you get a thick but runny glaze. Add more powdered sugar if it's too thin or add more orange juice if it's too thick. Once the cake has completely cooled, drizzle the glaze on top using a whisk or fork.
✎ Recipe Notes
- Milk powder - this adds a creamier taste and texture while helping the cake brown due to the added sugars in the milk powder. You can leave this out if it's not available to you but if you can find it, I recommend it.
- Optional orange slices: If you choose to decorate the pound cake with orange slices, slice them very thin as the peel can get tough while it bakes. Otherwise, you can remove the peel first.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.