This moist but fluffy vegan orange cake tastes just like a creamsicle and is a beautiful orange hue!
When I created my bakery-style vegan white cake recipe, I long knew that I wanted to use it as a canvas for other cake flavors. (Once I’ve created enough variety I am planning to start selling these local to the Baltimore area!).
It turns out that making an orange flavored cake is extremely easy. Because oranges are both super fibrous and super watery, adding a whole orange to a sponge cake is not necessarily a great idea.
Orange extract (available in most grocery stores) does the trick, along with fresh orange zest added to the batter and a (small!) amount of orange juice added to the wet ingredients.
Of course, that’s not enough to produce the beautiful color you see in the pictured cake; I used natural orange food coloring to dye this creamsicle-inspired beauty. You could also color the batter with turmeric and saffron for something even more minimalist.
This vegan orange cake doesn’t contain any cream, but I did use clear imitation butter flavor to add a buttery note. If you don’t want to track down that ingredient, no problem – just skip it or add some vanilla extract for an equally delicious orange cake!
Longtime readers know that I don’t really f$#%! with frosting, so that’s store-bought too. I said this vegan creamsicle cake was tasty, I never said it was healthy or even very natural. It is, however, made from scratch, superbly vegan, dairy-free, and egg-free; and a people-pleasing cake! It even got 5 stars from a random auditor who was conducting business at my office and helped himself to a slice. Hah.
Vegan orange cake decoration and filling ideas
We mixed extra orange food dye into some of our plain white frosting to produce this ombre cake look. If you want to get fancier, some candied orange zest would be lovely here. Or, you could made little royal icing orange slices similar to the carrots that we used to decorate my vegan carrot cake.
Orange marmalade sandwiched between the layers of this cake would really put the icing on the cake (groan) of this vegan orange cake experience! If you do use marmalade, orange curd, or any other “wet” filling, please be sure to add a thin layer of frosting first as a barrier, and allow it to set before adding the jam, etc. This cake is super delicate and may crumble if coming into contact with moisture.
The method for making this vegan creamsicle cake is very similar to my classic vegan cake; please refer to that recipe for a thoroughly excessive amount of food science, tips and tricks, and a video of the mixing method.
Creamsicle-Inspired Vegan Orange Cake
This fluffy, moist, tender vegan orange cake tastes like a creamsicle, with a beautiful orange color to match, should you choose to add food coloring.
- 78 grams aquafaba room temperature (6 tbsp) (see note)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 138 grams vegetable oil (not coconut oil)
- 48 grams vegetable shortening
- 1 tsp orange zest
Before starting, make sure all of your ingredients for this vegan orange cake are at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
In a small bowl, whisk or whip together the aquafaba and cream of tartar vigorously until the aquafaba is fluffy and foamy (soft peaks are ideal), and set aside.
In another small bowl, stir together the soy milk, orange juice, 2 tsp vinegar, orange extract, and butter flavor, and set aside. The soy milk will curdle a little bit; this is normal.
Sift all of the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into a mixing bowl and stir well, sifting a second time if the mixture still appears lumpy. Don't skip this step - sifting is important!
Add the vegetable oil and shortening into the bowl. Using a mixer or a strong utensil, mix everything together well until it starts to resemble wet sand. Make sure to scrape around the bottom of your mixing bowl to get rid of flour pockets hiding out there. Continue until fully smooth.
Add 1/3 of the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined. Add another 2/3 and repeat. Finally, add the remaining 1/3 and mix until the batter is very smooth and runny, which will take a minute or two.
Whisk the foamy aquafaba mixture into the cake batter until mixed in evenly (if you only fold it in, you might get streaks or a gummy layer - mix well if needed). Divide the cake batter between your two cake pans.
Bake the orange cake layers for approximately 24-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry. Be sure not to open the oven door at all until at least 20 minutes have passed.
Let the cakes cool in their pans on top of a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. You can then run a sharp knife around the edges of the pans before very gently inverting the cakes to cool completely. I recommend lightly flouring or spraying your cooling rack before flipping the cakes onto it; they are very moist and have a tendency to stick. After flipping them over, gently peel off the parchment paper.
These cakes can be layered and frosted once completely cooled (and the layers can be gently evened out if needed, although they tend to bake pretty flat). Take care in handling them; they are rather delicate. Leftover cake can be stored covered in the fridge for a couple of days. If your layer cake is fully frosted it can also be stored covered at room temperature. If stored in the fridge, it's recommended to bring it to room temperature before slicing, to reduce crumbliness.
ORANGE COLOR: Add orange food coloring if desired to give the cake an orange hue. Please follow the instructions on your particular food coloring for how much, when and how to add it; brands may vary.
AQUAFABA - This is the cooking liquid from beans; it has properties similar to egg whites. For this recipe, I recommend draining the liquid from a can of low-sodium or unsalted white beans (cannellini, navy, etc.) - it will have the lightest color.
NUTRITION - Nutrition facts do not include any sort of frosting or icing.