Citrus Cake

Candied Citrus Cake - Bake from Scratch

The beauty of the Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake is its versatility. You’ll love this bright citrus cake. Save the citrus syrup from your candied oranges and lemons to use as a delicious glaze for cupcakes and muffins. Find more variations on the 1-2-3-4 cake, here

2.0 from 1 reviews
Citrus Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups (300 grams) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground ginger
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Citrus Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: Candied Oranges and Lemons (recipe follows), fresh bay leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Beat in zests. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and ginger. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in extracts. Divide batter between prepared pans (smoothing tops if necessary).
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 28 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Using a serrated knife, cut each layer in half horizontally. Spread Citrus Frosting between layers and on top of cake. Garnish with Candied Oranges and Lemons and bay leaves, if desired.

2.0 from 1 reviews
Citrus Frosting
Makes about 6 cups
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 (2-pound) package (910 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and zests at medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, and beat in cream until frosting is a spreadable consistency. Beat in vanilla.

2.0 from 1 reviews
Candied Oranges and Lemons
  • 1 navel orange
  • 2 small lemons
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Line a jelly-roll pan with wax paper. Cut citrus into ⅛-inch-thick rounds; discard seeds. In a large skillet, heat sugar, ¾ cup water, and lemon juice over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add citrus slices, and simmer gently, keeping slices in a single layer, turning occasionally, until slightly translucent and rinds are softened, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from heat. Using tongs, place slices in a single layer in prepared pan. Let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Sprinkle with additional sugar just before placing on cake. Reserve syrup for another use, if desired.



  1. Is there supposed to be butter in the citrus cream cheese frosting? I made this yesterday, as written here and in the Bake From Scratch cookbook, and the frosting was very gloopy and no way it would be fluffy like in the picture.. After correcting with some butter, was a much nicer consistency and closer to the photo?


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