This orange pound cake is one of my favourite cakes to bake as not only is it delicious, but it is so easy to make. It’s the kind of cake that is perfect for afternoon or morning tea. Preferably with a large cup of tea.
Pound cake has been around a while, dating back to the 1700s, getting its name from the ratio of ingredients. A pound each of flour, sugar, eggs and butter is all you will find in a traditional pound cake recipe. It is a rich, dense cake usually limited to these ingredients only, but the fun has really come when people begin to add their own flavour combinations to the batter.
This recipe is a modern variation. Some would argue that it isn’t a pound cake at all being that it varies from the traditional ratio. It uses baking powder to achieve a slightly lighter cake, as well as to compensate for the reduced quantity of eggs. A pound of eggs is quite a lot, about 8 eggs, so instead this recipe is using only 2 eggs and we add some milk to ensure the batter has enough liquid.
It still has the district texture of a pound cake rather than say a simple yellow cake, so we are keeping the name.
For flavour, we add in vanilla (yes!) and both orange juice and orange zest to give it the most delicious and refreshing taste. I’ve talked about it before with my lemon cupcakes, but citrus in a cake is just beautiful and probably my favourite (sorry chocolate).
Then of course we finish it off with a sweet, orange glaze that just lifts the flavour of the cake and really finishes it off.
I’ve made this cake so many times before. It works every time without fail. It may not be the prettiest cake, what with that glaze dripping everywhere and spilling over the sides, but let me tell you once you cut yourself a slice, looks will not matter.
Pound cake is usually cooked in either a loaf pan or a bundt pan. Here due to the volume of batter, we are using a loaf pan which gives you perfect slices of cake.
As mentioned, the true characteristics of a pound cake comes with its texture. It is quite unlike any other simple, plain cake being that it is quite dense but rich with buttery flavour. Of course my recipe skips ‘real’ butter but should you not be dairy-free a 1-1 swap for actual butter in this recipe will work perfectly.
Also, I like to make this cake pretty much in one bowl, so that is how I have written the recipe. I hate unnecessary washing up, so I do my best to limit it wherever possible. Simple, tasty baking so big flavour, minimal effort, is where it is at in my house.
Oranges are in season in Australia over the winter months, but they are one of those fruits that seem to always be available in the supermarket. Supermarkets tend to ruin any understanding of seasonal produce as demand has them importing fruit and vegetables from around the world so we can grab whatever we want when we want. It is super convenient, but also a little annoying.
Either way, this cake is perfect for any time of year. Fresh enough for spring and summer, and dense and rich for the cooler winter and autumn months. It also reminds me of the kind of cake you would get at your grandmother’s house, and there is something really comforting about that.
Have you made pound cake before? What do you think about changing traditional recipes – can we still call this a pound cake?
Orange Pound Cake
For the orange pound cake:
- 1 1/2 cups (125gms) dairy-free spread*
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs , room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- zest from 2 oranges
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt
- ½ cup dairy-free milk**
For the orange glaze:
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 cup icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease a loaf pan with butter and flour.
- Juice an orange so that you have about 1/4 cup of fresh juice and set aside. This is for both the cake and the glaze.
- In a large bowl, add dairy-free spread* and sugar and cream together using a handheld electric beater. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until light and creamy. Add 2 tablespoons of orange juice and the orange zest and mix until just combined in the batter.
- Sift directly into the bowl, plain flour, baking powder and salt and slowly start to beat it in to the batter. Add in milk bit by bit as you are combining the dry ingredients until all milk is used and batter is light and creamy.
- Pour into your prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden and springs back when lightly touched. It is perfectly normal for the top to have a beautiful crack down the middle when the cake is done. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 10-15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you are having trouble removing it from the pan, lightly run a butter knife around the edges to loosen it.
- To make the orange glaze. Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of orange juice and whisk to combine ensuring there are no lumps of sugar. Once cake is completely cool, place a piece of baking paper under the wire rack to catch the excess glaze and drizzle it over the top of the cake until the top is fully covered. Top with a sprinkle of more orange zest if desired. Let icing set and then slice and enjoy! Cake is best enjoyed at room temperature but can be stored in the fridge for a 3-4 days in an airtight container.