If you're looking for an easy (and delicious) way to use up oranges this citrus season, this vegan orange cake is the answer.
It comes together in just a few easy steps and uses 10 pantry staple ingredients. You can even swap the oranges out for their slightly more exotic cousins to make a vegan blood-orange loaf cake!
Serve it with a cup of tea or coffee or with a generous smothering of homemade vegan orange curd.
📖 Recipe Overview
- Quick & Easy Preparation - This eggless vegan orange cake comes together in one bowl with minimal equipment. You don't need a stand mixer or electric whisk to make it, and it only requires about 15 minutes of hands-on prep.
- Soft, Fluffy Texture - Springy and light without being dense.
- Intense Orange Flavor - Thanks to using real orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice.
- Pantry-Stape Ingredients - Made with common ingredients, you don't need any bizarre or unusual vegan substitutes to make it!
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Here are all the simple ingredients you need to make this vegan orange olive oil cake from scratch:
- Olive oil. I purposely made this orange cake without butter (vegan butter of course), as olive oil makes for a fluffier crumb. The oil keeps the cake moist, tender, and fluffy once baked. You can use light olive oil, or another neutral oil such as rapeseed, or sunflower oil if you're not a fan of its flavor.
- Soy milk: Together with apple cider vinegar, these ingredients are mixed together to form a vegan "buttermilk". This will help the cake to become super fluffy and light, a staple for most vegan cakes.
- Brown sugar. I use light muscovado (not to be confused with dark muscovado) in baked goods as it is less refined than most other sugars and gives a subtle caramel flavor. You can use cane sugar, coconut sugar, or light brown sugar in its place.
- Vanilla. You can either scrape out a vanilla bean or use vanilla bean paste. This adds another layer of flavor to the orange loaf.
- Organic confectioners sugar/Icing sugar. This forms the base of the standard icing which is flavored with freshly squeezed orange juice. You can use blood oranges to give the glaze a wonderful peachy-pink hue.
- Oranges. If you decide to use blood oranges, your vegan orange loaf will have a deeper orange color. (Reference image below shows a regular orange loaf on the left and a blood orange cake on the right).
🥣 How To Make Vegan Orange Cake
This vegan orange cake recipe is quite simple to prepare. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Rub together the zest and sugar. This is a tip I picked up from The Loopy Whisk. Essentially, this allows as much of the natural oils from the oranges as possible to be released and flavor the sugar.
If you're using a vanilla pod, rub it into the sugar here also!
Step 2: Whisk in the oil. Next, whisk the olive oil into the sugar mixture.
Step 3: Whisk in the wet ingredients. Mix in the buttermilk and orange juice, that's all your wet ingredients prepared.
Step 4: Add the dry ingredients. Whisk in the plain flour, baking powder, and sea salt until "just combined". Don't be tempted to over-mix the batter!
Step 5: Bake. Pour the cake batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 45-55 minutes. To check the cake is done, insert a toothpick. It should come out almost clean with a few crumbs but without any raw batter.
Step 6: Make the glaze. Now you can relax for most of the time while your loaf cake is in the oven, you only need a couple of minutes to get the glaze ready.
Simply whisk together the powdered sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice until smooth and set aside, that's it!
Step 7: Glaze the cake. Cool the cake, then drizzle the orange glaze on top. You can use as little or as much as you like!
Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Yes, you can freeze this cake in an airtight container and defrost it a couple of hours before serving.
If you want to frost this cake instead of glazing it you can also use vegan cream cheese frosting for some orange creamsicle flavor vibes!
🍰 More Vegan Loaf Cakes
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- 180 ml (¾ cup) soy milk, or plant-based milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) apple cider vinegar
- 200 g (0.9 cup) light muscovado sugar, or cane sugar or coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons (3 tablespoons) orange zest
- 1 (1 teaspoons) vanilla pod, or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 118 ml (½ cup) olive oil, or neutral oil such as rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 60 ml (¼ cup) orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 300 g (2.4 cups) plain flour, sifted
- 2 ½ teaspoons (2 ½ teaspoons) baking powder, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) sea salt
Orange glaze *see notes
- 90 g (¾ cup) organic confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
- Prepare: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Lightly grease an 8" loaf tin and place a sling of parchment paper into it to help lift out the cake once baked.
- To make the vegan "buttermilk" add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a small bowl, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar and orange zest to a large mixing bowl. If you're using a vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them to the bowl as well. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar.Add the olive oil and whisk to combine. Then add the vegan buttermilk mixture and the freshly squeezed orange juice, and whisk again.
- Add the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined and there aren't any visible pockets of flour - be careful not to overmix the batter.
- Bake: Transfer the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 mins. Check the cake is ready by inserting a knife or toothpick into it, which should come out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.
- Make the glaze: Meanwhile, add the confectioner's sugar and orange juice to a bowl and whisk until smooth.Once the cake has cooled, place a sheet of parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch any icing. Pour the glaze on top of the cake, you can add more or less depending on your taste.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.you can also freeze this cake in an airtight container and defrost it a couple of hours before serving.
- Use unwaxed oranges, organic if possible. Waxed fruits are generally not vegan due to their coating. It's also a good idea to go for organic if you can as you'll be using the orange peel.
- With any baking, accuracy is key, and measuring in grams will always be more accurate.
- Light muscovado sugar can sometimes "clump" together. Get your hands into the dry ingredients and work out any lumps of sugar as these can create spots when baking.
- Use a parchment paper sling: A parchment sling covers the bottom and sides of the loaf tin, making it so much easier to lift out your vegan loaf cake once baked.
- If you want to frost this cake instead of glazing it you can also use vegan cream cheese frosting.
- You can double the glaze recipe if you want a thick glaze, just add it in layers so that it sticks to the cake.
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*This recipe was originally published in March 2021. The recipe has since been improved and updated to simplify the instructions.