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Beautiful Sticky Orange Cake Recipe

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This stunning sticky orange cake not only looks impressive but has the flavour to back it up! With a supremely fresh citrus tang and an off the charts moisture level – your taste buds will be thanking you emphatically!

A distanced flat lay of a sticky orange cake with a slice cut out of it on a round cooling rack over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

You know what I mean by fresh don’t you? I don’t mean that fake, over saturated orange flavour – I mean it tastes like you’ve just peeled an orange and magically turned it into cake fresh!

I’ve never tasted a cake like it before in my life. It really is quite challenging to express just how fresh this cake really tastes!

A close up front view of a slice of sticky orange cake on a small white plate with a fork set over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. In the background there is the remaining sticky orange cake on a round cooling rack, some dried orange slices and a light brown linen napkin.

Other orange bakes I’ve made before, like one bowl Terry’s Chocolate Orange brownies and chocolate orange caramel shortbread rely on the zest and pre-flavoured orange chocolate for their flavour.

This cake utilises the whole orange and, my word, does it add to the flavour!

A whole sticky orange cake on a round cooling rack positioned to the right side over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices, white rustic plates with dessert forks, two stacked books and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

And the texture? Oh my life, It’s just drool inducing! The addition of Greek yoghurt and the use of oil instead of butter creates the softest most wonderfully moist cake you’ve EVER had. It’s just incredible.

A flat lay view of 3 plates, each with a slice of sticky orange cake and a fork on them, set over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices, two stacked books, half a squeezed orange and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Right, onto the good stuff. Want to know how to make this beauty of a sticky orange cake for yourself? Keep reading…

A sticky orange cake with a slice cut out of it and a hand reaching in on a round cooling rack over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices, white rustic plates with dessert forks, two stacked books and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

How to make sticky orange cake: simplified

For the decoration

  1. Slice oranges into semicircles and boil with orange juice, water and sugar until soft.
  2. Remove slices then reduce the liquid to a syrup.

For the cake

  1. Mix oil, sugar, egg, Greek yoghurt and orange zest together.
  2. Add baking powder, flour and salt and mix to form a batter.
  3. Pour batter into a lined tin and top with the orange slices.
  4. Bake for 45-50 mins.
  5. Slowly pour over the syrup and leave to soak for 10 mins.
  6. Remove from the tin and cool completely.
Flay lay view of a slice of sticky orange cake on two stacked plates with a fork. Set over a cool grey wood effect backdrop, there are also dried orange slices, another plate with cake, a small pot filled with orange slices and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Ingredients

Here’s everything about the ingredients need for sticky orange cake.

For the decoration

  • Oranges – Small/medium oranges are great. You’ll be using the zest, juice and slices so keep that in mind when you make your selection.
  • Sugar – I like to use golden caster sugar as it gives a slight caramel flavour to your bakes. If you can’t get hold of this don’t worry, regular caster sugar (superfine in the US) will work just fine.

For the cake

  • Oil – Rapeseed oil is my go to with this cake but other predominantly flavourless oils would also work. (i.e. vegetable, sunflower.)
  • Sugar – As said above, I used golden caster sugar but regular caster sugar works well too. (Superfine in the US.)
  • Eggs – Medium eggs are great. You don’t want teeny tiny ones or mahoosive ones – but somewhere in-between.
  • Yoghurt – Greek yoghurt works perfectly in this cake but you could also use natural yoghurt in a pinch. Don’t use fat free if you can help it though, the extra fat helps both flavour and texture.
  • Baking Powder – Not to be confused with bicarbonate of soda, baking powder is the one that’s needed here to give a little lift.
  • Flour – Plain (all purpose) flour is what’s needed. Don’t switch it out for self raising or other types as it will mess with the rise of the cake.
  • Salt – You season your dinner why not your cakes?! Table salt is fine, no need to get fancy here. It’s going to dissolve anyway!
A distanced flat lay of a sticky orange cake with a slice cut out of it on a round cooling rack over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices, two stacked books and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Recipe tips

Here are some tips I think you will find helpful when making this recipe.

I made a few wrong turns with this one (the bin got a good meal!!) so heed my advice! Remember – I make the mistakes so YOU don’t have to!

  • When zesting an orange, only grate the outer orange layer. You don’t want to go into the white part of the skin (called the pith) as it tastes very bitter.
  • Be sure to remove any seeds when you’re juicing your oranges. You don’t want one hidden in the middle of your cake!
  • Don’t use a tin smaller than 20cm/8″ or it will take FOREVER to bake and the decoration may burn. If you’re using a slightly larger tin, check your cake throughout the cooking time as this will affect how it bakes.
  • Bake your cake on a lower shelf in the oven to help prevent the orange slices on the top from burning.
  • Notice the top of your cake burning? Cover with foil and continue baking.
  • For the decoration, don’t slice your oranges too thin as they will be more likely to catch in the oven.
  • Make sure you use un-zested oranges for the decoration slices. Zested slices will 100% burn more easily! (Trust me, my first attempt was AWFUL because of this!)
  • When pouring the syrup over at the end, take it slowly. This will allow the syrup to soak into the cake more, rather than just flowing over the sides.
A front view of a slice of sticky orange cake on a plate with a fork positioned to the right of the shot. In the background there is the remaining sticky orange cake on a round cooling rack, half a squeezed orange, some dried orange slices and a light brown linen napkin. All set over a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Sticky Orange Cake – Step by Step Picture Recipe

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

Ingredients

Here is what you will need to serve 8.

For the decoration

  • 3 Oranges
  • 100g (1/2 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 100ml (1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) Water

For the cake

  • 150g (2/4 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 175ml (2/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) Rapeseed Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 175g (6.1 oz or 2/3 Cup) Greek Yoghurt
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 175g (1 + 1/3 Cup) Plain Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Essential equipment

  • 20cm (8″) Round Loose Bottomed Baking Tin
  • Chopping Board
  • Fine Grater
  • Sharp Knife
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Small Bowl

Decoration instructions

Grease your baking tin with oil and line the base with baking paper. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/Fan 170ºC/356ºF.

Zest 1 + 1/2 oranges on a chopping board using a fine grater and set to one side for later.

Two zested oranges, the zest and a grater on a green chopping board on a kitchen worktop.

Then slice the remaining 1 + 1/2 oranges into semi circles with a sharp knife. Don’t go too thin or they will burn, aim for about 4mm.

It’s important to NOT use the zested oranges here, as they will burn too easily during baking.

Thinly sliced semicircle orange slices on a green chopping board on a kitchen worktop.

Using a citrus juicer, squeeze the juice from the remaining 1 + 1/2 zested oranges.

(Yes I know, the oranges in my image aren’t zested. This is from my first attempt, when my cake burnt pretty badly so just trust me haha!)

Orange halves being juiced with a glass juicer on a green chopping board on a kitchen worktop.

Now pour the orange juice into your saucepan along with the caster sugar (100g | 1/2 Cup), water (100ml | 1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp and orange slices.

Semicircle orange slices, orange juice, sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally (and gently) with a wooden spoon. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 mins or so until the slices have softened.

Remove the slices with a slotted spoon and set aside for later.

Boiled semicircle orange slices on a white plate with a slotted spoon on a kitchen worktop.

Meanwhile, continue to simmer the remaining juices in the pan (stirring occasionally) until you are left with about 90ml of runny syrup. Set aside for later.

Orange syrup in a saucepan on the stove top.

Cake instructions

To make the cake batter, add the caster sugar (150g | 2/4 Cup), rapeseed oil (175ml | 2/3 Cup + 1 tbsp), Eggs (x 2), Greek yoghurt (175g | 6.1 oz | 2/3 Cup) and orange zest to a large mixing bowl.

Sticky orange cake wet batter ingredients in a glass bowl on a kitchen worktop.

Beat thoroughly with a spatula until it’s nice and smooth.

The wet sticky orange cake ingredients mixed together in a glass bowl with a spatula on a kitchen worktop.

Briefly stir together the baking powder (2 tsp), plain flour (175g | 1 + 1/3 Cup) and salt (1/4 tsp) in a small bowl.

Flour and baking powder in a metal bowl with a metal spoon on a kitchen worktop.

Then fold it into the wet ingredients. Continue to beat together until it’s nice and smooth but don’t over mix it. Stir just until there are no more visible streaks or lumps in the batter.

Sticky orange cake batter in a glass bowl with a spatula on a kitchen worktop.

Pour the batter into your prepared tin and smooth out.

Sticky orange cake batter in a lined round baking tin on a kitchen worktop.

Now carefully lay the orange slices from earlier around the top in concentric circles.

Sticky orange cake batter topped with orange semicircles in a lined round baking tin on a kitchen worktop.

Bake in your preheated oven on a lower shelf for 45-50 mins until golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remember that all ovens vary so check your bake throughout cooking to ensure there’s no burning happening along the way.

Baked sticky orange cake in a round baking tin on a cooling rack on a kitchen worktop.

As soon as your orange cake is out the oven, you need to make it sticky! While it’s still in the baking tin, very slowly pour over the orange syrup you made earlier.

Leave your cake in the tin for 10-15 mins to soak up all those the juices.

Baked sticky orange cake topped with orange syrup in a round baking tin on a cooling rack on a kitchen worktop.

Then remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Baked sticky orange cake doused in orange syrup set on a cooling rack on a kitchen worktop.

How to store sticky orange cake

I don’t like to store bakes in plastic containers as it makes sugar sweat which can ruin the texture. For best results, store your sticky orange cake inside a metal tin, lined with baking paper, at room temperature. Consume within 5 days.

A whole sticky orange cake on a round cooling rack positioned to the right side over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices, white rustic plates with dessert forks, two stacked books and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Why does my orange cake taste bitter?

This could be for a few reasons…

  • You may have grated into the pith (the white part of orange skin) instead of just zesting the orange part. This tastes very bitter and can affect the flavour quite a bit.
  • You may have over reduced (boiled) the sticky orange syrup which resulted in it burning a little. Burnt orange tastes very bitter.
  • You could have baked your cake on a higher shelf in the oven or used the zested oranges for the decorative slices on top, which would lead to burning. Again, this tastes very bitter.
A front view of a slice of sticky orange cake on a plate with a fork positioned to the centre of the shot. In the background there is the remaining sticky orange cake on a round cooling rack, half a squeezed orange, some dried orange slices and a light brown linen napkin. All set over a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Can I use bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder?

No. Both of these ingredients require different things to work effectively in baking.

Bicarbonate of soda needs both an acid and a liquid to activate it’s raising properties. Baking powder only needs liquid.

It’s safer to stick to the recipe you are using instead of going freestyle on this one!

A distanced flat lay of a sticky orange cake with a slice cut out of it on a round cooling rack with a hand reaching in over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

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A flat lay of a sticky orange cake with a slice cut out of it on a round cooling rack over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices, two stacked books and a light brown linen napkin in the background. A text overlay says "How to make sticky orange cake".

Have you made this recipe?

Have you made this stunning sticky orange cake? I’d love to know if you have! Send me your pics, comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email me at emma@kitchenmason.com.

Flay lay view of a slice of sticky orange cake on two stacked plates with a hand reaching in with a fork. Set over a cool grey wood effect backdrop, there are also dried orange slices, another plate with cake, a small pot filled with orange slices and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Like baking to be as simple as possible?

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A distanced flat lay of a sticky orange cake with a slice cut out of it on a round cooling rack with a hand reaching in over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices, two stacked books and a light brown linen napkin in the background.
A flat lay of a sticky orange cake with a slice cut out of it on a round cooling rack over a cool grey wood effect backdrop. There are also dried orange slices and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Beautiful Sticky Orange Cake - Printable Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This stunning sticky orange cake not only looks impressive but has the flavour to back it up too! Fresh citrus tangs and next level moisture!

Ingredients

For the Decoration

  • 3 Oranges
  • 100g (1/2 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 100ml (1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) Water

For the Cake

  • 150g (2/4 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 175ml (2/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) Rapeseed Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 175g (6.1 oz or 2/3 Cup) Greek Yoghurt
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 175g (1 + 1/3 Cup) Plain Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Essential Equipment

  • 20cm (8″) Round Loose Bottomed Baking Tin
  • Chopping Board
  • Fine Grater
  • Sharp Knife
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Small Bowl

Instructions

For the Decoration

  1. Lightly oil the round tin and line the base with baking paper. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/Fan 170ºC/356ºF. Zest 1 + 1/2 oranges and set to one side for later.
  2. Slice the none zested 1 + 1/2 oranges into semicircle slices approx 4mm thick.
  3. Juice the zested 1 + 1/2 oranges and pour this into a saucepan along with the sugar, water and orange slices.
  4. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat them simmer for 5 mins until soft, stirring every now and then. Remove slices with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  5. Continue to simmer the juices left in the pan until about 90ml of syrup remains. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the Cake

  1. Place the sugar, oil, eggs, Greek yoghurt and reserved orange zest into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Mix together the baking powder, flour and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Continue until smooth and lump free.
  4. Pour the batter into your prepared tin and smooth out. Gently lay the orange slices on the top in concentric circles.
  5. Bake on a lower shelf for 45-50 mins. It should be golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. While still in the tin, slowly pour the orange syrup over the top of the cake.
  7. Allow the cake to soak up the juices for 10 minutes then remove from the tin and cool completely on a rack.

Notes

See the main post for a more detailed, step by step picture recipe.

Be sure to read the recipe tips section for lots of helpful information before you begin making this recipe.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 438Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 229mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 37gProtein: 5g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment on the blog or tag me on Instagram.

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Janet Cooper

Wednesday 17th of November 2021

Made this cake today. Lovely cake and very moist. Will be making it again for sure. 😁😁

Emma

Wednesday 17th of November 2021

Hi Janet. Oh I’m SO happy you enjoyed my recipe and it turned out well for you! Thanks for taking the time to share this with me - you’ve made my day :) Emma x

Helen

Sunday 14th of November 2021

Made this delicious cake yesterday & it really is absolutely wonderful, thank you Emma for sharing this recipe!

Emma

Sunday 14th of November 2021

I’m so happy you liked it Helen!! Thank you for sharing your kind words with me, you’ve made my day :) Emma x

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