Fresh Orange Cake with Orange Vanilla Bean Icing

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Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that’s a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy.

Long live all the sheet cake recipes! I make sheet cakes often because they are so easy and great to take to a party because they can feed a crowd. This orange cake is a bright fun one. I also love to serve my Grandma’s chocolate sheet cake and it’s always a hit. My other two favorites are easy vanilla sheet cake and in the fall we love to make Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Caramel Frosting, oh wow is that one good too!

Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that's a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy. #orangecake #sheetcake #cake #baking #oranges #orangeicing

Fresh Orange Cake with Orange Vanilla Bean Icing

Did you grow up enjoying orange creamsicle popsicles? I couldn’t get enough of the tangy orange flavor mixed with the softer notes of vanilla — it was a treat that I’ve loved ever since and enjoy replicating in other sweet treats! This fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is like the sheet cake version of creamsicles, and it’s oh-so good.

I love creating easy ways to whip up interesting meals and treats, and this one uses a yellow cake mix to take its simplicity to the next level — but it doesn’t take away from any of the vibrant orange flavors whatsoever! If you live in a place where oranges are readily available year-round (*wink, wink, I’m looking at you, Florida*), you might even be tempted to make this for holidays and birthdays all year long!

Otherwise, this is the perfect summertime cake for all kinds of festivities and celebrations. Plus, orange slice candy take the cuteness to new heights — they’re optional but I highly recommend!

Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that's a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy. #orangecake #sheetcake #cake #baking #oranges #orangeicing

Can you use orange extract instead of orange zest in orange cake?

Extracts tend to be really strong, concentrated flavors, and they can be over-powering if too much is used. I’d suggest adding extract in recipes more to taste, not as a full on substitute. If you do try using extract as a sub, use half (or less) of the amount called for in directions. For example, if you need 2 tablespoons of orange zest, I’d use less than 1 tablespoon of orange extract.

Can you make a cake with olive oil instead of butter?

Some cakes actually do really well with olive oil instead of butter. It will give it a bit of a different flavor and texture, but not overwhelmingly so! I actually think olive oil complements citrus well — it’s why you see so many citrus vinaigrettes. I have not tried using it in this recipe, but if you want to give it a go, be sure to use 3/4 of the amount of butter you’d need. So, if you need 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick), only use 6 tablespoons of olive oil.

How long will orange cake stay fresh in the refrigerator?

Because this cake uses fresh orange juice and zest, it won’t last quite as long as some other cakes. Store it covered in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days — or take it to a party and it’ll be gone before the heyday’s over!

Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that's a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy. #orangecake #sheetcake #cake #baking #oranges #orangeicing

Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that's a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy. #orangecake #sheetcake #cake #baking #oranges #orangeicing

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Fresh Orange Cake with Orange Vanilla Bean Icing


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 24 1x

Description

Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that’s a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy.


Scale

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 4 oranges, zested and juiced (1 1/4 cups juice)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • Additional butter for pan

Orange vanilla bean icing:

  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Orange slice candy, optional

Instructions

For the cake:

  1. Butter a sheet pan with sides (jelly roll pan), and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Pour the cake mix into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Strain the orange juice to remove big chunks.
  5. Add the orange juice, orange zest, eggs, and melted butter to the bowl.
  6. Mix together with a whisk until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Pour into buttered pan, and use a spatula to spread it out. The consistency is a little different than a normal cake mix, so you need to be sure to spread the batter to the edges; it won’t go there on its own.
  7. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden and the cake springs back when touched.
  8. While the cake is baking, make the icing.

For the orange vanilla bean icing:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, orange juice (unstrained — the pulp is pretty), orange zest, and vanilla bean paste.
  2. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, and whisk it all together until you get a smooth wet paste. This is the time to get all of the lumps out.
  3. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, whisking after each cup, until you get a soft icing consistency, around 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. The icing should be thin, but not run off of a spoon dipped into it. Ice the sheet cake in the pan after it has cooled completely.
  4. Garnish with orange candy slices if you’d like.

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cake, orange cake, cake mix recipe, easy dessert recipe, dessert

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Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that's a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy. #orangecake #sheetcake #cake #baking #oranges #orangeicing

Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that's a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy. #orangecake #sheetcake #cake #baking #oranges #orangeicing

Fresh orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is a vibrant and zesty sheet cake that's a breeze to whip up and even easier to enjoy. #orangecake #sheetcake #cake #baking #oranges #orangeicing

Other cake recipes you’ll love:

This post was originally published in 2012, and has been updated and rephotographed in August 2019.

Orange cake with orange vanilla bean icing is like the sheet cake remix of creamsicle popsicles, and you’ll be in heaven until the very last bite!

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38 Recipes for Busy Moms
5 Responses
  1. marseille

    So I made this a year ago & loved it, but when I made it today, the icing was too buttery & not orangy enough. I double checked & did the right amounts.

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

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