Pioneer-Style Orange Cake

By • August 23, 2009 19 Comments

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Author Notes: I'm calling this "Pioneer-Style" because I mixed it all by hand. The house we're renting isn't equipped with any sort of electric mixer. It worked out fine, but you don't have to do it that way. This recipe can be doubled to make a layer cake but I made one layer. Vacation isn't a time for architecture.Giulia Melucci

Serves 8

Orange Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch baking pan.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl until creamy. Use an electric mixer if you have one.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, then the sour cream and orange juice followed by the dry ingredients mixing until just combined.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  5. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving plate.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer if you're lucky enough to have one, if you're not, have courage, the job can still be done.
  2. Add the sugar, the orange juice, and vanilla, then the sour cream. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to spread on cake. About 10 minutes.

More Great Recipes: Breakfast|Cheese & Dairy|Fruit|Breakfast & Brunch|Cakes

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Comments (19) Questions (0)


3 months ago Elhart

This was really good. Family enjoyed it. I'd definitely make it again.


6 months ago Rachel

Great recipe! Made it with half orange ring, half lemon and it was delicious! Didn't have time to make the icing so served it warm with vanilla ice cream. This will definitely become my go-to simple cake.


7 months ago Amandadp

Loved this! The cake and icing were just perfect together. I took it to work and it went over fabulously! Will definitely make it again.


7 months ago Nikki

Waste of time. This recipe had way too much soda for no more batter than it had. I could literally taste it in the finished cake! If you're going to do this recipe anyway, it would be a good idea to reduce the soda to 1/4 tea.
Also, I didn't care for the texture of the crumb.
You can actually make a better orange cake by buying a butter recipe yellow cake mix and subbing OJ for the liquid in the batter, along with some orange zest. I always get compliments and no one knows it's not all "homemade".


over 1 year ago Lynn Wainess

This cake was fabulous! I added about 1/2 cup go poppy seeds and everyone devoured it. Thanks for such a simple and delicious cake!


over 1 year ago caroberts77

I made this last night and it turned out lovely. I think I overcooked the cake a tad though, next time I'll start checking on it at 25 minutes. At 30, it ended up being kind of dry. I messed up the icing, it didn't turn out as fluffy as the pictures above. It was actually still quite runny after sitting in the fridge for half an hour. I put it on anyway, it tasted good. I put the whole thing back in the fridge for about an hour and the frosting really started to firm up then, so maybe I just needed to leave it in there longer before icing the cake. Either, a winner in my house. I sprinkled some toasted almonds on top and snuck another piece after everyone had left. ;-) I'm going to try it with different citrus in the future, I love a good lemon cake too.


over 1 year ago Jean

Gotta try it tonight, so easy and I love orange!

over 2 years ago Jim Love

We tried this "pioneer-style" as well... with a change: we made cupcakes. Yummy recipe! Check it out: http://www.bemindfulbehuman...


over 2 years ago Barbara Loewengart

This cake is so simple to make yet has a great taste. It doesn't even need the frosting...I just dust powdered sugar over the top.


over 3 years ago Saccharine

Great simple recipe! The cake is so moist! Used a pink grapefruit and coconut lime glaze instead. All my party guests love it! And I substituted the sour cream with natural plain yoghurt. It's great for an afternoon tea cake:)


about 4 years ago Emily F

i forgot the baking soda!!! But it still turned out fantastic!! as a topping i used meringue and my family couldn't stop eating them!!!! :) thank you so much for the great recipe!!


about 4 years ago This Little Piggy (Lisa)

I made this today, thank you!!!! The frosting is truly addictive. I did substitute 1/4 cup of flour with ground almonds and added some toasted slivered almonds to the top.
I confess I used a food mixer, I held out for years without one, but I'm baking too much recently to do it all manually.
It also worked well with milk, I had no sour cream.


over 4 years ago Hark

Loved it. Used a little bit of pineapple rum in the cake (didn't have enough OJ) and homemade whipped cream instead of sour cream in the icing. My batter ended up being a little doughy, but it was still fantastic, and very easy to whip up (with an electric mixer...).


about 5 years ago dbscandy

Giulia, have you made this with lemons? I lovelovelove lemon, sweet & tart, and orangey, wonderful citrus flavors.

If you, or anyone, has done this, please let me know how it is so I don't waste my ingredients. I know the sugar would most likely have to be increased.


about 5 years ago Giulia Melucci

I'm sure it would be great with lemons. I don't even think you'd need to add more sugar. G.


about 5 years ago alessi

this sounds lucious. have you tried the nigella lawson (adapted from claudia roden) clementine cake? it's fabulous -- basically boil up clementines for about 2 and a half hours and mix with ground almonds and butter.


over 5 years ago Anna Saar

This is an amazing recipe - very simple yet it always gets noticed! I think it's the perfect desert -- I love orange flavored cakes and pastries, and there aren't too many recipes. I have wondered about adding a teaspoon of orange extract into the batter, in addition to the juice, to intensify the flavor... Thanks for a great recipe, Giulia!


about 6 years ago Kelsey Banfield

I love this recipe and the idea of mixing it all by hand!


about 6 years ago SarahS

This looks delicious Giulia. May I borrow your clever phrase? I cook "Pioneer-Style" all the time in my electric mixer-free kitchen.