Vegan Orange Cake with Olive Oil

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This Vegan Orange Cake with Olive Oil is tender, buttery, and packed with orange flavor! It’s the perfect snacking cake for citrus season.

If you’re craving something sweet but not in the mood for chocolate, try this Vegan Orange Cake! This cake has a tender crumb and is bursting with bright and zippy orange flavor. Dress it down and serve it as the perfect snacking cake, or dress it up for birthdays or other celebrations!

Slices of orange cake on small white plates on marble countertop

INGREDIENTS FOR ORANGE CAKE

This cake recipe is fairly simple, and comes together with easy-to-find ingredients as well! Citrus season is at its peak from December until March, but luckily can be found in the grocery store year-round, so you can make it whenever. Both freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest give this cake its lovely orange flavor. I like to add a little almond extract to help enhance this, but it’s technically optional 🙂

Ingredients for orange olive oil cake in small bowls on marble background

Most recipes call for cake flour, but I’m going to be honest – I’m not a big baker, and that’s not something I always have on hand! Luckily the addition of corn starch helps keeps things light and fluffy, so we can just use all-purpose flour instead. I haven’t tested this recipe using a gluten-free flour, but I imagine an all-purpose blend would work as well!

I love to use olive oil when I bake with oranges because it has a subtle floral flavor, but you could also use melted vegan butter or a more neutral tasting oil, too.

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN ORANGE CAKE

side-by-side photos of cake batter in bowl next to cooked cake

This cake has a similar in texture to a sponge cake, but is slightly more dense – kind of like a cross with a pound cake in the best way. Most cakes are made with eggs, but this cake stays moist and fluffy thanks to both cornstarch and applesauce. The baking soda in the recipe also reacts with the acidity in the orange juice to give this cake an extra rise in the oven!

  1. Preheat the oven and grease your springform pan
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Combine the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, then whisk into the dry
  4. Pour into the cake tin, then bake until golden and light!

If you’re enjoying this cake as a snacking cake, you can either enjoy it plain, or top it with some powdered sugar like I did! Some freshly sliced oranges or candied orange peels would be a nice garnish as well. Of course, you can also dress this cake up with some frosting too for a more special occasion!

slice of cake being placed on small white plate

COOKING TIPS + FAQ:

  • What’s the best pan to use? I recommend using a springform pan for this recipe as the cake will come out the most easily. You could also use a standard cake tin, just make sure to grease it really well! I imagine this recipe would work in a loaf pan as well, but you would need to increase the cooking time.
  • How should I store this cake? I like to store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If you’re making this cake more than 2 days in advance, I suggest wrapping it in plastic wrap and freezing it, then thawing it when you are ready to enjoy! Cakes tend to dry out in the fridge, so I wouldn’t recommend that.
  • Let your ingredients come to room temperature: If you have time, I recommend letting your vegan milk, orange juice, and applesauce come to room temp before baking for a fluffier cake 🙂

sliced orange cake topped with orange slices and powdered sugar on marble background

If you’re looking for more vegan cakes, you’ll also love this Wholesome Vegan Apple Cake, this Chocolate Cherry Cake, and this Vegan Carrot Cake. Or for more citrus-infused recipes, try out these Chocolate Orange Waffles, these Cranberry Orange Crumble Bars!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

Print

Vegan Orange Cake with Olive Oil

Vegan Orange Cake topped with powdered sugar and orange slices with slice cut out of it

This Vegan Orange Cake with Olive Oil is tender, buttery, and packed with orange flavor! It’s the perfect vegan snacking cake to enjoy during citrus season.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (194 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (102 g) cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice, strained*
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (about 1 orange)

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 8 or 9” springform pan and set aside.
  2. Dry Ingredients: Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Wet Ingredients: In a smaller bowl, whisk the non-dairy milk, oil, orange juice, sugar, applesauce, vanilla, almond, and orange zest together, until the oil is emulsified. 
  4. Combine: Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while whisking the two together. Mix well until no dry patches of flour remain, but be careful not to overmix; some small lumps are ok. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. 
  5. Bake: Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 32 minutes for a 9” pan, longer for a smaller pan. The cake is done when the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
  6. Cool & Serve: Place the cake pan on a cooling rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan. Remove the cake and transfer to a serving platter, then dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve. Store any leftovers at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Notes

  • Orange Juice: I recommend straining any extra pulp out of the orange juice as it weighs the cake down a bit too much. I juiced about 1 1/2 navel oranges to get 1/4 cup of fresh juice, but you could buy unpasteurized juice from the store as well.
  • Gluten-Free: I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour, but imagine it would work with an all-purpose blend.
  • Olive Oil: I like the subtle floral flavor the olive oil adds to this cake, but you could also use melted vegan butter or another neutral oil instead.

Keywords: vegan orange cake, vegan orange olive oil cake

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. 100/5 stars for this one!! And I am happy to report that gluten free all purpose flour (specifically King Arthur brand measure for measure gf flour) works perfectly. If someone served this to me I would thing they were lying about it being v/gf. We are supposed to be saving it for dessert tonight but it’s already half way gone!! So amazing!

  2. I’ve never had good luck baking vegan cakes, but this turned out perfectly! I baked it in a loaf pan, and it came out super fluffy and soft. The subtle orange color and flavor makes it extra fun 🙂

  3. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Could you clarify though if the sugar from the ingredients has to be powdered or should I add it to the dry preparation at some step?

    1. Hi Angie! The cane sugar in the ingredients is part of the preparation. The powdered sugar is used for dusting before serving.

    2. Subbed the orange with lemon and vegan yogurt instead of apple sauce (was using up what we had at home) and it still turned out absolutely delicious! Super moist and fluffy and the perfect amount of sweet. Thank you for the lovely recipe 🙂 can’t wait to try it w/ orange next time!

      1. We love that it turned out delicious, Mariam! Definitely try it with orange, too!

  4. This cake was delicious! I topped it with sliced almonds before baking and it turned out amazing, my non-vegan family loved it and I will definitely make it again in the future since it was such a crowd-pleaser.

  5. So quick and easy! Really love the orange flavor from the zest. Would definitely make again.

  6. Hi there! I was thinking of a orange cake, and now that I saw your recipe, I have to make it.
    Thank you very much!

  7. I’m almost certain I forgot the baking soda because the doorbell rang but the flavor was still really good. Woops!

  8. This is delicious! I thought it was great on its own but I added a simple icing (powdered sugar/milk/orange zest) for my kids and everyone loved it. I will definitely be baking this again!

      1. This is so incredibly easy and delicious. I can’t wait to experiment with other flavors (grapefruit cardamom…?). This will definitely be my new go to cake for everything. My kids devoured it. I can confirm that dairy free yogurt worked as an excellent sub for applesauce. It cooked up perfectly. Perfect crumb. Perfect level of sweet. Really perfect in every way. I used an 8” pan and cooked it for ~ 10 minutes longer.