Vegan Orange Blossom Layer Cake

Last Sunday was amazing.  By amazing, I don't mean I did anything out of the ordinary like traveling to a warm place away from Minnesota and having a crazy weekend.  I mean amazing in the sense that I enjoyed all of the little normal things I did and was grateful to be able to enjoy them.  We are having a particularly warm weather stretch this last 2 weeks, and it was total ice and snow melt down.  35F degrees in January is freaking awesome!  I was excited to go running not all bundled up with clear paths in the sunshine!  Just being out made me happy.  Then later that day, enjoying more fresh air on a walk with Eric and seeing the most beautiful raspberry smoothie colored sunset! Yes, that is how I describe my favorite sunsets here.

Not only did I get out and enjoy the great outdoors, I made this fabulous vegan layer cake as well.  Involving oranges as the main component...which are amazing this time of the year.  But not only that, I made a frosting with cacao butter in it that tasted like white chocolate!  Normally I do not have cacao butter in my pantry, but I decided to splurge a little and use it sparingly.

This cake smelled amazing while it was baking, the aromas of orange and vanilla filled my home.  If a smell can bring you joy, this one definitely does. The cake itself even un-frosted tasted wonderful. How do I know this?  Yes I ate all the trimmings because that is one of the best parts of being a baker.  Once the frosting was added I knew it would be even more heavenly.  Not only did I add that white chocolate component to the frosting, I added a touch of orange flower water as well to make the cake even more aromatic.  This cake tasted like happiness. It was a wonderful contribution to my amazing day.  See what I mean?  I did nothing out of the ordinary and it all made me happy.  That is how life should be.  Enjoy the little things.

Vegan Orange Blossom Layer Cake
Makes 1 6 inch 4 layer cake

2 6 inch cake pans

Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • 2 Tbsp organic orange zest
  • 1 cup orange juice (at room temperature)
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar

 

Frosting:

  • 4 cups young coconut meat*
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked at least 4 hours and drained well
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 3/4 cup raw coconut nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/2  tsp sea salt
  • seeds of one vanilla bean, or 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange flower water
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter, warmed to liquid
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao butter, warmed to liquid

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Line two six-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides lightly with coconut oil so that the cake doesn't stick.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda, sea salt, and sugar in a large bowl to blend well.
  3. Whisk oil , zest, orange juice, vanilla extract together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended.
  4. Transfer cake batter to prepared pan and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
  5. Cool cake completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour. Cut around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake out onto platter; peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely, then place in the fridge to chill until very cold to make slicing easier. When chilled, slice cakes horizontally in half so that you have 4 layers.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine all ingredients but the coconut butter and cacao butter in a high speed blender or food processor and process until smooth.  With the motor running, add the coconut butter and cacao butter and process a minute more.  Pour the frosting into a bowl and let sit in the fridge until the consistency of whipped cream.
  7. When ready to frost, place one cake layer on a plate. spread frosting about 1/2 inch thick over the first layer, then top with the second.  Repeat the frosting, then another cake layer, then more frosting then the last cake layer. Spread frosting over the top and down the sides of the cake.  Store cake in the fridge.

*If you do not have access to young coconut meat, you can use 4 cups soaked cashews instead along with the other cashews.

**if you would like a 4 layer 9 inch cake, double this entire recipe and bake in two 9 inch cake pans.

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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

14 Comments
  1. January 26, 2015 at 06:50
    Reply

    Hi, let me just begin by saying I love your blog! Your creativity is an inspiration to me! One question, since I have a partner that cannot handle coconut flavour, and I find coconut butterto be the most coconuty fflavorful of all coconut products, what can I substitute it with?

    • January 26, 2015 at 15:44
      Reply

      Thank you :)! Unfortunately coconut butter or oil is the only thing that will work in this frosting recipe to thicken it that I can think of. Sorry.

  2. Anonymous
    January 26, 2015 at 12:57
    Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It looks delicious!<br />I have a question, "3/4 raw coconut nectar, maple syrup or agave nectar", what does 3/4 refers to? I'm guessing cups?<br />

    • January 26, 2015 at 15:44
      Reply

      You are so welcome :)! It refers to 3/4 cup. I have fixed the typo.

  3. June 29, 2015 at 17:03
    Reply

    This looks delicious! Have you tried this recipe in cupcake form? If so, did you have to make any ingredient adjustments, and what baking time worked best?

    • June 29, 2015 at 20:01
      Reply

      I haven't tried this exact recipe in cupcake form, but ones that are very similar. You will end up with about 16 cupcakes (depending on your tin size), and they will take about 20 minutes to bake (or a little more) depending on your oven. For the frosting recipe, you only need to make a half batch and you will still have a generous amount of frosting for each cupcake.

  4. Lynne
    April 29, 2016 at 11:18
    Reply

    I have tried a lot of your cheesecakes that have been wonderful and this looks lovely but it went horribly wrong! I did it exactly as described - using coconut flour, but the mix curdled, it didn't seem to cook properly, and oil poured out of the bottom of the cake tins. What have I done wrong? My guest arrives tomorrow!

    • April 29, 2016 at 12:04
      Reply

      I am sorry to hear that. Coconut flour is not listed in the recipe however, I used all purpose gluten free flour. Coconut flour is not an acceptable substitute here for the cake batter. Also, possibly your coconut oil was not warm enough and you used cold orange juice, which could cause the oil to clump up (all ingredients must be at room temperature, besides the coconut oil, which must be warm). I am guessing it is the coconut flour that is the problem though, it messes with the moisture levels in the cake. Also, regular pans are needed in this case, not spring form. I hope that all helps :)!

  5. Kylie
    August 25, 2016 at 11:34
    Reply

    I tried to make this for a dinner party but I failed. Was I supposed to maybe mix the vinegar with the baking soda? It just didn't rise and was heavy and stodgy. I wasted expensive ingredients :(

    • August 25, 2016 at 12:35
      Reply

      You most likely mixed the batter too much. Only briefly mix it long enough to see swirls in the batter (which is how you know it is working). I have never had a problem with this cake rising before but I never overmix. Also, maybe your baking soda or powder were expired? That is a possibility too.

  6. lisa
    January 4, 2019 at 13:31
    Reply

    hello, didn't have eggs on hand so I thought I would give a vegan recipe a shot ! I was wondering if I could sub coconut oil for another type of fat like sunflower seed oil and if I can use whole wheat white flour instead of the gluten free flour ? Thank You !

    • January 4, 2019 at 18:06
      Reply

      Yes, you can use a different oil. I use avocado a lot in my recipes like this if I want the cake to stay softer when chilled (coconut oil gets hard when chilled), so I would think that sunflower would work out perfect. And, you could use whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour and it would work as well!

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