This delectable Orange Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting filled with zest and marmalade took a trip through a TSA checkpoint in Indianapolis then flew to Denver before a trek over the Rocky Mountains.

Orange Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on a square white plate with oranges

Orange Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

My youngest sister had one of those once a decade birthdays and invited my other sisters and me to celebrate with her in Aspen. Nearly every childhood summer vacation of ours included a few weeks in this idyllic ski town tucked in the Colorado Rockies. It was the perfect journey down memory lane for us plus my first time to see Aspen in the fall.

Maddy requested an orange cake for the big bash. I think she wanted me to bake it the elevation of 8,000 feet. Uh, no thank you! Instead, I mixed it up at home, added a thick decadent layer of icing, froze the whole shebang, and took it to the airport with my fingers crossed. She was a huge fan of my orange cookies, too!

Sisters in Aspen

Me and my sisters, Katie, Maddy, and Mary in our temporary Aspen home along the Roaring Fork.

Orange Cake or Orange Brownies

I gained a few new muscles hauling this orange cake through two airports and on and off our flight. I kept it in the metal 9 x 13-inch pan for safekeeping which added some extra weight.

As I placed my bag on the conveyor belt at our TSA checkpoint, I mentioned that I had a cake in my carry on to the kind fellow scanning the bags. He didn’t bat an eye and the orange cake made it through. Everyone loved this rich, dense, and incredibly delicious orange cake with cream cheese frosting. P.S. It freezes well. It travels well. It is sublime.

Note that my inspiration for this recipe comes from Paula Deen’s Orange Brownies. If you want a light and fluffy cake, this probably isn’t the recipe for you. But if you like dense cakes like pound cakes, I know you’ll enjoy this dessert!

Orange Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on a square white plate with dried orange slices

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More Citrus Recipes You’ll Love

If citrus rates higher than chocolate at your house, check out this Glazed Lemon Pound Cake, Strawberry Lemon Tart, Chewy Orange Crinkle Cookies, and Glazed Lemon Tea Scones. Some recipes that have caught my eye include this Orange Pound Cake and these Frosty Orange Cookies.

Orange Cake

Orange Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 24 servings

A dense orange cake topped with orange-infused cream cheese frosting. Adapted from Paula Deen.



  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract (I used Penzey's)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest


  • 8-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter (½ stick), at room temperature
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with nonstick foil (or just grease with non-stick spray). Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest.
  3. Beat until well blended with a hand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
  6. When the cake is cool, make the frosting.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar.
  8. Mix until smooth. Beat in the zest, marmalade, and orange juice.
  9. Spread over the cake with an offset spatula.


Feel free to decrease the powdered sugar in the frosting to 3½ cups if you want a looser, slightly less sweet frosting.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 306Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 207mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 0gSugar: 38gProtein: 3g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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