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

Cream Cheese Frosted Orange Cake

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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 I 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 check point, 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
Yield: 24 servings

Orange Cake

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

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour



  • 1 1/2 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 (1/2 stick), at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 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. Beat until well blended with a hand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
  3. When cake is cool, make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Beat in the zest, marmalade, and orange juice. Spread over cake.


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


 Orange Cake | An exquisite orange cake with cream cheese frosting

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25 comments on “Cream Cheese Frosted Orange Cake”

  1. Orange and cheese are a perfect combo.
    Thanks for sharing this delicious cake.

  2. That is a very well traveled cake! It’s gorgeous and I learnt something today. You can actually freeze a cake, fly with it and once landed, you can wow everyone. Cool!

  3. This would be a favorite of mine! Sounds like you had a nice trip:@)

  4. You can never go wrong with cream cheese icing! This looks delicious.

  5. I’m so impressed you traveled with this cake! You’re a great sister 😉 Orange is one of my favorite flavors, but I rarely bake with it. I have to change that soon!

  6. Your family is so beautiful. Loving the cake too ♥

  7. wow..that’s awesome of you! And the cake looks gorgeous!

  8. Happy benchmark birthday Maddy! What a beautiful cake to celebrate with. I’m impressed that you were able to get it through security! My dear Mom used to make an orange cake but instead of cream cheese icing, it was bathed in a wonderful orange syrup while it was hot out of the oven. I believe she made it in a bundt pan. I’m sure the flavours of this wonderful cake would remind me of my dear Mom’s cake.

  9. I’m so glad you made it through with this luscious cake! One time TSA made Zoe throw away her yogurt because they considered it a liquid. So glad they didn’t do that with your frosting!

  10. That is a great picture of you and your sisters. And what a wonderful sister you are to make a cake and to take it on a plane and everything. The cake looks wonderful. I am sure you and your sisters had a great time together. Sounds like so much fun!!

  11. Well now I’ve learned that you can fly with a cake. It looks so good though, I’ll bet security was tempted to confiscate it! 🙂 Happy Birthday to your sister- what a special celebration!

  12. Happy birthday to your sis! A beautiful cake and I love lemon and orange cakes even more than chocolate ones, really. Some people cannot believe that but there is something abut that addictive citrus taste. You are such a trooper for hauling that cake through 2 airports … 🙂 Wishing you a super weekend. Sharing, of course!

  13. How wonderful for the sister’s get-away. I saw mine over the summer and we laughed and cried so much my sides hurt. Beautiful cake Liz!

  14. Lizzy , the cream cheese frosting alone makes me drool 😀 Belated Happy Birthday to your sis !

  15. So gorgeous, Liz! I love all those flecks of zest!

  16. This is a must-try for me! Thanks for sharing the recipe – and for letting us know how durable it is 😉

  17. What a beautiful cake…I’m sure that your sister really appreciated all the effort that went into having it for her birthday celebration.

  18. Happy Birthday Miss Madeline. I trust the celebration was artful … starting with the star cake which passed TSA! Bravo…Love the citrusy orange cake recipe. Looks to be a keeper!

  19. Thanks for the recipe. The house smells wonderful:) I just wanted to double check on the Powdered sugar amount in the frosting. I had to toss it because it was so sweet.

  20. I don’t think I would have had the patience to lug this cake around, or maybe I just would have slowly eaten it all along the way 🙂 I love the idea of the orange marmalade in the frosting.

  21. I made this last night. Followed the recipe exact, because I love baking! I thought it was strange it didn’t have a rising agent, but then again you described it as dense. The cake is very very dense and almost chewy brownie like. Is that what it’s supposed to be? The flavor is pretty good, I had to add more orange zest. I did my own cream cheese recipe for the top that wasn’t AS sweet. I also added vanilla. I don’t know if I would make it again, but it was nice to try. I have an event that I made it for today, and almost worried they will be thinking I messed a cake up, like I’m going to have to overly explain it’s very dense. Thank you for taking the time to post 

    • Hi, Carly, It is dense for sure, but the 4 eggs should give it enough leavening. Paula Deen calls these “brownies”, so maybe if you tell your guests they’re brownies they won’t expect a fluffy cake! Hope they enjoy!! If they love it, please come back and let me know!!!

  22. That thick cream cheese frosting paired with the orange flavor is PERFECTION for this Florida gal. Love this recipe and highly recommend!

  23. This was so yummm and super easy to make. Saving to make soon again.

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