Today is my husband’s birthday. Each year I ask him what type of cake he ‘d like. You see, he likes all baked goods — really, seriously, there is not a baked good he doesn’t like — but for his birthday I want him to pick something special, not just settle for what I happen to be in the mood to bake. When we first got married he picked chocolate raspberry cake, but after a decade or so, he got tired of that. Semi-recently his birthday dessert choice was pineapple upside down cake. Most recently he decided on an orange cake.
Decades ago I made a wonderful, fluffy, creamy, delicious orange cake for my grandfather (I was a teen at the time). Since then I haven’t made it, and can’t remember the recipe I used way back then. So when my husband requested orange cake a few years back, I went online and found a recipe that looked simple enough, and the result was very good. Light. Fluffy. Creamy. Orange-y. Perfect! Husband was happy. I was happy. But…
Turns out our kids aren’t big orange cake fans. How could I make this cake for my husband again, and still please the kids? Well, not sure if it would work or not, but I cut out the orange zest in both the cake and frosting. And when my youngest son helped me with the taste testing after baking them yesterday, he didn’t even realize it was an orange cupcake… he just ate one and asked for a second.
Therefore, I can recommend this recipe with or without the orange zest. Obviously, if you’d like a more potent orange flavor, add the zest. But if you’re in the mood for a subtle orange flavor, skip the zest. Either way, it’s yummy and a nice way to celebrate a birthday!
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest (optional)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups white sugar
Heat oven to 350F.
I use one 8-inch round cake pan and one 12-count muffin tin. Line muffin pans with paper liners, and grease and flour the 8-inch round cake pan. Or, use two 8-inch round cake pans, or 24-count muffin tins.
In mixer, gently mix together the milk, orange juice, oil, eggs, and orange zest.
Combine the dry ingredients and slowly add that to the mixer with the wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 25-30 minutes if using 8-inch pans, and about 18-20 minutes for the muffin tins. A toothpick inserted into the center of each will come out clean when they are done. (Some of the moist cake crumbs will stick to the toothpick … that is okay. You just don’t want gooey cake batter still on the toothpick.)
Cool on wire racks.
6 tablespoons butter, soft but not melted
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
Cream the butter in a mixer.
Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
Add the orange juice and continue mixing until you reach a good spreading consistency.
Stir in the vanilla and orange zest.
Frost cake and cupcakes.
*Edited to add photos of the 8-inch round cake we used to celebrate my husband’s birthday. Daughter actually ate a whole piece and said she liked it!
*Note: Best to refrigerate the frosted cake/cupcakes for a little while first, and then allow to sit at room temperature about half an hour before serving.
*Edited to add a better photo for this recipe. New camera = better pictures! Lower photos are the older/original photos which didn’t turn out as good. Top photo is the new one.