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A close-up shot of a piece of cake on a plate on top of a cloth napkin

Orange Layer Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
  • Yield: 14
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Three layers of fluffy orange cake are drizzled with orange simple syrup and coupled with whipped cream cheese frosting in this tempting dessert! Fresh citrus flavor graces each and every bite of this easy Orange Layer Cake.


For the Orange Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange zest

For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups (600ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 1/2 cups (173g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • Orange gel icing color
  • Orange slices, optional

For the Orange Syrup

  • 6 tbsp fresh orange juice, about 23 oranges
  • 4 tbsp (29g) powdered sugar


Make the Cake Layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare three 8 inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment circles on the bottom.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Add the milk, orange juice, and orange zest and mix until well combined.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 2-3 minutes, then flip them out onto cooling racks and let them rest until they reach room temperature.

Make the Frosting

  1. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  2. In another mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and creamy. Add about 1/3 of the whipped cream to the cream cheese and gently fold together to combine so that you don’t deflate the whipped cream. When mostly combined, add another third of the whipped cream and gently fold together, then add the final third and gently fold together until completely combined. Set aside.

Make the Syrup & Build the Cake

  1. Combine the orange juice and powdered sugar for the syrup in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
  3. Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Drizzle the cake layer with 4 tablespoons of orange syrup, then spread about 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake layer. Add the second cake layer, another 4 tablespoons of orange syrup and another cup of frosting. Top the cake with the final layer and frost the outside of the cake.
  4. Color the remaining whipped frosting with orange gel icing color, then pipe a border around the top outer edge of the cake.
  5. Decorate the bottom of the cake with some orange slices if desired. Store well-covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Cake is best served cool, but not super cold.


  • Makes 12-14 slices.
  • To Make Ahead: Let cake layers cool completely, wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and set them aside until ready to build cake, up to 24 hours. For longer storage, wrap each plastic-wrapped cake layer in heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and bring to room temperature before using.
  • To Store Extras: Refrigerate extras in an airtight container. Cake is best if eaten within 3-4 days.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 585
  • Sugar: 42.6 g
  • Sodium: 242.4 mg
  • Fat: 34.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 62.4 g
  • Protein: 7.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 127.8 mg

Keywords: orange dessert, whipped frosting with cream cheese, simple syrup for cake