An orange pound cake is one of the easiest cakes that you can bake and is absolutely delicious. Try my simple, one-bowl recipe with only 7 ingredients for a citrussy, buttery afternoon treat. Can be baked ahead and keeps well for days!

Orange Pound Cake loaves on a white table.
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🍰 What is a Pound Cake?

A pound cake is a dense, buttery loaf cake that usually has a pound each of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. It is believed to have been created as early as the 1700s and is a popular plain cake around the world. It is simple, unadorned and often served for afternoon tea with just a dusting of icing sugar or a sweet glaze. It is very similar to a Madeira Cake with only slight differences.

🍊 Why make this Orange Pound Cake?

  • Only 7 ingredients
  • Easy, one-bowl, fuss-free recipe. So easy, even the kids can make it!
  • Tested multiple times to create that beautiful crack on top.
  • Can be baked ahead, keeps fresh for days and can also be frozen.
  • Great for lunchboxes or warmed up and served with ice cream for dessert.

📝 Ingredients

Ingredients for orange pound cake measured in bowls and labeled - flour, sugar, eggs, butter, oranges, vanilla and baking powder.
  1. Flour - Plain flour is the best no-frill and easily available option for this cake. Renowned food critic, the late James Villas wrote in an issue of Saveur magazine that pound cakes should not be made with cake flour as it wasn't a strong enough flour to support the heavy cake batter. And I agree. I have tried baking this cake with self-raising flour and cake flour (when I can find it) and although the cake cooks well, it doesn't rise, has a flat top and the crumb is soft and airy.
  2. Eggs - Use organic, fresh eggs wherever possible. Make sure they are approximately 60-65g in weight (whole) and are at room temperature.
  3. Sugar - I use raw caster sugar. This is a fine granulated sugar with a golden colour. It is not completely refined and adds a lovely warm tone to the cake. You make use white caster sugar if you like.
  4. Butter - I use salted butter for my recipe. You may use unsalted butter but if you do, remember to add a pinch of salt to the batter. I make sure the butter is softened at room temperature or melted slightly in the microwave and cooled before beating into the batter.
  5. Orange - I use the zest of 2 oranges and freshly squeezed orange juice. If your oranges are small, use the zest of 3 oranges for a robust citrus flavour.

🥣 How to make Orange Pound Cake?

Add butter, sugar and vanilla to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for a minute until pale and creamy.
  1. Add butter, sugar and vanilla to the bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Beat for a minute until pale and creamy.
Add eggs. Beat briefly for 30 seconds until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs.

4. Beat briefly for 30 seconds until light and fluffy.

Add flour, orange zest and juice and baking powder. Using a silicone spoon, mix gently by hand until just combined.

5. Add flour, orange zest and juice and baking powder. Using a silicone spoon, mix gently by hand until just combined.

6. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake as per the recipe.

Orange Pound Cake freshly baked with a crack on top.

👩🏻‍🍳 Best Pound Cake Tips

To get the best pound cake with a soft, moist, golden crumb and that gorgeous crack on top, follow these simple steps

  1. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature - especially the eggs and butter. Butter can be removed from the fridge and softened on the kitchen counter for a few hours. Alternatively, I warm up the butter in the microwave at full power for about 30-40 seconds; so that half is melted and the other half is softened. I use this to whisk up in the electric mixer.
  2. It is very important to not overbeat this cake. Overbeating will cause the cake to sink or stay flat on top. It will not produce that beautiful hump and crack. You want to make sure that you incorporate air in the batter but not too much. To make sure your cake doesn't sink,
    • When you beat the butter, sugar and vanilla; do so no longer than for one minute.
    • After adding the eggs, make sure you don't beat more than 30 seconds.
    • And finally, the flour and orange zest and juice should be gently mixed by hand until just combined.
  3. The cake batter should be thick, fluffy and spoonable. It shouldn't be runny.
  4. Bake the cake for an hour. Resist the urge to open the door to check as this will most likely result in the cake collapsing.
Orange Pound Cake loaves, cooled and sliced.

📦 Storage

Cake stays fresh in a cool corner of your kitchen for up to 2 days (summer) and 4-5 days (winter). In the fridge, it keeps well for almost 2 weeks.

To freeze, slice the orange pound cake once cooled and wrap each individual slice in baking paper. Pack away the paper-wrapped slices in a freezer-safe bag or container. Will keep in the freezer for a month. To reheat, gently warm up in the microwave or pop in the toaster while still frozen.

Loaves of orange pound cake resting on a chopping board on a table with an orange and bread knife to the side.

❓Recipe FAQ

Why did my orange pound cake sink?

Overbeating the cake incorporates too much air in the batter which collapses quickly after rising. Make sure you only beat for the amount of time given in the recipe. Adding too much leavening (baking powder) will also cause your cake to sink or have a flat top.

Why is my orange pound cake raw on top?

Even after your cake rises beautifully, it still needs to finish cooking. The batter in the crack on top will be the last to bake. Make sure you are following the right temperatures for different ovens as given in the recipe and that you don't open the oven door in the middle of baking. Always bake for the maximum given time in the recipe to allow the whole cake to bake.

🧡 More Cake Recipes To Bake

Recipe

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Orange Pound Cake loaves on a white table.

Orange Pound Cake

5 from 6 votes
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Author: Sneh
Course // Baking, Cake, Fruit
Cuisine // American, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Calories: 433kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (220 g) butter, softened at room temperature or melted and cooled (2 sticks of butter)
  • 1 cup (220 g) caster sugar , raw or white
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups (220 g) plain flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 oranges, zested
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) orange juice
  • Extra sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°F (160°C fan-forced/ 320°F fan-forced).
  • Grease a 22 cm x 11 cm x 7 cm high / 450g capacity loaf pan (8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" high / 1lb capacity) with butter and line it with baking paper so that it hangs over the edges.
  • Add softened butter, caster sugar and vanilla to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for a minute until pale and creamy.
  • Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add sifted flour, baking powder, orange zest and juice to the egg mixture. Using a silicone spoon, gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and all the dry flour is incorporated.
  • Spoon cake batter into the prepared tin. Sprinkle raw sugar on top (optional). Bake in the preheated oven (on the middle rack) for approximately 55-60 minutes until the cake is golden, risen and cooked through the middle.
  • Turn off the oven and allow the cake to rest in the warm oven for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely in the tin. Slice and enjoy.
  • Cake keeps fresh in a cool corner of the kitchen in a lidded container for 2 days (summer)/4 days (winter). It keeps well in the fridge for almost 2 weeks. It can also be sliced, wrapped in baking paper, packed in freezer safe bags and frozen for up to a month.

Notes

Flour - Use plain flour for this recipe. Plain flour is a readily available ingredient and a strong flour that will support the dense batter of this cake.
Baking powder - Make sure your baking powder is fresh. Use only half a teaspoon, don't be tempted to use more as this will cause your cake to collapse.
Sugar - I use raw caster sugar. This is almost fine but slightly granulated and golden in colour. I like using this sugar as it is not completely refined and adds a rustic, bakery feel to the loaf cake. If you would like your cake to have a smoother texture on top, use very fine caster sugar and skip sprinkling the sugar on top before baking.
Eggs - Use fresh eggs, approximately 60-65g each (whole). Make sure they are at room temperature.
Overbeating - Do not overbeat the cake. Follow the recipe timings to get that beautiful golden rise with a crack on top.
Storage - Cake keeps well at room temperature in a cool corner of your kitchen for 2 days (summer)/4 days (winter) or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Cake can also be frozen for a month after slicing, wrapping in baking paper and packing away in freezer-safe bags or containers.
Butter - I use salted butter for this recipe. If using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the batter. Either soften your butter at room temperature for a few hours or melt butter from the fridge for approximately 40 seconds in the microwave so half is melted and the rest softened (see ingredient picture).

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 806IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 2mg
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