Fresh Tangerine Cake

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tangerine cake 1

This sunny Fresh Tangerine Cake is guaranteed to get your morning off to a better start — the cake is moist and buttery and the icing bursts with fresh tangerine flavor!

Fresh Tangerine Cake with a slice taken outDSC_0028D

This has to be a quick post —  there’s so much to do this week, but I thought you’d appreciate this sunny Fresh Tangerine Cake.  It’s got a light pound cake type of texture, and good clear tangerine flavor.  Tangerines are one of my favorite citrus fruits, that distinctive aroma hits you the minute you touch one, and we instinctively bring them right up to our nose.  Once you break the peel all those essential oils burst out.  This cake uses the zest of several fruits to really play up that wonderful tangerine essence.

Slices of Fresh Tangerine Cake on plates

This easy breakfast cake is great for an almost winter morning pick me up.  We’ve got four more days till it’s officially winter, and not many more until Christmas.  I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off.


If you prefer a pound cake texture, try my Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake.  And if you are eating gluten free, my Whole Tangerine Cake is epic.  It’s made with the whole fruit, peels and all.  I also make great Tangerine Poppy Seed Pancakes.  (I told you I love tangerines 😉

A slice of Fresh Tangerine Cake

Tips for success:

  1. The cake batter comes together best when the ingredients are at room temperature.  If your butter is cold you can cut it in three or four pieces and microwave it for 10 to 15 seconds to soften.  For cold eggs, submerge them in warm water while you cream the butter and sugar.
  2. For true orange flavor in baked goods, you need lots of zest, and the orange extract.  The juice alone won’t do it.  A ZESTING TOOL works better than a box grater for this job.  Orange extract has a real fresh orange taste, and is fairly easy to find in good stores.  You can also buy it online, HERE.
  3. This cake is best eaten within a day or two.

Fresh Tangerine Cake square

tangerine cake 1
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3 from 19 votes

FreshTangerine Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour use the fluff, scoop and level method of measuring
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice about 1
  • 1/4 cut buttermilk
  • zest of 3 tangerines don't skimp
  • 3/4 tsp orange extract
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

for the frosting

  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/8 cup fresh tangerine juice
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar sifted
  • zest of 1 tangerine


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter and the sugar together until fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the zest and extracts.
  • Mix the tangerine juice with the buttermilk.
  • Add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients to the mixer, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. If using a stand mixer, give it a final stir by hand.
  • Turn the batter into a 8x8 square baking pan. I line mine with parchment paper with overlapping edges for easy removal. If you don't use parchment, lightly spray the pan.
  • Bake for approximately 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Let cool before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, beat the creme fraiche and tangerine juice together, along with the extract. Add enough confectioner's sugar to make a nice spreadable frosting. Add more juice if it is too thick.
  • Frost the cooled cake and top liberally with the tangerine zest.


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  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    This sounds fabulous, and is so pretty!

    • Reply
      December 7, 2018 at 10:22 am

      I love the pop of color from the orange zest.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Hello from (very snowy) Switzerland. It was my middle daughter’s fourth birthday party this afternoon, and, for some reason, she asked for a tangerine cake. I googled, and came across your recipe, and am so glad I did! Well, except that it’s all gone… my ex-husband, who hates cake, ate the last slice. I shall be keeping the recipe handy. My only change was to use sour milk, since I couldn’t find buttermilk here.

    Thank you very much for a great recipe!

    • Reply
      January 31, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      You’re so welcome — I’m happy to have helped with that birthday party, and I’m impressed that your daughter would ask for a tangerine cake! Isn’t google wonderful?

  • Reply
    April 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I baked this cake recipe and took 4 minutes off the cooking time just in case my oven varied quite a bit and it was still VERY VERY over done. Not complaining per se, but just as a note to your other readers, tend to the baking time closely because it didn’t work for me. 🙂 I also found the cake to be a little on the greasy/waxy side of texture rather than tender and moist. Not sure if that was due to the butter/sugar ratio or what. It did have a great citrus flavor and so I’d try baking it again at a lower time and see if that solved the over baking and texture issues I had.

    • Reply
      April 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Hi Ollie— ovens can vary quite a bit, I keep a thermometer in mine at all times now, so the temp could have been an issue with yours.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    This looks DIVINE!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    tangerine sounds like a refreshing change. yum!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I’m unprepared for Christmas too! This gorgeous cake would definitely ease my frazzled nerves. 😀

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 5:18 am

    to me, tangerines taste of christmas and I would have this any day over a christmas cake… lovely stuff!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    December 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I love citrus desserts and your cake is beautiful – the frosting looks heavenly!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    December 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Tangerines so remind me of a northern hemisphere Christmas. Still at work so haven’t started the chicken running yet!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Oh, it looks so light and delicious! But it was on my list to make your gingerbread cookies this week – don’t know if I have the calories for a cake too!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Tangerines and clementines are possibly my favorite ever winter fruit, so I’m super excited to see this cake! It sounds so fresh and delicious. Hooray!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Lovely cake! My stepson who arrives today to be with us for a few days is a tangerine-addict! I bet he would love this… now, if only I had the energy to bake it… I should really take a day or two off work… (sigh)