This lightly sweet orange loaf cake is deliciously moist and full of zesty flavors.
It's an incredibly soft, buttery cake made with spelt flour, sweet oranges, and cloves that beautifully come together once baked.
I usually make this easy recipe for the Holidays or get-togethers and serve it as an indulgent breakfast or with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon.
Reasons why you should make this original recipe
- It's incredibly easy to make.
- This yummy cake has moist crumbs and a light texture and bakes nicely in a loaf tin or bundt pan.
- It has a delicious orange flavor, sweetened with real oranges and maple syrup.
- A tad of ground cloves adds warm spiced undertones and balances the sweetness of the cake.
- Combine all this with a nutritious grain such as spelt flour and real butter, and you get a very tender, light orange loaf cake that's irresistible.
- And with some wrapping and a little presentation, this orange-flavored cake can become the perfect gift.
Cake ingredients & notes
Spelt flour: This sweet orange bread recipe works best with an ancient grain like spelt flour. And if you haven't baked with this flour before, I urge you to try it.
It's light and mildly sweet, with a lovely hint of earthiness and a soft texture that aids in giving the cake batter its airiness.
Note: Because the gluten content of spelt flour tends to break down relatively quickly, it's excellent for quick bread recipes that don't require much mixing or kneading.
Baking powder: Spelt flour is not self-raising, so the ingredients list also calls for some baking powder.
Oranges: I use whole oranges, not just fresh orange juice. It intensifies the flavor.
Go for juicy sweet fruits like navel oranges. It gives this orange bread that beautiful golden color and a wonderful orangy aroma. Even blood oranges can work here.
Orange zest: It'll enhance the citrusy taste and tanginess in the cake mix.
Note: Because you are using the zest from the orange, too, I recommend choosing organic fruits for this recipe. Usually, one large orange gets me about one tablespoon of orange zest. But I suggest having an extra orange on the side if yours come in smaller sizes.
Ground cloves: Cloves have an intense flavor, so I only use half a teaspoon here.
This spice adds warmth, and when paired with citrus fruit and a small amount of maple syrup, its warm aromas are enhanced.
Note: If you love a more robust clove flavoring, then feel free to add about ¾ teaspoon of ground cloves. This orange cake bread has almost all the pleasant smells of warm mulled wine!
Large eggs: I use three beaten eggs.
Melted butter: it adds wonderful flavor to this orange pound cake.
Maple syrup: It adds natural sweetness together with the orange slices.
Salt: for best results, add just ½ teaspoon.
Recipe steps with pics
See the recipe card for the full recipe with measurements.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, salt, and ground cloves with the orange zest.
Whisk all these ingredients until they are well combined. A good old whisk will also aerate the flour mixture, making it more fluffy, resulting in a lighter cake texture. Set aside.
Note: your flour mixture will smell deliciously orangy from the zest with a hint of cloves aroma, but you won't see any zest or spices anymore.
Blend the diced oranges and maple syrup into a fruity sweet puree—it's okay if you see a few strings from the oranges.
Add the sweet fruity blend and the rest of the wet ingredients (melted butter and beaten eggs) to the reserved flour mixture.
Note: The batter should look airy and orangy in color. But it's still thick yet on the fluffy side and with a relatively smooth drip-like consistency instead of runny when poured into the prepared pan.
Now pour the batter into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and bake.
Extra Baking Tips
Always prep the standard loaf pan. Otherwise, getting the orange cake loaf out in one piece will be nearly impossible—and that would be a shame.
You can use parchment paper or grease every inch of the loaf pan with butter, shake in a bit of flour (again coating all sides), and tap out the excess.
How to best melt the butter: I quickly melt the butter on the stove in a small saucepan and over a low heat setting, stirring frequently. It doesn't take long, but I recommend staying with it until it's completely melted.
Orange zest & grater: The best tool to zest an orange is a Microplane or citrus zester—most ideal—or in the absence, use the fine shred of your regular grater. Just make sure to get a fine zest with no white pith.
My orange loaf cake always bakes for precisely 60 minutes. However, It's best to check and test for doneness at around 50 minutes into baking time.
Depending on your oven type, you might need an extra 5 minutes or so.
To check for doneness, I usually insert a toothpick or half of a thin pairing knife in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the orange cake is ready.
Cool the cake
Always cool the cake before removing it from the loaf pan. How long it takes to cool the Spelt cake will depend on the room temperature.
I do not recommend placing it in the fridge to speed up the process—the cake might lose some of that lovely buttery and moist texture—it's worth the wait.
Gift a cake
Want to gift the cake or make it extra festive? Dust powdered or confectioners' sugar on top of the cake for a beautiful snow-like effect, and use kraft paper bread bags for the wrapping.
Enjoy as-is or with a spread
A slice of this orange-clove butter bread tastes excellent on its own, but feel free to dress it up with:
- Some butter and homemade spread—like this Simple Cranberry-Clementine Spread or rhubarb compote;
- A dollop of creamy yogurt always works and is one of our favorite toppings;
- Or pair it with something heartier, like a slice of your favorite hard cheese.
- Or enjoy a slice with your cup of tea—count on wanting a second slice.
Note: It's best to cut the cooled spelt cake with a bread knife into lovely bread-shaped slices, thick enough to smear on some butter or jam, or top it with light yogurt.
Wrap the loaf of bread in wax paper or unbleached parchment paper, and then place it in an airtight container once completely cooled—it will stay soft and fresh for up to 5 days.
Leave it stored at room temperature.
Buttery and comforting aromas fill the house when this delicious cake comes out of the oven, drawing everyone into the kitchen wanting a slice.
Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife and carefully run it around the cake's edges. Place a large enough plate over the cake and invert it while holding the plate firmly in place. Tap and gently shake the pan so the cake can come out in one piece. Set the pan aside. The cake is now upside down. Gently turn the cake back around—and voila.
Whether savory or sweet, a quick bread recipe usually doesn't require any yeast, lots of kneading, or a lengthy rising time—think breadsticks, banana bread, zucchini, or cornbread.
They are often relatively easy to prepare and rely on baking powder or baking soda as a raising agent.
Some bakers might not even call them authentic bread at all—debatable for certain types of quick bread. But I would agree that, like this moist orange cake loaf, most sweet quick loaves of bread are similar to cakes. They're just baked in loaf pans that give you these delicious bread-like slices to enjoy for breakfast.
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Orange Loaf CakeMariska Ramondino
- 9x5-inch loaf pan
- 2 ¼ cups spelt flour 280 grams, plus more to coat the pan
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon orange zest from one large orange
- 1 cup packed diced oranges about two small or one large orange—200 grams
- 1 cup maple syrup 280 ml
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup butter melted (227 grams or two ¼ pound butter sticks), plus more to coat the pan
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cloves, and orange zest. I use a whisk to mix these ingredients, break up any clumps and fluff up the flour—set aside.
- The flour will smell deliciously orangy from the zest with a hint of cloves aroma, but you won't see any zest or spices anymore.
- In a blender, add the diced oranges and maple syrup. Blend until pureed and well combined—it's okay if you see a few strings from the oranges.
- Transfer the pureed orange-maple syrup mixture into the reserved flour bowl. Stir to combine, and then add the beaten eggs and melted butter.
- Stir everything using a whisk until well combined, and you get a beautiful light orangy batter. The batter will be wet but airy and fluffy.
- Coat the inside of the loaf pan with butter, then shake in a bit of flour (coating all sides), and tap out the excess.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. You can use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, the loaf is springy to the touch, and a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely before removing from the pan.
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Nutrition (% Daily value)
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.
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