What Frosting Goes With Orange Cake

Orange cake is a delightful and refreshing dessert that pairs beautifully with a variety of frostings. Whether you’re baking a homemade orange cake or planning to enhance a store-bought one, choosing the right frosting can elevate the flavors and create a memorable treat.

Orange Cake
Orange Cake

Understanding Orange Cake

Before we delve into the world of frostings, let’s take a moment to understand orange cake itself. Orange cake is a moist and citrusy dessert that brings a burst of freshness to your taste buds. The cake batter is typically infused with orange zest or juice, imparting a vibrant orange flavor throughout.

The Flavor Profile of Orange Cake

Orange cake offers a unique balance of sweet and tangy flavors. The natural citrus notes provide a refreshing twist to the traditional cake taste, making it a popular choice for those seeking a delightful and light dessert option.

Types of Orange Cakes

There are various types of orange cakes you can choose from, each with its own distinct characteristics. Some common types include:

  • Orange sponge cake: A light and airy cake that incorporates orange zest or juice into the batter.
  • Orange pound cake: A denser cake with a rich buttery flavor, often made with orange juice and zest.
  • Orange chiffon cake: A fluffy and moist cake made using vegetable oil, orange juice, and whipped egg whites.

Exploring Frosting Options for Orange Cake

Now that we have a good understanding of orange cake, let’s explore some fantastic frosting options that pair exceptionally well with this citrusy delight.

Classic Buttercream Frosting

Classic buttercream frosting is a versatile option that can complement almost any cake, including orange cake. Its smooth and creamy texture provides a delightful contrast to the citrus flavors.

To make this frosting, you’ll need butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a touch of milk. Beat the ingredients together until light and fluffy, and you’ll have a delectable frosting to adorn your orange cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is a popular choice for orange cake due to its tangy and creamy nature. The subtle tartness of cream cheese beautifully balances the sweetness of the cake, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

Cream cheese frosting is made using cream To make cream cheese frosting, you’ll need cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth, then gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

Mix until creamy and spreadable. This luscious frosting will enhance the flavors of your orange cake and provide a tangy and rich topping.

Orange Glaze

For a simple yet elegant option, an orange glaze can be the perfect choice. Made with freshly squeezed orange juice and powdered sugar, this glaze adds a glossy finish to your cake while intensifying the citrus flavors.

The tangy and sweet combination of the glaze complements the natural brightness of the orange cake.

Chocolate Ganache

If you’re looking to add a touch of decadence to your orange cake, chocolate ganache is a fantastic option. The rich and velvety texture of the ganache pairs remarkably well with the citrusy notes of the cake. You can either drizzle the ganache over the cake or cover it entirely for a chocolate-orange delight.

To make chocolate ganache, heat heavy cream until hot but not boiling, then pour it over chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth and glossy. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring it over your cake.

Whipped Cream Frosting

For a lighter and fluffier topping, whipped cream frosting is an excellent choice. Its airy texture and subtle sweetness provide a delightful contrast to the zesty orange flavors.

To make whipped cream frosting, beat heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat it, as it may turn into butter.

Choosing the Perfect Frosting for Orange Cake

Now that we have explored various frosting options, let’s discuss how to choose the perfect one for your orange cake creation.

Complementing Flavors

Consider the flavor profile of your orange cake and choose a frosting that complements it. If you want to enhance the citrusy notes, go for a tangy option like cream cheese frosting or orange glaze. If you prefer a more balanced sweetness, classic buttercream frosting or whipped cream frosting will work beautifully.

Texture and Consistency

Think about the texture and consistency you desire for your cake. Buttercream frosting provides a smooth and creamy texture, while cream cheese frosting adds a slightly denser and tangy element. Whipped cream frosting offers a lighter and airy feel, while chocolate ganache provides a rich and indulgent coating.

Occasion and Presentation

Consider the occasion and the desired presentation of your orange cake. If you’re baking for a formal event or celebration, a beautifully decorated buttercream frosting can create an elegant centerpiece. For a casual gathering, a simple orange glaze or whipped cream frosting can be equally delightful.

Recipes for Orange Cake Frostings

Now that you have a good understanding of the different frostings that go well with orange cake, here are some recipes to get you started:

Recipe: Classic Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk


  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Add vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix until smooth and fluffy. Add more milk if needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Recipe: Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and continue beating until well combined.
  3. Add vanilla extract and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Recipe: Orange Glaze


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice


  1. In a bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth and pourable.
  2. Adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar for a thicker glaze or more orange juice for a thinner glaze.
  3. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to run down the sides.

Recipe: Chocolate Ganache


  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it starts to simmer.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute to soften the chocolate.
  4. Gently whisk the mixture until smooth and glossy.
  5. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring it over the cake.

Recipe: Whipped Cream Frosting


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Chill a mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  2. In the chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until it starts to thicken.
  3. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract, then continue beating until soft peaks form.
  4. Be careful not to overbeat, as it may turn into butter.


Can I use other citrus fruits for the frosting?

Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with other citrus fruits like lemon or lime to create different variations of frostings for your orange cake.

How can I make a vegan frosting for orange cake?

You can make a vegan frosting by using plant-based alternatives like vegan butter or coconut oil instead of dairy butter, and vegan cream cheese or coconut cream instead of regular cream cheese.

Can I use store-bought frosting for orange cake?

Yes, you can use store-bought frosting as a convenient option. However, homemade frostings allow for more customization and flavor control.

What other toppings go well with orange cake?

Orange zest, candied orange slices, chopped nuts (such as almonds or pistachios), or fresh berries can all make delightful toppings for orange cake.

Can I add orange zest to the frosting?

Absolutely! Adding some orange zest to the frosting can intensify the citrus flavors and add a pop of color and freshness.


In conclusion, choosing the right frosting for your orange cake can enhance its flavors and create a delightful culinary experience. Whether you opt for classic buttercream, tangy cream cheese, zesty orange glaze, indulgent chocolate ganache, or airy whipped cream, each frosting brings its own unique qualities to the cake.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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