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Moist and delicious Sunny Citrus Cake with the bright summer flavors of lemon, lime and orange!
We loaded up on the citrus in this lovely little cake.
This cake has both lemon juice and orange juice in the batter and tons of zest so you’re sure to get a blast of citrus in every bite. Add another punch of flavor with a simple glaze made with lemon, lime or orange juice. Top with your favorite candied fruit for a delightful dessert great for any occasion.
This Sunny Citrus Cake is good enough to eat plain, dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with a simple glaze.
Our Sunny Citrus Cake recipe has been a long time coming. It’s been tweaked and tested to perfection! We’ve eaten it plain, with powdered sugar on top and drizzled with a glaze too; it’s all good! I knew with absolute certainty that I didn’t want a dry cake with little or no citrus flavor. However, working with large amounts of citrus juice in baked goods can be a bit tricky.
Tart, acidic juice must be balanced with the right kind of rich fat or you’ll lose the moist sweetness everybody wants in a good slice of cake. We finally dialed in the right combination and ended up with a recipe that will be a favorite in our family for years to come. And it’s so easy to make too, even beginner bakers can do it!
Serve this Sunny Citrus Cake with candied orange slices for a delicious and pretty presentation.
When topped with candied fruit, this cake is best eaten the day it is made. For longer storage, skip the candied fruit or add a little to each slice as it’s served. It’s not a deal breaker! Candied orange slices are delicious and taste just like marmalade. The leftover simple syrup used to make the fruit is a great way to sweeten smoothies, tea and cocktails too!
This cake is baked in an 8-inch springform pan for easy removal.
If you don’t have an 8-inch springform pan you can bake this cake in a 9-inch springform, or a deep-sided 9-inch round or square pan. Be sure to adjust the baking time accordingly. Because this is a thick single layer cake, we bake at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. This helps prevent the outside from over-baking and drying out leaving the middle under-baked and wet.
If using 9-inch pans, you can bake the cake at 350F instead of the 325F noted in the printable recipe.
We hope you enjoy this little cake with the big citrus flavor. Add some sunshine to your brunch, lunch or dinner, or surprise your mum on Mother’s Day!
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PRINT THE RECIPE!
Sunny Citrus Cake
For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- zest from 2 lemons
- zest from 1 orange
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, strained
- ½ cup fresh orange juice, strained
For the candied citrus:
- thin sliced oranges, lemons or limes
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, or orange or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon boiling water if needed to thin
To prepare the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Invert the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan (to make it easier to slide the cake off the bottom) then lock on the sides of the pan. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of the pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the butter, lemon and orange zests and sugar. Beat on medium for several minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs, one at a time and blend just until the yolk disappears. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and blend again.
- In a measuring cup with a spout, combine the vanilla, sour cream, lemon juice and orange juice and stir to combine (the mixtures may seem curdled). Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat on low until incorporated. Add ⅓ of the juice mixture and blend until smooth. Do not over beat. Repeat adding ½ of the remaining flour, then ½ of the remaining juice until both are incorporated. Add the last of the flour and juice and blend once more. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and gently stir with a spatula once more.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. A few moist crumbs is okay - but no wet batter.
- Cool the cake on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before removing the sides. Cool completely before glazing.
To prepare the candied citrus:
- Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a deep saucepan or skillet large enough to hold the sliced citrus in a single layer. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Add the sliced citrus and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice until tender, but not falling apart. Remove to a wire rack to cool. The remaining simple syrup can be refrigerated and used to sweeten smoothies, tea or cocktails.
To prepare the glaze:
- Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Add boiling water or additional sugar until you reach the desired pourable consistency. Drizzle over the cake and top with candied citrus if desired.
- This cake can be baked in a deep 9-inch regular cake pan if desired. Decrease the baking time accordingly.
Finally, here are a few more of our favorite recipes featuring bright and delicious oranges:
A ray of sunshine on a plate! You’re going to love this moist and tender Orange Marmalade Cake. Click HERE to get the recipe for Orange Marmalade Cake.
This Orange Barbecue Grilled Chicken Recipe is deliciously different and a breeze to throw together. We love the bright orange flavor and the hint of ginger and pineapple juice in the sauce. It’s lip smacking good! Click HERE to get the recipe for Orange Barbecue Grilled Chicken.
Orange Creamsicle No-Bake Cheesecake in a jar – enjoy this fun, light, bright and creamy summer make-ahead dessert great for entertaining! Click HERE to get the recipe for these Orange Creamsicle No-Bake Cheesecakes in a jar.