orange crunch cake

I have a confession to make.  I am a recipe addict.  Seriously, I could look at recipes all day, all night, every day of the week.  I love reading through the combinations of ingredients, different proportions of each ingredient, and reading the different techniques of cooking and baking to end up with a final dish.  Too bad for me, I don’t have time to read recipes all day.  Nope.  Instead of spending my days reading and making recipes like I would be in my dream-life, I have to study for boards so I can be licensed to work my big-girl job.  

Since my recipe-reading and cooking time has to be condensed (I never said I was giving it up!), I have to be methodical about what recipes that I read and which ones I pass by.  When I see recipes with the words no-sugar, low-sugar, wasabi, rose water(what is it anyway?!), fried, gluten-free, pickled, or apricot, I don’t give them a second look.  On the other hand, I am immediately drawn to recipes with the words chipotle, roasted garlic, fluffy, cream cheese, banana, stuffed, cinnamon, oatmeal, decadent, chocolate, and crunch.

Case in point: Orange Crunch Cake.  When I saw this cake on Gingerbread and Bagels, I made it the very next day.  It was everything I envisioned it to be.  The orange cakes were citrusy and fluffy (key word!) and the crunch layers were such a fun surprise in the middle of the cake.  Then there was the frosting.  Orange vanilla cream cheese frosting to be exact.  It was sweet, tangy, and had the perfect hint of orange to complement the cake.  Easily one of my favorite cakes ever.  It’s a great cake for the summer, with its citrus highlights and will easily please a crowd.  

Orange Crunch Cake
slightly adapted from Gingerbread and Bagels

1 cup graham crackers (7 sheets)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp orange zest
3 large eggs

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp orange zest


To make the crunch: place graham crackers in food processor and pulse until coarsley ground.  Add them to almonds and brown sugar and stir with fork to mix.  Add butter, then use fork or fingers to mix together until everything is mixed.  

Lightly grease 2 9-inch cake pans, and divide crunch mixture evenly between the two pans.  Spread the crunch mixture evenly among the bottom of the pans, then lightly press it down.  Set aside.  

To make the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt and stir well.  Set aside.  In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat together sugar, milk, orange juice, oil, vanilla, and zest.  Add the eggs and mix to combine.  Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until almost combined.  Then remove electric mixer paddle, and finish stirring with wooden spoon.  Don’t overmix.  

Divide the batter evenly among the two prepared pans.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until a knife inserted in middle of cake comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Run a knife along the sides of each cake then carefully remove them from the pans by inverting the pans onto a cooling rack.  Let the cakes completely cool, about an hour.  

To make the frosting:  beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla extract.  Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  

To assemble the cake: take one cake and place it crunch side up.  Spread a thick layer of frosting along crunch layer, allowing it to run over the edge to make sure entire top is frosted.  Place second cake crunch side down on top of frosting.  Finish frosting entire cake with remaining frosting.  

I let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the frosting “set up” a bit before serving, but this can be served right away.  Enjoy!  

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  1. says

    glad i’m not the only recipe addict out there! my brother mocks me but what can I say? it’s a passion! :) i saw this cake on lindsay’s site and thought it looked so good—glad to know you agreed!

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