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Embrace Fresh Citrus with These Orange Dessert Recipes

Slices of blood orange cake; a cake topped with yogurt and honey; pink-glazed doughnuts
Two Cups Flour/Emma Duckworth Bakes/Tutti Dolci

Spot some beautiful oranges at the grocery store but don’t have a use for them? Try one of these sweet, tart, and just plain tasty orange desserts.

Oranges are one of those versatile foods that taste just as delicious by themselves as they do when incorporated into a dish. When they’re in season, oranges make a fantastic flavor base for lots of desserts, from easy muffins to complex layer cakes. These nine orange-centric recipes are the perfect way to satisfy your citrus craving.

Gluten-Free Orange Almond Cake

An orange almond cake toppped with yogurt, honey, and pistachios
Emma Duckworth Bakes

Orange is the perfect flavor for this very European Gluten-Free Orange Almond Cake. Made with almond meal instead of regular flour, it’s a moist, tender sponge cake that’s not too sweet.

Instead, it’s fragrant and flavorful, with orange and almond in the cake itself, combined with a tangy Greek yogurt, honey, and pistachio topping. You’ll feel like you’re enjoying this decadent dessert in a European cafe.

Orange Coconut Muffins

Three orange coconut muffins on a plate; a muffin broken open with a slice of blood orange on a plate
Two Cups Flour

Give your morning a hint of citrus and tropical flair with these Orange Coconut Muffins. Blood orange and coconut pair beautifully, along with the secret ingredient: a mashed ripe banana! These ingredients produce a muffin that’s soft and subtle, with just the right amount of texture. A tiny bit of sugar sprinkled on top finishes them off with a hint of crunch.

You can bake these in a regular tin with regular cupcake wrappers, but if you want taller muffins, try tulip baking wrappers. They’ll encourage your muffins to bake higher, rather than forming a low, wide top.

TRUSBER Tulip Cupcake Liners

Get taller muffins without having to buy a new pan.

Orange Almond Bundt Cake

A bundt cake on a silver elevated cake plate; overhead view of cake slices on plates with forks
Ana’s Baking Chronicles

One of the most popular (and delicious) flavor pairings with orange is almond, and it’s easy to taste why in recipes like this Orange Almond Bundt Cake with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Glaze.

The sharp tang of orange pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the almonds. Instead of a typical light glaze, however, this recipe takes things to another level. The mascarpone cream cheese glaze brings out the flavors of the cake even more, without overpowering it.

The key to the perfect Bundt cake is a good Bundt pan. You can’t go wrong with this high-quality pan from Nordic Ware. The crisp swirl pattern is ideal for catching every drop of glaze, and it also bakes evenly, and cleans up easily.

Orange Rolls

A tray of orange rolls with the corner roll pulled out; overhead view of frosted orange rolls
Tutti Dolci

Cinnamon rolls are always delicious, but these Orange Rolls really take things to another level. The process is the same you’re used to for making cinnamon rolls, but with a citrus twist.

Instead of a cinnamon sugar filling, you’ll fill the sweet, yeasted dough with a creamy orange filling. You can even use the filling as frosting for a sticky, sweet, perfect finish.

Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Cake

A chocolate orange layer cake with a slice cut out; a slice of chocolate orange cake sitting on a plate
Baran Bakery

If you’ve never tried combining orange and chocolate, what are you waiting for? This Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Cake puts a different spin on these two popular flavors for a rich, elegant treat.

The dark chocolate cake batter gets an infusion of tangy, just-sweet-enough blood orange. Then, to up the ante even further, you frost with a blood orange buttercream and finish it all off with a beautifully poured, dark-chocolate ganache. For anyone looking for a dessert with an intense, but less sweet, flavor, this will be a surefire hit.

Orange Madeleines

Two sets of orange madeleines; one with a pink blood orange glaze and the other with a white orange zest glaze
Emma Duckworth Bakes

Madeleines look a lot fancier than they actually are. Creating these light, citrusy Orange Madeleines will make you feel like an expert pastry chef. The light genoise sponge cake is flavored with fresh orange juice, and then baked into its iconic shape.

You can choose your favorite kind of orange, as well! From classic navel to vibrant blood oranges, any of them will work. Then, just add the sweet glaze for a beautiful, tasty finish.

To get the raised seashell shape that defines madeleines, you’ll need a special pan. This 12-cup option from Bellemain features a carbon-steel, nonstick surface for clear, perfectly formed ridges to catch the icing. The shallow design will also help the batter bake into that signature “puff” on the non-ridged side for pro-looking results.

Bellemain 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan

Bake perfectly formed madeleines every time.

Upside-Down Blood Orange Buttermilk Cake

Slices of blood orange upside down cake on green plates, on green counters
Two Cups Flour

You’ve had pineapple upside-down cake, but how about an Upside-Down Blood Orange Buttermilk Cake? It’s soft, with just the right amount of sweetness and flavor.

The real star, of course, is the blood orange upside-down layer. A sprinkling of sugar and a layer of thinly sliced blood oranges baked into the sticky, vibrant, tasty topping, make for a wonderful, subtly flavored dessert.

Cranberry Orange Cake

Two slices of orange cake with cranberry filling, white frosting, and an orange slice and berries on top
Baker by Nature

For a dessert with a little more tang, pair your oranges with cranberries, in this—you guessed it—Cranberry Orange Cake. Layers of zesty orange cake and a subtle, but fragrant, orange frosting combine beautifully with tangy cranberries.

The real secret, though, is the middle layer: a freshly-made cranberry-orange marmalade, which balances the sweet with the tangy for a unique, fresh flavor.

Blood Orange Ricotta Doughnuts

A tray of doughnuts with an orange glaze; a doughnut with a bite taken out and a spoon of pink frosting next to it
Tutti Dolci

Making your own doughnuts might seem intimidating at first, but there’s nothing scary about these Blood Orange Ricotta Doughnuts. Buttermilk and ricotta give these doughnuts a light, moist texture.

Even better for newbie doughnut makers, these are baked, not fried, so no stressing over oil temperature and using a fryer. Finally, you top these babies with a blood-orange glaze for a pop of citrus flavor (and vivid pink color) in every bite.

As you probably guessed, making doughnuts does require a special pan, like this set from Wilton. They’re nonstick and made of alloy steel for even heating.

Wilton Nonstick Six-Cavity Donut Baking Pans

Master the art of making doughnuts.


If you’re tempted by those in-season oranges in the produce section, bag ’em up! Armed with these decadent dessert recipes, you’ll use them all up in no time, and be heading back for more.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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