Orange Loaf Cake


Our family has always loved a good quick bread. When we were growing up we often came downstairs to the smell of a fresh coffee cake, a streusel cake filled with bursting blueberries, pumpkin bread in the fall, or zucchini bread practically straight from our garden. They were always the perfect breakfast, and also great to snack on throughout the day.

As for pound cake, there is no better way to brighten it up and make it a little more breakfast-y than by adding fresh squeezed orange juice and zest. This not only lightens it up a little, but also is the perfect use for some in-season citrus you may have on hand.

Let's get going with this orange loaf cake!

You'll start by beating the butter until creamy, and then adding the sugar, which ensures this loaf cake will be nice and high. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after beating the butter, and then again after beating in the sugar. You want to make sure everything is combined and nice and fluffy.

orange loaf cake batter

What else goes into this loaf cake?

To keep this take on a pound cake perfectly dense, dare we say *moist*, high enough, and a bit spongey, I truly think the egg ratio is key! This recipe contains 3 eggs plus 2 egg yolks, which I found to be the ideal liquid and structure ratio. Once the eggs are added, you'll want to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated, and then briefly mix on high again. Warning here, things make look a tad wonky at this point due to the eggs, but I always remind myself to trust the process!

unbaked orange loaf cake

Where is the orange incorporated into this quick bread?

The remaining additions to this loaf cake are my favorite, because they add the orange aspect as well as round out what makes this loaf also pound cake-esque. You'll just need to grab:

  1. juice of half an orange
  2. ½ tsp vanilla
  3. 1 ¾ cups flour
  4. sprinkle of salt
  5. 1 tbsp of orange zest

In this roundup, of course the orange juice is essential for an orange loaf cake. The vanilla is your classic baking addition, as well as the flour for the pound cake. I always love adding a sprinkle of salt to round out a baked good, and you don't have to be super exact here. My absolute favorite addition here is the orange zest, which I think is 100% essential for making sure the orange flavor doesn't get lost.

Orange loaf cake

How do we bake this up?

Baking this pound cake is super easy. I used to be intimidated by baking loaf cakes, mainly because I watched a few of them brown too much on the top while the inside was still cooking through, which was obviously less than ideal, but so avoidable I later realized!

With this recipe, you'll pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan (buttered and lightly floured) then smooth the top with a spatula. Once smoothed out, you'll transfer this to the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. Fear not! You may not see much action in the first part of baking this pound cake but I promise it will eventually *puff*. The key part of this recipe is to tent it with foil after 30 minutes, and continuing baking it for 25-30 minutes until the inside is cooked through.

Sliced orange loaf cake with glaze and zest

How to un-boring-a-fy a loaf cake

While this pound cake is baking, it's time to make world's simplest glaze which truly makes this cake extra incredibly delicious. Let me just give you a mental image - the perfectly thick enough powdered sugar glaze seeping into the top layer of a zesty orange, dense, and buttery loaf cake. I don't know about you but my mouth is truly watering. You'll just need to grab:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Add these 2 ingredients to a bowl and whisk them up with a small whisk, spoon, or fork. I know the milk ratio may seem small, but it really doesn't take much to create a perfect glaze that isn't too runny.

Stacked orange zest loaf cake

How long does the cake have to cool?

Once the loaf cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven and place it (still in the pan) on a wire rack to cool. I know it's so hard, but I once made a pound cake, decided it would be fine to immediately remove it from the pan, and was heartbroken when it fell apart. So repeat after me, let it cool before removing it from the pan! It doesn't need to be completely cool, but you don't want it to be hot. After about 20 minutes, run a knife along the edges, tilt it upside down, and the cake should pop right out!

Once it's completely cooled, pour on that glaze, and immediately add some additional fresh orange zest. You can add as much as you like, but I think it looks so pretty and ensures the perfect amount of orange flavor in each bite if you use a heavy hand with that zest.

Sliced orange loaf cake on parchment paper with orange zest

This orange loaf cake is so easy, so delicious, and the perfect balance of zesty and sweet. Grab some oranges and make this quick bread to have for breakfast all week!

Orange Loaf Cake

When sweet, dense pound cake meets zesty, bright oranges, it's the perfect end to citrus season in this orange loaf cake.



Servings: 10

Orange Loaf Cake

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1⅓ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • juice of half an orange
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1 tbsp orange zest plus additional for serving


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees if using a glass or dark non-stick loaf pan. If using a lighter metal pan, preheat to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter, then dust with flour, shaking out excess.

2. Add butter to large bowl and using a handheld or stand mixer, beat until creamy. Using a spatula, scrape down sides of bowl and add sugar. Beat until combined.

3. Add eggs and egg yolks, beating between each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl again, and mix on high briefly to ensure thoroughly combined.

4. Add juice from orange, vanilla, and salt. Beat until just combined. Gradually add flour, mixing between each addition, until just combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, add orange zest, and mix once more until evenly combined.

5. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Smooth top of batter with spatula. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes, and then tent with foil and continue to bake for 25-30 additional minutes or until skewer inserted into thickest part comes out clean.

6. Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar and milk to make glaze.

7. Remove loaf pan from oven. Let cool on wire rack, then run knife along edges of pan. Gently invert onto rack to cool completely.

8. Pour glaze over pound cake, sprinkle with additional zest, and enjoy.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

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