Do you ever dream of pound cake? If you do, this orange pound cake is the cake of your dreams! This is a more refined pound cake, full of orange juice and zest, light and tender, and perfect for snacks, breakfasts, and desserts.
Hello, all! It’s time to introduce you my new FAVORITE recipe.
It’s moist. It’s tender. It’s orange-y. And it’s almost impossible to mess up so that it doesn’t taste good. What more can you ask from an orange pound cake?
Right now you might be asking yourself, how does she know that it’s hard to truly mess up? She made a cake, took pictures, and that’s it. Well, let’s say this cake was a journey. 🙂
Honestly, many of my baked goods are journeys. Maybe because I take the same approach to baking as I do to cooking and randomly changing ingredients, amounts, baking tins, and so on because I have a vision is not the generally accepted best practice for baking. It is fun though!
So anyway for this baking journey, I started with a great orange pound cake recipe from Sweet Maria’s Italian Desserts. The only thing was that in my head pound cakes are loaf cakes. They are Not Round. So there. Which means when the recipe called for a 9×3 pan, I thought in rectangles, not circles.
Yeah, taking a cake recipe for a 9-inch diameter round pan and putting in a 9×5 loaf pan meant there was a little too much batter. A titch. But it was still so good! Even as it overflowed the top.
Round two of making the cake (because it was going to be a loaf cake, damn it!), meant reducing everything by about a third. However, it didn’t rise quite as much as I wanted, since I reduced the baking powder a little too much, so I had a slightly dense, but still yummy, cake.
Round three was supposed to be the last one, but I used the original amount of butter. Wow, was that one rich! I gave that one to the Girl Scouts for my daughter’s first meeting of the year.
And that brings us to round four. Perfect amount of baking powder for a light and tender cake. In a loaf pan. (It’s a pound cake, damn it!) With the right amount of butter. Yay! Every single version was extremely good, but this one is perfect and the one to share with you.
How do you make orange pound cake?
To make orange pound cake, beat together butter and sugar, mix in egg yolks and orange zest, then add flour and orange juice, and finally fold in beaten egg whites. Bake in a 9×5 loaf pan until golden brown.
- Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add the zest and then the yolks and beat until smooth.
- Alternate between mixing in the flour and the orange juice.
- Then fold in the egg whites.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour, until golden brown and cooked through.
There are a few differences between this Italian pound cake and a basic American pound cake: beating the egg whites – which makes the cake very light, cake flour – which makes the cake very tender, and using orange juice – which makes the cake very moist.
Can you see why it’s my new favorite??
The first thing I like to do when making this cake is to line my 9×5 pan with parchment paper. It’s not strictly necessary, but it does make taking the cake out of the pan a breeze.
Then I turn on the oven and heat it to 375F and pull out my butter and eggs from the fridge to warm them up.
Next take your room temperature eggs and separate them, the yolks into a small bowl and the whites into your mixer bowl. Then beat the whites until their peaks firm and stiff, but still glossy. If you go a little too far and the whites are a tiny bit overbeaten (this can be a matter of a few seconds), don’t worry it’ll still work.
Tip: Forgot to take the eggs out? No problem! Just put them into a bowl of warm tap water and they’ll warm up in no time.
Now beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and cream them together. And then beat in the orange zest and egg yolks.
Scrape down the bowl. Alternate adding the flour and orange juice and stop when the dough looks about like that third picture below. What you don’t want to do is over mix the flour!
And you’ll have plenty time to mix it with the egg whites.
Now fold in the egg whites with your large spatula. Carefully lift and fold them into dough to keep as many of those bubbles as possible.
Once you have no more white streaks of egg in your batter, pour it into the loaf pan and put the pan in the oven.
I like using a two temperature system for making loaf cakes and other quick breads since I find it gives a good rise to start and then gently finishes the baking. That said, bake for 10 minutes at 375F and then for about 50 minutes at 325F.
Once your cake is done, rest it in the pan for about 10 minutes then lift it out and let it cool to room temp on a cooling rack. Now comes the fun part…eating cake!! 🙂
What Makes a Pound Cake Dense?
There are a couple of things which can make a pound cake more dense.
First, using not enough leavener (baking powder or baking soda) or having leavener which is old will cause your cake to be shorter and denser. Always use the amount in the recipe and make sure your leavener is less than a year old.
Second, overbeating the flour. This will develop the gluten and cause your cake to sink. When adding the flour, use a low speed and mix it just until it is almost mixed in. You can use a large spatula to give it those last few stirs.
Can I make an orange pound cake in a bundt pan?
Just because I prefer pound cakes in loaf pans, doesn’t mean you can’t use a bundt pan or a round pan. However, you will need to increase the amount of batter for the size of your pan. Your best bet is to find a recipe which already is sized to the bundt pan and make adjustments in flavor.
Though with a little math and a willingness to experiment (see the intro of the recipe where I detail my experiments), I’m sure you can figure it out on your own if you wish.
Loaf Cake Recipes
If you love loaf cakes as much as I do, you might need a few other loaf cake recipes! This may be the perfect orange pound cake, but I will admit there are other lovely cakes worth making. 🙂
Have overripe pears? Then I have a Pear Quick Bread with a streusel topping which will turn those pears into cake. Yum! (And, if you want a pear drink to go with your pear bread, I have a Pear Bourbon Smash. Double yum.)
If you try my recipe for Orange Pound Cake, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Baking, Annemarie
Using both orange zest and orange juice helps make my moist and tender orange pound cake one of the best loaf cake recipes you can bake. Rich in flavor and light in texture!
- 3 large eggs, room temperature, separated
- pinch cream of tartar, optional
- 1 3/4 cups (7 oz) cake flour
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, cool room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Heat the oven to 375F. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with butter and line it with parchment paper so that the ends of the paper hang down over sides.
Using either a hand mixer or a standing mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add a pinch of cream of tarter. Then beat until you see stiff peaks, stopping to check frequently. Set the beaten egg whites aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.
Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
Measure the orange juice and zest and set aside.
Using your mixer, beat the butter on medium (to medium-high) until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the sugar and continue beating for about 3 minutes. The mixture will be light colored and fluffy.
Add the orange zest and mix in. Then, with the mixer running, add the egg yolks one at a time, waiting a few second between each one. Continue beating for 30 seconds after they are all added.
Scrape down the mixer, then turn it on for a few seconds, then scrape it down again.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low until almost combined. Then add 1/2 of the orange juice and mix in. Continue with 1/3 of the flour, the remaining 1/2 of the orange juice, and the last 1/3 of flour. Stop with some streaks of flour remaining.
Scoop the egg whites into the mixing bowl. Using a large silicone spatula, gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325F. Continue baking for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
Let the cake rest for 10-15 minutes in the pan. Then lift it out with the parchment paper sides and move it to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.
- Inspiration: I used the Orange Cake from Sweet Maria's Italian Desserts as my inspiration for this orange loaf cake.
- Eggs: Be careful not to get any of the yolk into the whites. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl or cup and then transfer the whites to your mixing bowl.
- Stiff Peaks: In egg whites stiff peaks keep their shape even upside down but are still glossy and smooth.
- Butter: Butter is the perfect temperature for creaming at 60F. Once it reaches 68-70 it is too warm. Your butter should be cool, but pliable. If you cut your butter into tablespoon sized pieces, this will take about 10 minutes.
- Cake Flour: If you are measuring the flour using cups instead of a kitchen scale, scoop the flour into the cup and then level it off. Do not dip your cup into the flour to fill it. That will overfill the cups.
- Kitchen Scale: I highly recommend using a kitchen scale for this and many other recipes. I like the Salter Digital Scale and use it all the time.
- Zest: A Microplane makes quick work of zesting the orange.
- Mixing in the flour/juice: Using low speed, mix each addition until it is almost mixed in, then add the next. This will keep you from overmixing the flour.
- Baking the cake: I find that the cake seems done to a tester before it is time to take it out of the oven. Unless your oven runs hot, I would recommend keeping it in for the full 50 minutes at 325F. This way it will keep its nice, rounded top.
BitofBacon Pet Corner
This week I wanted a little change of scenery so I moved my computer downstairs and have been working in the dining room/photo studio. (It’s a hard working room!)
Which meant that when I forgot to lock the back screen door I knew immediately after Midnight knew. As soon as he realized, he had swiped it open and was down the stairs onto the lawn. I was sitting right there, so I was right behind him.
Here he is looking at me after I ‘rescued’ him from having fun.
Sorry, cat, but fun includes coyotes and the bit where you always forget to close the door behind you. And the other cats are even less able to take care of themselves outside than you are!