If you love oranges, you'll love this super zesty, moist and delicious orange drizzle cake. It's easy to make and very, very tasty.
You can make the sponge in a single bowl using ingredients you've probably already got in your kitchen: self-raising flour, eggs, butter, sugar and oranges!
Making the drizzle couldn't be simpler either - it's just orange juice heated with sugar to create a super cirtusy syrup!
Here's how to make it.
- 170 g (6 oz) caster sugar
- 170 g (6 oz) butter or margarine
- 2 medium eggs beaten
- 170 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
- 2 unwaxed oranges
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan, 350F).
Beat the sugar and butter (or margarine) in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
Add the beaten eggs.
Beat until smooth
Sieve the flour into the bowl
Gently fold through.
Add the zest of 1 orange and the juice of 1/2 an orange.
Gently fold through until evenly distributed through the batter.
Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin and line with baking paper. Spoon the batter into the tin and level off.
Bake at for 20-25 minutes until the cake has gently risen and turned golden brown. It should feel firm at the centre and you can check it is cooked through by pushing a skewer into the centre of the cake. It should come out clean.
Use a skewer or cocktail stick to poke holes all over the hot cake, almost to the bottom.
Put the juice of 1 orange in a microwave-safe bowl with the icing sugar, mix well and microwave for 60 seconds until you have a syrup. Note: it will be VERY hot, so handle with care.
Spoon or pour the hot syrup all over the hot cake and allow it to sink in. Leave to cool completely.
Serve in slices and let everyone dig in!
This cake is an absolute hit among family and friends every time I make it. It's light, fresh and there's no mistaking those orange flavours. enjoy!
More tips for the perfect orange drizzle cake
Is orange drizzle cake easy to make?
This is a really simple recipe to make. Aside from orange zest and juice, you'll just need sugar, butter, eggs and flour.
You can make the orange drizzle sponge in a single bowl in minutes, and the syrup is simply sugar and orange juice heated together in a saucepan or in the microwave.
Will I need any special equipment for this recipe?
You won't need any special equipment for this recipe. You'll just need:
- Mixing bowl
- Weighing scales
- Measuring spoons
- Wooden spoon
- Citrus juicer and zester (or just a fork and grater)
- Loose-bottomed 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tin
- Wire cooling rack
- Small mixing bowl
Where can I buy a good citrus juicer/zester?
I really like an all in one tool, which both zests and juices but you don't strictly need one.
You could just use the fine side of a grater to get the zest and then twist a fork in your orange halves to release the juice.
How can I tell if my oranges have gone off?
Your senses are your best tool when judging whether your oranges have gone bad.
Your orange should have a bright, firm, slightly shiny orange skin.
If the skin looks shrivelled, hardened or dry, then the orange may be past its best, but the juice inside could still be good.
If you can see any powdery substance or mould on the outside of your orange, then it should be discarded immediately.
Your orange should feel firm and a little bouncy when squeezed. If it very hard, or collapses, it’s no good.
Cut your orange open. It should look fresh and juicy inside. Any dryness or unusual colour is a sign it's gone bad.
Does it smell like a good fresh orange or is something not quite right?
If there is anything unusual about the smell, throw it away. If it smells good, you’re probably in the clear.
As a final test, taste some of the juice.
How long do oranges keep?
Uncut oranges brought home from the supermarket should last about a week if left on the counter or in the fruit bowl. However, they can last up to a month in the refrigerator, so I would always recommend storing them in your crisper drawer.
Once you have cut your orange open, it will go bad much more quickly. If you have any cut orange leftover, you should wrap it well and put it straight into the fridge where it should keep for a day or two.
Don’t use an orange that you’ve left out on the counter for over a couple of hours after cutting.
Is orange drizzle cake suitable for vegetarians?
Yes, this orange drizzle cake is suitable for vegetarians.
Is orange drizzle cake suitable for vegans?
This recipe isn't suitable for vegans as it contains eggs and dairy.
However, you can replace the butter with vegan margarine and also use an egg replacement such as chia seeds. See below for your options.
Can I make orange drizzle cake without eggs?
I haven't tested this cake without eggs before, but the following is a list of egg alternatives that should work well with these cupcakes. Each one is equal to 1 egg so you should multiply by three for this particular recipe.
- Store-bought egg replacement powder (use as directed on the packet).
- 1 tablespoon of crushed chia or flax seeds mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and left for 10 minutes in the fridge.
- 3 tablespoons of aquafaba.
- 3 tablespoons of applesauce.
- Half of a medium-sized banana, very well mashed. It’s best to use fairly ripe bananas for this as they will mash more easily and bind your ingredients together more effectively.
Note: I have not tested all of these replacements with this particular recipe, so let me know how you get on.
Is orange drizzle cake gluten-free?
This cake is not gluten free as it is made with wheat flour.
I haven't tested making a gluten-free version of this orange drizzle cake but generally, when swapping wheat self-raising flour for a free-from version, I recommend looking for a good quality gluten-free self-raising variety.
It will probably be made from a combination of different flours and contain xanthan gum, which helps hugely with texture.
None of the other ingredients in this recipe naturally contain gluten, but I recommend checking the packaging of every ingredient carefully as gluten can appear as a potential contaminant in the most surprising of products.
Is orange drizzle cake keto-friendly?
This recipe is not keto friendly as it contains both flour and sugar.
Is orange drizzle cake healthy?
Like most cakes, this one contains a considerable amount of fat and sugar. As such, it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Is this orange drizzle cake safe to eat while pregnant?
There is nothing in this orange drizzle cake that should present a risk to pregnant women if the ingredients are in good condition and have been stored correctly, and the recipe is cooked hygienically and safely.
Egg safety varies from country to country and you should always seek country-specific advice. The NHS has a great resource that will help review the latest advice regarding foods that are safe to eat while pregnant in the UK.
However, this website does not offer not medical advice and you should always check with your health professional.
What goes well with orange drizzle cake?
This orange drizzle cake is is lovely on its own or enjoyed with a cup of tea.
You could also serve it with a vanilla ice cream, a dollop of creme fraiche or a drizzle of single cream.
I haven’t got oranges can I use another citrus fruit?
You can absolutely use a different citrus fruit in this cake. I have a fantastic lemon drizzle cake recipe that you can follow.
Or you could try switching the oranges for limes to create a lime drizzle cake.
Can I add extra orange to this recipe?
I wouldn't recommend adding extra orange juice to this recipe, as the additional liquid and acidity could upset the balance of the batter.
However, you could add extra orange zest, if you wish. Do bear in mind that this is already a very orangey cake!
How should I store orange drizzle cake?
Allow your orange drizzle cake to cool completely. Transfer it to a sealed container and place somewhere dark and cool.
If you don't have a container, you can wrap your cake well in two layers of food wrap.
How long does orange drizzle cake keep?
Stored correctly, your orange drizzle cake should keep for at least three days. However, it will be at its best when enjoyed within 24 hours of making.
Can I leave this orange drizzle cake out on the counter?
You can leave your orange drizzle cake out on the counter, but if you can't wrap it, as a minimum you should cover it with something (e.g. a cake dome), to prevent it from going stale and to keep bugs and other nasties out.
Can I make orange drizzle cake ahead?
In theory, you could make the orange drizzle cake sponge the night before and then add the syrup the next day. However, I think it works best when the syrup is drizzled over the cake while it's still hot.
In my opinion, I think it's best to make the whole cake, including adding the syrup, all in one go. You can then store it somewhere, well wrapped and cool, until you're ready to serve.
Can I keep orange drizzle cake in the refrigerator?
I wouldn't recommend putting this cake in the refrigerator.
This is because the cold temperature can cause the starches in the cake to crystallize, resulting in a stale texture much sooner than if the cake is wrapped and stored at room temperature.
Can I freeze orange drizzle cake?
Orange drizzle cake actually freezes really well.
Make sure your cake is completely cool, then transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container.
Aim to leave as little empty space in the container as possible. This will help ensure that your cake remains frost free
To defrost, remove the cake from the freezer and allow it to defrost in its container overnight.
I like to cut my cake into slices before placing them in their container with a little space or baking paper between them. That way, I can have my cake defrost slice by slice as and when I need it.
Can I make orange drizzle cake as individual cupcakes?
Yes, you can convert this recipe to make cupcakes. You should have enough batter to make eight orange drizzle cupcakes.
To make them, line a muffin tray with eight cupcake cases, mix the batter as instructed and then share the batter into them and level off.
Bake at 180C (160C fan) for 15-20 minutes. The cupcakes should be firm and golden on top. You can check that they are cooked through by pushing a skewer into the centre of the palest cake - it should come out clean.
Can I make orange drizzle cake in a different tin/tray?
You can make the orange drizzle cake in a different size tin or tray and it should still work beautifully.
Just bear in mind that if the tray is narrower, the cake will be taller and likewise if the cake tin is wider, the cake will be shorter.
This will potentially change the cooking time, so keep an eye on your cake during the last half of baking and be sure to push a skewer into the centre to make sure it's fully cooked through.
Can I make orange drizzle cake in a stand mixer such as a KitchenAid or Kenwood Mixer?
Yes, you can make your cake in a stand mixer. In fact, creaming butter and sugar in a stand mixer can aid you in achieving a lovely light sponge.
However, once you have added your flour, be careful to only briefly mix your batter in the mixer. Over-mixing can cause the gluten in the flour to stretch, which can result in a tough sponge.
How can I make sure my orange drizzle cake is perfectly cooked?
This is my preferred order when checking whether a cake is ready.
- Look. Does it look set and dry, all the way to the middle?
- Touch. Press a finger gently into the centre. Does it feel slightly springy? If it leaves an indentation then it's not ready.
- Skewer. Push a clean skewer into the centre of the cake. It should come out completely clean if your cake is ready.
Why did my orange drizzle cake turn out dry/hard/burned/overcooked?
There are several reasons why your cake might have turned out overcooked or dry.
It may be that your oven is running hotter than the dial suggests, This is actually a really common problem and I'd recommend investing in an oven thermometer so that you can accurately see how hot your oven gets.
It's also really important to follow the recipe quantities carefully. Too little orange or too much flour can result in a thick batter, which could negatively affect your final cake.
Finally, keep a close eye on any bake during the last half to quarter of the baking time, so that you can spot when your cake is ready.
Why did my orange drizzle cake turn out wet/soft/undercooked?
If your bakes regularly seem to take much longer than the recommended cooking time, it may be that your oven is running colder than its dial suggests. Invest in an oven thermometer so that you can accurately see how hot your oven gets.
Alternatively, it could be that the recipe quantities were incorrect. Be sure to follow the recipe carefully because too much liquid or too little flour can result in a thin batter, which could negatively affect your final cake.
It may also be that your cake didn't bake for long enough so make sure to set a timer.
Finally, always make sure to test your bake by looking, touching and using a skewer as described above. That way, you can always be sure that your cakes are completely cooked before removing them from the oven.
Why didn’t my orange drizzle cake rise?
This recipe has been designed to give a lovely moist, light sponge that rises evenly with a nice, flat top that can easily absorb all of the orange drizzle syrup.
If your cake seems flat and dense, there could be a few reasons for this.
Old self-raising flour
Typically, self-raising flour remains effective for months if not years, but sometimes, the raising ingredient, baking powder, can lose its potency.
If you suspect this might be the case, then it's best to save your flour for other jobs and purchase a new packet. Alternatively, you can try adding a bit of extra baking powder but this will really vary from recipe to recipe so you'll have to experiment.
Over-mixing the batter
Once you've added the flour, be sure to only gently fold it through the cake batter. Whisking or overmixing can knock out the air you added when you creamed the butter and sugar and can also make the final cake tough.
Opening the oven too soon
If you open the oven door before your cake is ready, it can cause it to stop rising or even visibly sink back down.
So why does this happen? Well, self-raising flour contains bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar which react together in the batter to create air bubbles. These air bubbles cause the cake to rise and, once fully baked, give the cake its light structure.
If you open the oven before the cake is fully cooked, the temperature will rapidly drop and the bubbles will collapse as the batter will not be firm enough to hold its structure yet.
If this happens, close your oven door as soon as possible. Your cake might recover a little but sadly it probably won't rise as well as it would have.
Banging the oven door
If you do open the oven door, even if your cake seems to only need a few more minutes, take care to close the oven door gently.
Banging the door could cause your cake to collapse.
Why didn't my orange drizzle cake taste orangey?
Different oranges contain a different amount of orange flavour and this can be hard to predict. However, the key in this recipe is the zest.
I've recommended using unwaxed oranges in this recipe, but if you can't get hold of them, be sure to wash your waxed oranges in warm water with a little bit of dish soap until you feel that the waxy layer has come away.
That way, when you grate your zest you'll get better orange flavours to add to your cake.
How can I add/change the flavours in this orange drizzle cake?
I think the flavours in this cake are perfectly balanced but I'm also a fan of experimental baking!
You could add a little nutmeg, mint or chocolate chips, all of which pair well with orange.
If you're feeling adventurous, you could try adding thyme, basil, coriander or coffee. Just bear in mind that if you add anything that's not in the original recipe, it could affect not only the flavour, but also the texture and rise.
What is the origin of orange drizzle cake?
Orange drizzle cake is my personal riff on the more traditional lemon drizzle cake, which has been popular in Britain for hundreds of years.
Interestingly, nobody seems to know who was the first person to drizzle a sweet citrus syrup over a cake but whoever they are, I would like to thank them!
Print this recipe for later
Orange drizzle cake
- 170 g (6 oz) caster sugar
- 170 g (6 oz) butter or margarine
- 2 medium eggs beaten
- 170 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
- 2 unwaxed oranges
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan, 350F).
- Beat the sugar and butter (or margarine) in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
- Add the beaten eggs.
- Beat until smooth
- Sieve the flour into the bowl
- Gently fold through.
- Add the zest of 1 orange and the juice of 1/2 an orange.
- Gently fold through until evenly distributed through the batter.
- Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin and line with baking paper. Spoon the batter into the tin and level off.
- Bake at for 20-25 minutes until the cake has gently risen and turned golden brown. It should feel firm at the centre and you can check it is cooked through by pushing a skewer into the centre of the cake. It should come out clean.
- Use a skewer or cocktail stick to poke holes all over the hot cake, almost to the bottom.
- Put the juice of 1 orange in a microwave-safe bowl with the icing sugar, mix well and microwave for 60 seconds until you have a syrup. Note: it will be VERY hot, so handle with care.
- Spoon or pour the hot syrup all over the hot cake and allow it to sink in. Leave to cool completely.
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