Orange marmalade cake stacks three layers of vanilla cake soaked with ginger liqueur, filled with Seville orange marmalade and lightly frosted with orange blossom buttercream.
The movie Paddington Bear was the inspiration for this layered orange marmalade cake. Orange marmalade sandwich was Paddington’s favorite food.
Apparently the UK experienced a spike in marmalade sales following the release of the Paddington Bear movie. I believe it. Days after the movie, I still had marmalade on the mind!
Reasons to Make This Recipe
This is a not-too-sweet floral cake that is perfect for Mother’s Day, mom’s birthday, bridal showers, and baby showers.
The cake is suitable all year round because it does not contain any fresh fruits. All you need a jar of your favorite marmalade! The recipe also works well with lemon curd or passion fruit curd filling in place marmalade.
Key Ingredient Notes
For best results, I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure out ingredients. Measuring by weight ensures consistent results. Alternatively, use the “stir and spoon method” for volume measurements (cups and tablespoons).
- Cake Flour : Enriched, bleached flour made from soft wheat. It has a low protein content, thereby producing a softer cake with a fine crumb. In a pinch, you may sub in all-purpose flour for a denser textured cake. Or, make homemade cake flour by combining AP flour with cornstarch. See recipe notes for details.
- Simple Syrup : Made by boiling equal parts water and sugar. Simple syrup is brushed onto the cake layers to moisten the cake and prevent the cake from drying out.
- Ginger Liqueur : This optional ingredient is used to flavor the simple syrup. Domaine de Canton is the most popular ginger liqueur. Or, if you have time, you can make your own ginger liqueur!
- Orange Blossom Water : Also labeled as orange flower water. It is made from the flower blossoms of bitter orange trees. It is popularly used in French, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. I recommend Cortas orange blossom water. Use with caution! A little goes a long way.
- Orange Marmalade : Most commonly made with Seville oranges. It is a fruit preserve that contains pieces of fruit rind. Marmalade is a popular spread for breads and it often used to make dessert sauces, fillings, and glazes. Sold alongside jams and jellies.
The assembled cake photographed in this post is garnished with fresh orange blossoms and fresh orange tree leaves that I picked from my miniature orange tree.
Every spring it produces tons of little beautiful white buds. I have yet to actually harvest any fruit, but I love the sweet fragrance the blossoms release. Alternatively, fresh jasmine blossoms are an equally beautiful and fragrant substitute.
Sweetened dried orange slices adorn the top of the cake. This can be purchased from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or Sprouts Market.
How to Assemble Layer Cake
- Begin by gathering all the cake components: yellow cake, cake soaking syrup, buttercream, and orange marmalade.
- Place one cake round on cake board (or serving plate). Lightly soak cake with ginger soaking syrup using a pastry brush.
- Use a mini offset spatula to spread a thin layer of buttercream over cake layer.
- Pipe a border of buttercream along the perimeter of the cake. This will act as a barrier to keep the filling trapped inside.
- Spread orange marmalade within the buttercream border. If desired, carefully spread a thin layer of buttercream over marmalade to act as a glue.
- Top with second cake round. Repeat adding soaking syrup, buttercream layer, buttercream border, and marmalade filling.
- Top with final third cake round. Spread a thin layer of buttercream all over the exterior of assembled cake to seal in any cake crumbs. Chill in the fridge to harden buttercream.
- Add another coat of buttercream. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Before serving, garnish cake with dried orange slices and fresh orange blossoms.
Yellow Cake Notes
This orange marmalade cake uses the same yellow cake recipe as this chocolate yellow cake. It is a very versatile cake recipe that compliments a wide variety of flavors.
The recipe makes three 6-inch cake rounds. Alternatively, you make use the recipe to make two 8-inch cake rounds.
To make the yellow cake unique to this marmalade cake, the cake is soaked with a sweet ginger syrup. The syrup is a mixture of simple syrup and ginger liqueur. Scroll down to the next section for other opitons.
Cake Soak Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is a quick and easy liquid sweetener. It is made by boiling equal parts water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
Simple syrup has many uses outside of cake. Use it to sweetened beverages like tea, coffee, or cocktails. It easily mixes into any liquid.
Cake soak syrup is an easy way to add flavor to baked cake layers. This recipe uses a splash of ginger liqueur to pair with the orange marmalade. You may omit the ginger liqueur and swap in a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or half a teaspoon of almond extract.
The syrup helps to ensure the cake stays moist. It also adds another dimension of flavor.
American Buttercream Notes
This recipe uses standard American buttercream, also known as simple buttercream. It is mixture of butter and confectioners’ sugar.
The buttercream is flavored with orange blossom water and vanilla extract.
As mentioned in the key ingredient notes section, orange blossom water is also known as orange flower water. It is popularly used in French, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Be careful when using orange blossom water. A little goes a long way!
Orange blossom water adds a lovely sweet floral flavor. However, if you cannot find this ingredient, you have several options to choose from:
- Use mixture of almond extract and vanilla extract
- Pure orange extract. There are many brands to choose from- Nielsen-Massey, McCormick, or Happy Belly.
- Pure Fiori di Sicilia extract which is traditionally used to flavor panettone.
Cake is much easter to slice when cold. This will result in clean slices. However, cold cake doesn’t taste as good.
Allow cake slices to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes (30-45 minutes is best) before serving. The cake and buttercream will soften during this time.
This tall 6-inch marmalade cake serves 10. Portion the cake into 10 equal sized wedges. Lightly score the top of the cake before cutting into the cake. These scored guidelines will ensure more even slices for everyone.
Cake Storage Instructions
Assembled frosted cake may be stored in the fridge for up 24 hours before serving. Use an airtight container to store sliced cake (or cake slices) in the fridge for up to three days.
It is important to use an airtight container because the buttercream and yellow cake are susceptible to absorbing smells and flavors from your fridge.
You may also combat this by using a small piece of wax paper or parchment paper to cover exposed cake slices. This will also prevent the cake from drying out.
More Recipes with Orange Marmalade
Orange Marmalade Cake
- 2 ½ cups cake flour (300 g), sifted
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar (250 g)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (8 g)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (227 g) cut into tablespoons, softened but still cool to the touch
- ¾ cup whole milk (170 g) room temperature
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg white
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 Tablespoons simple syrup*
- 1 Tablespoon ginger liqueur
Orange Blossom Buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (227 g), softened, room temp
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar (340 g), unsifted
- ½ teaspoon orange blossom water
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Seville orange marmalade, as needed
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 6-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 2 cups flour (reserve remaining 1/2 cup of flour), sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a paddle attachment, run mixer on low speed. With the mixer running, add butter in three additions. Continue to mix on low speed until mixture is crumbly.
- In another bowl, combine milk, eggs, egg white, and vanilla. Add half of liquid to mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until incorporated. Add remaining half of liquid and mix until batter is thoroughly combined. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. The batter may look curdled. Add remaining ½ cup flour and mix until batter comes together.
- Evenly distribute batter among prepared cake pans and level batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Run an offset spatula along the sides of the cake pan to loosen cake. Invert cake onto a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Combine simple syrup* and ginger liqueur before assembling cake.
Orange Blossom Buttercream:
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Scrape down bowl as needed. Add orange blossom water, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Place one cake round on cake board (or serving plate). Lightly soak cake with ginger syrup. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over cake layer. Pipe a border of buttercream along the perimeter of cake. Spread orange marmalade within the buttercream border. If desired, carefully spread thin layer of buttercream over marmalade.
- Top with second cake round and repeat steps.
- Top with third cake round. Spread thin layer of buttercream over third cake. Spread thin layer of buttercream around the exterior of cake to seal in any crumbs. Chill in the fridge to set up. If desired, add another coat of buttercream.
- Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve. Allow cake to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving. Before serving, garnish cake with dried orange slices and fresh orange blossoms.
- Omit ginger liqueur, if desired. Or sub in teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or half a teaspoon of almond extract. Or a mixture of both.
- Orange blossom water may be substituted with: 1) a mixture of almond extract and vanilla extract, 2) pure orange extract, or 3) pure fiori de sicilia extract.
- Traditional Seville orange marmalade is recommended!
- The sweetened dried orange slices are from Trader Joe’s.
- The recipe makes three 6-inch cake rounds. Alternatively, you make use the recipe to make two 8-inch cake rounds.