Orange Poke Cake with Honey-Orange Glaze

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Orange Juice Cake with Honey-Orange Glaze — BOLD orange flavor in this EASY, 100% scratch, no mixer poke cake!! Orange juice, orange extract, and orange zest make this cake the BEST way ever to get your Vitamin C!!

slice of orange juice cake on white plate with fork resting in front of it

Easy Orange Juice Cake

If you love oranges and orange-flavored foods, you’re going to be in love with this orange bomb of a cake. I worked in orange in three ways: orange juice in both the batter and glaze, orange extract in the batter, and orange zest both in the batter and sprinkled on top. Holy orange. Best way ever to get your Vitamin C!

I used my favorite, foolproof, no mixer, buttermilk cake recipe that I also used for Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon GlazeThe Best Pineapple Upside-Down CakeCaramelized Banana Upside-Down CakeVanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze, Homemade Funfetti Cake, and many more.

I love this cake base because it’s fast, easy, and the cakes always turn out supremely moist, springy, and fluffy thanks to buttermilk, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and oil. That trifecta of moisturizing and tenderizing ingredients makes it impossible to have a dry cake. Not to mention it’s a poke cake. They’re never dry.

This super soft, moist, and easy poke cake is completely from scratch. I have a lot of poke cake recipes and many start with a box of cake mix, but not this one.

The orange glaze for the cake is very sweet thanks to the honey and confectioners’ sugar. On its own, it’s ridiculously sweet but the slight tartness of the orange zest and the cake itself help balance it. But if you’re a person who doesn’t have a big sweet tooth, this probably isn’t the cake for you.

After baking, poke holes all over the cake with a fork and let the glaze seep in and work its magic. It’s a great make-ahead cake because the cake tastes even better after the glaze has had a chance to seep in and set up overnight.

orange juice cake in square foil-lined baking dish

What’s in Orange Juice Cake? 

To make the orange cake and the orange glaze, you’ll need: 

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Orange juice and zest
  • Egg
  • Buttermilk
  • Sour cream
  • Canola oil
  • Orange extract
  • Honey
  • Unsalted butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar

slice of orange cake with orange glaze on white plate

How to Make Orange Juice Cake

Simply whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Turn the batter into a foil-lined 8×8-inch baking dish and bake until done. 

As soon as the orange cake comes out of the oven, poke it all over with a fork. Whisk together the orange glaze for the cake, then evenly pour over the still-warm cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with orange zest, then let rest for 1 hour before serving. 

Can I Use a Buttermilk Substitute? 

You absolutely need to use buttermilk, not another type of milk. I wouldn’t try to makeshift the DIY methods of making buttermilk that sometimes work in a pinch. I wouldn’t risk it here. Trader Joe’s has the cheapest buttermilk in my area. And just think, you can make all those other cakes that I listed above with your leftover buttermilk.

How to Store Orange Juice Cake

This orange poke cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Orange Poke Cake with Honey-Orange Glaze - BOLD orange flavor in this EASY, 100% scratch, no mixer poke cake!! Orange juice, orange extract, and orange zest make this cake the BEST way ever to get your Vitamin C!!

Tips for Making Orange Poke Cake

If possible, use freshly squeezed orange juice to make this orange cake recipe. Bottled orange juice isn’t as light and fresh tasting. 

Also, be sure to wash your oranges with warm water before zesting them. You don’t want to zest anything nasty into your orange juice cake! 

This orange cake with orange glaze can be prepped a day in advance and enjoyed the next day. It actually tastes better after it’s had some time to rest, and it doesn’t dry out since the orange glaze seeps into the cake. 

Orange Juice Cake with Honey-Orange Glaze — BOLD orange flavor in this EASY, 100% scratch, no mixer poke cake!! Orange juice, orange extract, and orange zest make this cake the BEST way ever to get your Vitamin C!!

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4.66 from 23 votes

Orange Poke Cake with Honey-Orange Glaze

By Averie Sunshine
BOLD orange flavor in this EASY, 100% scratch poke cake!! Orange juice, orange extract, and orange zest make this cake the BEST way to get your Vitamin C!!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 9
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Ingredients  

Orange Cake

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • cup sour cream, lite is okay or plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract, vanilla extract may be substituted

Honey-Orange Glaze

  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • about 2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, or as necessary for consistency
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons orange zest, or to taste

Instructions 

Make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • To a large bowl, add the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and whisk to combine.
  • Whisk in the orange zest; set aside.
  • To a separate medium bowl, add the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, orange juice, oil, orange extract, and whisk to combine.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon or folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth.
  • Turn batter out into prepared pan and bake for about 27 to 30 minutes, or until center is set and not jiggly, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  • Using a fork, stab the cake about 50 times, making small holes all over the cake.
  • Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool. While cake cools, make the glaze.

Make the Glaze:

  • To a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the orange juice, honey, butter, and heat for about 1 minute, or until butter has melted and mixture is just beginning to show signs of boiling.
  • Add the confectioners' sugar and whisk until smooth. If necessary, add additional sugar to reach desired glaze consistency; glaze should be easily pourable.
  • Slowly and evenly pour glaze over cake (cake doesn’t have to be fully cooled), smoothing it lightly with a spatula if necessary, but glaze will likely just slide into place. Glaze will soak into the holes as time passes.
  • Evenly sprinkle with the orange zest and allow cake to cool in pan uncovered for at least 1 hour (or overnight and cover with a sheet of foil) before slicing and serving so glaze can set up, although this is a soft glaze that doesn't ever fully harden because of the honey.

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 478kcal, Carbohydrates: 100g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 265mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 84g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Orange Desserts:

Favorite POKE CAKE RECIPES

Orange Crush Poke Cake — Bold Orange Crush flavor in this easy cake that’s super moist and light! The kid in all of us will love this orange tie-dyed cake!

Orange Crush Poke Cake - Bold Orange Crush flavor in this EASY cake that's super moist and light!! The kid in all of us will LOVE this orange tie-dyed cake!!

Orange Lemon Orangies –  Like brownies, but made with orange, lemon, and white chocolate!! Fast, EASY, dense, chewy, and packed with big, BOLD citrus flavor!!

Stacked Orange Lemon Orangies with bite taken out of one

Orange Olive Oil Cake — A super soft and moist cake that’s made with olive oil!! Orange zest, orange juice, and Gran Marnier add tons of AMAZING orange flavor to this easy, no-mixer cake that’s unique, refined, and INCREDIBLE!!

Slice of Orange Olive Oil Cake with fork holding bite

The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls – The softest, lightest, and most irresistible rolls ever! Try them and you’ll be a believer, too!

The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls - The softest, lightest, and most irresistible rolls ever! Try them and you'll be a believer, too!

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Softbatch Cookies – Cookies that taste like Orange Creamsicles! Loaded with white chocolate and so easy!

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Softbatch Cookies - Cookies that taste like Orange Creamsicles! Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

Cranberry Orange Bread — The fresh cranberries in this cranberry orange bread contrast nicely with the sweet orange glaze, making it the perfect blend of sweet and tart!

Close up of sliced Cranberry Orange Bread 

4.66 from 23 votes (17 ratings without comment)

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    YUMMM!!!!!!!!! SO SO good! Any suggestions of changes (if any) that I should make in order to make cupcakes with this recipe (oven temp change, bake time change, ingredient tweek, etc)? Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad you loved it! Normally cupcakes take about 20-ish minutes to bake cupcakes. Not sure how well the ‘poke cake’ concept will translate into cupcakes since they are individual vs. a whole pan, but it’s worth a try. Good luck!

  2. 5 stars
    YUMMM!!!!!!!!! SO SO good! Any suggestions of changes (if any) that I should make in order to make cupcakes with this recipe (oven temp change, bake time change, ingredient tweek, etc)? Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Averie-
    I just made this delicious cake to bring to an Easter celebration. I admit I had to try a tiny slice while it was still warm and I know it will even be more fabulous tasting when it cools and sets. I seem to make difficult desserts so this is so easy with less time , steps and dishes, I love it. Thank you for share your recipe. I plan on trying your Vanilla cake w/vanilla bean browned butter glaze next. ;-P

    1. Thanks for the five star review and glad this turned out great and I’m sure everyone loved it!

      The Vanilla cake w/vanilla bean browned butter glaze is to die for! LMK how it goes.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Averie-
    I just made this delicious cake to bring to an Easter celebration. I admit I had to try a tiny slice while it was still warm and I know it will even be more fabulous tasting when it cools and sets. I seem to make difficult desserts so this is so easy with less time , steps and dishes, I love it. Thank you for share your recipe. I plan on trying your Vanilla cake w/vanilla bean browned butter glaze next. ;-P

  5. 5 stars
    This was an easy recipe and turned out great! I heeded the warning about the glaze being very sweet and I don’t like to make incredibly sweet desserts so I used about 2.5 tablespoons of honey and only about 1.25 cups powdered sugar and then I thickened with a little bit of cornstarch. Got a lot of compliments at the party I brought it to.

  6. 5 stars
    This was an easy recipe and turned out great! I heeded the warning about the glaze being very sweet and I don’t like to make incredibly sweet desserts so I used about 2.5 tablespoons of honey and only about 1.25 cups powdered sugar and then I thickened with a little bit of cornstarch. Got a lot of compliments at the party I brought it to.

  7. This recipe sounds fabulous, but I’m wondering why the aluminum foil versus parchment paper is used to line the pan?

    1. I find it hard to get tight corners with parchment and for baking I generally prefer foil for that reason.

  8. Citrus zest is so good for adding a punch of flavor (and it is visually appealing too). This looks and sounds delicious–especially with buttermilk and yogurt in the batter!