A Loaf of Vitamin C: The Barefoot Contessa’s Orange Pound Cake

“Loaf” is the name of the imaginary booth I want to open at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. There I would sell all sorts of cakes baked in loaf pans: Amanda Hesser’s Vanilla Bean loaf, The River Cafe’s Pistachio Loaf Cake, their Pine Nut Loaf Cake, the Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Pound Cake and this Orange Pound Cake. Won’t you buy a slice and help me stay in business?

Sometimes my dreams are haunted by Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa). I imagine that one day she discovers the internet, loads up my website and sees that I’ve given away 88% of all of her recipes. My legal education makes me fairly confident that the rule “you can’t copyright the recipe, only the articulation of the recipe” would keep me safe from her clutches; but her husband teaches at Harvard Law. He’d have me for lunch.

But now that I have this “Click To Keep Reading” thing in place, I imagine that Ina’s not clicking below. So I can share the recipe here on the D.L. I’ll use my own words, though, just in case. Except for the ingredient list. That’s hard to put in your own words.

This makes two loaves.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup grated orange zest (6 oranges)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

TO GLAZE ONE LOAF (optional):

1 cup confectiner’s sugar, sifted

1 1/2 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice.

Here are all my orange ingredients in place:


(The juice in the measuring cup is for the batter and the juice in the bowl is for the glaze.)

Ok. So now in my own words I will tell you to heat the oven to 350 and grease and flour two loaf pans. (I used Pam with Flour and that was fine.) Ina tells you to line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Then you cream the butter and 2 cups of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle for 5 minutes (or until it’s fluffy). Put the mixer on medium and add the eggs one at a time and then add the orange zest which’ll make the thing zesty.

Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and salt into a lage bowl. In another bowl you mix 1/4 cup of the orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and the buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide between the two pans, smooth the tops…


and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.


Because my tendency is to underbake things, I let this one bake 55 minutes and it came out a little dry. But don’t underbake either or it’ll be gummy.

Once out of the oven, cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on to a rack. Here you will glaze with an orange syrup you made while it was baking.

You make this syrup by cooking the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup orange juice in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Spoon onto the cakes until the syrup’s gone and then let the cakes cool completely.

Once they’re cool, make the glaze. The glaze is only good for one so wrap one of the cakes in plastic and put in the freezer for future use. Then take 1 cup of confectioners sugar, sift it and add about 2 Tbs of orange juice and whisk until it’s a runny gooey glaze. Drizzle on top of the cake and you’re done!

Now you can cut yourself a slice:


Mmm! It’s tart, buttery, orangey and still warm from the oven. Eat the rest over the week or slice it up the next morning and bring to school to impress your friends. My classmates devoured this Wednesday morning. Will yours?

28 thoughts on “A Loaf of Vitamin C: The Barefoot Contessa’s Orange Pound Cake”

  1. I totally have the fear of Ina! One day I’m going to open my door and she’ll be there, in her Hamptons garb, ready to skewer me with a farm fresh leek for copying all her recipes.

    It can take a lifetime to recover from law school.

  2. Love the new click to continue links, makes loading MUCH easier. Great as always…mmm…might make this loaf for Christmas giveaways.

  3. Adam,

    Do you have a Microplane for grating your zest? It makes zesting sooo much easier. Hopefully you have one, if not GET one. It will change your life.

  4. You are a lover of loaves; do you feel it’s time to add a chocolate loaf to your repertoire? My suggestion would be that you try Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, from How To Be A Domestic Goddess. It might be my all-time favorite chocolate cake, and considering the number of chocolate cakes I’ve made, that’s a bold statement. I just made two for a family birthday, and am having a very hard time holding off and not just slicing right in.

    Love that orange loaf — I’ve made it before, and now you’re inspiring me to want to make it again…

  5. Have you tried her recipe for blueberry-sourcream muffins? So good! I wish she created more recipes that incorporated fresh, raw vegetables, instead of cooked ones (roasted or boiled).

  6. Just a suggestion re the copyright issue – write your measurements in metric. That way you will show great cosmopolitanism and progressiveness as well as communicating more fluently with the non-US world (most of it!) and avoid any legal issues!! It has to be a good idea, surely.

  7. I think that you should register/copyright your LOAF idea, before someone grabs that brilliant idea and runs with it.

  8. I usually bake dozens and dozens of cookies at Christmas to hand out to friends and clients. It’s exhausting. I think I’ll trade the cookie thing for the loaf thing — I just hope people don’t think I’m handing off last year’s fruitcake when they see the package!

  9. I made the Orange Pound Cake today – goodness me, it is tasty. And you helped me to quell the feelings of inadequacy I have about baking. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. I love orange cake. My friend gave me a fabulous recipe that is a lot like this–sans buttermilk but equally fabulous. Was acutally thinking of making so I have something to munch on my Thanksgiving flight this week. If you open a booth in the Union Sq. market I’d support

  11. I made this pound cake 2 weekends ago and everyone loved it. I made my glaze with a little more juice so it wasn’t so white. I’m making it again for Mother’s Day. I love her recipes they always come out so well.

  12. Hi Adam, which do like more, Ina’s lemon cake or the orange cake?

    I am love with her lemon cake and I never even knew she had an orange cake recipe and now my world has been turned upside down. All this time I have making her lemon cake and I could have been alternating between the two citruses. I am sad that I have wasted such a large portion of my life not knowing about her orange cake. Thank you for the illumination!

  13. It’s funny how u stumble on a site and then see your pics on the perfect “Orange Cake” which I’m tempted to try out this wkend. Of course, I’d love to sample all your cake specimens. Last winter, at the Xmas bazaar in Mumbai, India where I live, I bought a cake (besides other baked goodies) from the bake sale stall. But when I took it home to share it with my folks, it was the most divine Green Pistacio cake, it was creamy, moist, and yet firm enought to eat with a filling of pistas that made your mouth want more of it. I understood later that it was donated by an American lady but could not find her to get the recipe for that heavenly creation and I’m still looking for that replica. Maybe when I come to the States I hope to find that similar creation.

    Yours is a good site, keep it up

  14. Here’s another Barefoot Contessa tip for all you who, like me, hate zesting large amounts of rind, even with a microplane. Peel off the rind with a vegetable peeler into large chunks, then toss it into the food processor with some of the sugar from the recipe and voila! You have orange, lemon or lime flavored sugar for the recipe, and leave the “zest” for the bathtub… :)

    By the way, great site!

  15. Ina should know that this is a compliment to her and her great cooking and baking. She is the best on Food Network tied with Paula

  16. I made this orange pound cake this week and it was spectacular. It was so good that my tongue still tingled from the zesty oranges hours after having eaten a piece of the cake. Wow!

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top