This super easy Orange Loaf Cake has a deliciously moist and fluffy crumb with a fresh, citrusy taste. It is topped with a simple orange icing glaze for an extra burst of orange flavours. Perfect for afternoon tea or breakfast!
Why we love this recipe
This orange loaf cake is so quick and easy to make and a great option for afternoon tea or breakfast. The bright, fresh orange flavours really bring this classic quick bread to the next level!
This recipe is great because:
- It is super easy to make in one bowl only; no mixer required!
- This orange loaf recipe is packed with delicious orange flavours, both inside the cake with orange zest and orange juice and in the orange icing topped with more orange zest.
- The loaf cake has an incredibly soft, light and fluffy crumb that is deliciously moist. The combination of oil and greek yogurt makes it stay fresh for days!
What is orange cake made of:
Scroll down to recipe card below for all quantities
For the orange quick bread:
- Eggs: large eggs, at room temperature. Make sure the eggs are not cold.
- Orange: we are using both the orange zest and the orange juice. It is best to use fresh orange juice, though store-bought is fine as long as it contains 100% juice (with no added sugar). The zest is what will bring the most orange flavor so make sure to use a lot of it!
- Oil: neutral flavoured oil such as canola oil. You could use melted butter instead if preferred, but the cake will dry out more quickly with butter than with oil.
- Yogurt: Greek Yogurt or Natural Yogurt (unsweetened) - this ingredient is the secret to get a super soft and moist crumb! You could use sour cream instead but I personally prefer the lightness of yogurt.
- Self-Rising Flour: see FAQs section below if you prefer to use plain / all-purpose flour.
For the orange glaze:
- Icing Sugar: or powder sugar, well sifted to avoid lumps. This glaze uses a relatively low amount of sugar for an icing, so it is more on the thin side. For a sweeter, thicker icing, you can increase the quantity of icing sugar.
- Orange: both the juice (to make the icing) and the zest to sprinkle over the loaf to finish it.
Optional Addition / Substitution
- Candied Oranges: for extra texture and orange flavour, add some finely chopped candied orange peels inside the batter. You could also finish the orange loaf with some candied orange slices too.
- Lemon: balance the sweeter flavours of orange by replacing part of the juice and zest of lemon.
How to make Orange Bread
The recipe instructions are super easy to follow; no mixer required here!
- Prepare a 25 cm (10-inch) Loaf Pan by lightly greasing it then lining it with baking paper (parchment paper). Alternatively, skip the baking paper and dust the greased loaf tin with flour. Tip the pan over and tap against a hard surface to remove any excess flour.
I use an neutral oil spray to grease the pan but you could simply rub it with oil and a paper towel.
- Preheat your oven on 180 degree Celsius / 350 degree Fahrenheit.
- Zest the oranges then slice them in half and collect the juice. Set aside.
- Photo 1: Place the Eggs and Sugar in a large bowl and whisk for a couple of minutes to get a bubbly mixture.
For a lighter texture, you can whisk the eggs and sugar for longer until it starts to thicken and gets a lighter colour - about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Photo 2: Add the rest of the wet ingredients (orange juice, orange zest, oil and greek yogurt).
- Photo 3: Lightly whisk until smooth.
- Photo 4: Add the sifted self-rising flour (or dry ingredients mix if using all-purpose flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt).
- Photo 5: Whisk until just incorporated. Make sure to not over-mix or your risk getting a denser cake.
- Photo 6: Pour the orange batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Photo 7: Gently spread the batter around to get an even layer.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake has risen and the top looks golden. Place on a wire rack to cool down completely before removing from the pan.
Optionally, take the cake out of the oven after 5 or 10 minute and slash the centre with a sharp knife to get a clean crack.
To know the cake is baked, insert a skewer or toothpick in the middle then slowly take it out. You should see a few very small crumbs on the skewer. If you see raw batter on the skewer, bake for a little bit longer.
- Photo 8: make the orange icing by whisking together the sifted icing / powdered sugar and orange juice until you get a smooth liquid. Slowly pour or drizzle it over the cool cake, letting the icing fall back on the sides.
- Finish the cake with more orange zest.
You can make your own self rising flour mixture by using the same quantity of plain / all-purpose flour, with the addition to 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt.
Yes, the only dairy ingredient of the recipe is the greek yogurt. You can replace it with a plant-based natural yogurt. Simply make sure to use a full fat yogurt and not a light / fat-reduced one.
Because we are using a lot of zest, try to choose organic and/or unwaxed oranges. The best oranges to juice for baking are Navel Oranges, Cara Cara or Valencia Oranges.
I made a simple orange icing but for a more decadent dessert, you could also top the loaf with a homemade orange curd, an orange syrup (orange juice reduced in a small saucepan with sugar until thick), some whipped cream or even a chocolate frosting like this whipped ganache.
Tips for succes
- How to pick the best oranges: the orange should feel heavy when you pick it up, indicating it contains a lot of juice. It should be slightly firm, smell fragrant and fresh.
- The best way to zest a citrus is to use a microplane zester (or similar brand). This type of utensil produces some very thin zest that will distribute well within the cake batter without being felt when you bite into it.
- To get a clean crack in the centre of your orange loaf, either pipe a thin line of soft butter on top of the loaf before placing it in the oven, or slash the cake with a sharp knife 5 minutes after the start of the baking.
- Make sure the cake is completely cool before adding the icing. If too warm, the icing will drip straight around it. The icing used here is rather thin because we are not using a lot of icing sugar; if you want a thicker consistency, simply increase the quantity of sugar.
Storing & Freezing
This orange loaf cake can be kept at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap or aluminium foil or inside an airtight container. It is best eaten within 2 days. It will last for longer in the fridge but it will make the crumb drier.
The cake can be frozen for later - either whole or already sliced - but without the orange icing. Simply leave at room temperature for a few hours to thaw and top with the icing once fully defrosted.
Made this recipe?
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Orange Loaf Cake
- 2 teaspoon Orange Zest - about 2 oranges
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) Orange Juice
- 100 gr (1/2 cup) Caster Sugar
- 3 large Eggs - at room temperature
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) Canola Oil - or neutral cooking oil
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) Greek Yogurt
- 250 gr (1 2/3 cup) Self-Rising Flour
- 100 gr (1 cup) Icing Sugar
- 15 ml (1 tablesoon) Orange Juice
- Orange Zest to garnish - to taste
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
- Grease a 25 cm (10-inch) Loaf Pan with a little bit of oil and line it with baking paper / parchment paper. Preheat your oven on 180 degree Celsius / 350 degree Fahrenheit.
- Zest the oranges then slice them in half and collect the juice. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Eggs and Sugar for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly (see note 1).
- Whisk in the Orange Juice & Zest, Oil and Greek Yogurt. Add the sifted Self-Rising Flour (see note 2) and mix until just combined. Avoid over-mixing the batter.
- Pour the orange batter into the prepared loaf pan and gently spread it into an even layer.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake has risen, the top looks golden and a skewer / toothpick comes out clean (see note 3). Place on a wire rack to cool down completely before removing from the pan.
- Sift the icing sugar in a mixing bowl and pour in the orange juice. Slowly whisk until you get a smooth liquid (see note 4). Pour or drizzle the icing over the cool cake, letting it fall around the sides.
- Top with more orange zest to finish.
Tried this recipe? Make sure to leave a comment and star rating below!
- For a lighter crumb texture, you can whisk the eggs and sugar for longer until it starts to thicken and gets a lighter colour - about 4 to 5 minutes.
- If using plain / AP flour, use the same quantity than self-rising flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt.
- Optionally, take the cake out of the oven after about 5 minutes and slash the centre with a sharp knife to get a clean crack when the cake rises.
- The icing used here is rather thin because we are not using a lot of icing sugar; if you want a thicker consistency, simply increase the quantity of sugar.