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Drunken Orange Cake

Wait, before you read, this is a family friendly, non-alcoholic cake. For those of you who are disappointed, don’t worry, I will suggest a boozy variation. Is everybody happy now?? Well, at least I am. I loved this cake. Especially the fresh and clean citrus flavor. I was actually longing for a cake like this for a long, long time. Almost 3 years! My co-sister had baked this cake for us, using a boxed mix. It was out-of-this-world delicious. We tried so many times to buy that mix again, but it was nowhere to be found! And unfortunately she didn’t remember the exact brand and name of the cake mix. So we did some research and found out that it was Sara Lee Orange Dessert cake, which has been discontinued. I have no idea why, it was an extremely tasty cake and though I made an attempt, this cake is nowhere close to that cake. But I liked this cake for its orange extravagance. Oranges are in season now and that is a perfect excuse to make this cake. Here is the link to the original recipe, the author says it is his grandmamma’s cake. Bless his grandma for such a wonderful recipe. I have tweaked the recipe minimally.

I call this a drunken cake because it is drenched in a citrus syrup. I added some cream cheese glaze just to compliment the tart citrus flavor.

Note: You can also use a boxed orange cake mix and use the syrup and glaze given in the recipe below. It will be a sure shot way to impress your family and friends! For all you alcoholics out there, add 2-3 Tbsp of Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) to the syrup.

Makes one 9 inch bundt

For the cake:

Sugar – 1 cup
Butter (softened) – 1 cup
Eggs – 3 large
All purpose flour – 1 3/4 cup
Sour Cream/Plain yogurt – 1 cup
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Pure Vanilla extract/Orange extract – 1tsp
Orange zest – from 2 large oranges, about 1 Tbsp

For the syrup:

Orange juice  –  1 cup, from about 4 large oranges (substitute with 3/4 cup orange juice concentrate + 1/4 cup water)
Lemon juice – 2 Tbsp
Sugar – 3/4 cup
Salt – a pinch

For the cream cheese glaze:

Cream Cheese (softened) – 4 Oz
Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup
Milk – 6-7 Tbsp
Orange zest – from one large orange


For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  • Grease and flour a 9 inch bundt pan.
  • Before you begin, make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. This is an extremely important step for perfectly baked foods.
  • Separate the egg yolks and the whites. Beat the whites to stiff peaks and set aside.
  • Cream the softened butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy, about 8-10 minutes in a hand mixer or 5-6 minutes in a stand mixer on medium speed.
  • Then add in the egg yolks, grated orange zest, yogurt and vanilla/orange extract, and beat on medium speed until everything comes together. The mixture may look curdled, but don’t worry about that.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 batches, mixing well after each addition. Mix only until you don’t see white flour in the bowl. Over mixing will result in tough cake. The batter will look very thick at this point.
  • Now slowly fold in the egg whites into the cake batter. Mix until the egg whites are thoroughly incorporated, or you will have large air holes in the cake.
  • Transfer the batter to the greased bundt pan and bake in the center of your oven, for 55 minutes-1 hour. Check for doneness using a clean dry knife or a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  • Remove the pan and place on a cooling rack. Cool the cake in the pan for 20-25 minutes. Then carefully loosen the edges and remove the cake onto a serving plate. Make sure the serving plate has a rim, because we will be pouring some syrup onto the cake.
  • Deeply and repeatedly pierce the top of the cake with a very thin skewer. Be careful to not break the cake though!
  • Spoon the warm orange sauce over the cake slowly. The cake is quite spongy and will absord a lot of syrup. Drench the cake once and the wait for a while, about 5 minutes. Then repeat the process until you have used up all of your syrup (see note in the syrup recipe below)

Tip: The cake can sag a little bit because of the weight of the liquid. To prevent this, use a 9 inch spring foam ring to secure the cake before drenching it in syrup. Leave on the ring for 15-20 minutes, until the cake absorbs all of the syrup uniformly. This will help in maintaining the shape of the cake.

  • When the syrup has been absorbed by the cake, drizzle the top of the cake with the cream cheese glaze (scroll down for recipe). Serve at room temperature or cold. Store the cake, covered, in a refrigerator for up to 2 days.

For the syrup:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat on low, until the sugar dissolves. Then bring the sauce to a rolling boil and remove from heat. Let it cool for a little bit. The syrup should be warm when you are pouring it over your cake.
  • If you are using grand marnier, add it after removing the syrup from the heat.

I like to make some extra syrup and reserve it for serving time. Cut the cake into slices and pass the syrup around the table. A drizzle of syrup over the cake makes it even more yummy!

For the glaze:

  • Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and light.
  • Mix in the milk gradually. Your aim is to achieve a pourable consistency. It should be pourable but not so thin that it will roll off the cake completely. You want it to be thick enough to coat the top of the cake and then drip over the edges. (God, I hope I made sense with the previous statement).

Tip: You can add in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract to the glaze, it is optional for this cake though.

Hope you all have a great weekend!!

And here’s a slice, for you :)


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Strawberry Upside Down Cake – Purely Decadent!!

Carrot-Apple-Choco Cake with Pancake syrup Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Buttercream frosting

Vanilla (Yellow) Cake with Fresh Lemon Frosting

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