This spiced orange cake is a classic orange cake with a holiday twist! Cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg turn this into a warm cake hug. Topped with cream cheese frosting and coconut – it’s festive and delicious!

Happy holiday cake day!

spiced orange snowball cake

My Christmas cake is BACK!!

Every year for the last few years, I’ve shared a holiday cake with you guys. Except for last year, when I had a third baby and lost my marbles! I couldn’t get the cake I wanted to work, so we did a fabulous christmas ice cream cake instead. And I must say, that is delightful. 

layer cake and cream cheese frosting

Other holiday cakes I’ve made? My white christmas sparkle cake, which is the most popular. This hot cocoa cake with marshmallow frosting too! And pink peppermint christmas cake, which looks like it should be straight out of The Grinch. It’s extra-christmasy. 

spiced orange snowball cake

I definitely prefer cooking over baking. But when it comes to the holiday season, I have so much nostalgia because mother lovett was an amazing baker, and I got to help her. We would always do cookies together. Her cakes, on the other hand, were something she did on her own. She never followed a real recipe – she just “knew” how much to add, how to make it and it always turned out great.

I have shared her orange cake here on the blog before. It was probably everyone’s favorite cake in our family – tender orange cake with a coconut frosting – so refreshing and sweet and wonderful. And she made a lot of cakes! Just something really different and delicious than traditional white or yellow or chocolate cake. 

She was all about the orange – I make her orange cookies every year too. But this year, I knew I wanted to do the orange cake with some extra holiday flare.

spiced orange snowball cake

The last few years I have loved spicing up orange things. I’ve done a spiced orange cheeseball, a spiced orange spritzer (amazing in place of a mimosa!) and even a spiced orange gin & tonic. I’ve also done a spiced orange vinaigrette which is so delicious on salads this time of year.

Adding the spice to citrusy, bright oranges is wonderful. It pretty much envelopes the orange in a warm hug. Adding a touch of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg make this cake feel SPECIAL. It’s not overly cinnamony and it doesn’t taste like cider, which is what we tend to be more familiar with this time of year. Instead, the allspice has a bit of pepper and star anise and even fennel, making the depth of the spice incredible. 

spiced orange snowball cake

Now to go along with said spiced orange cake, I had to do cream cheese frosting. OF COURSE. Every single darn cake I make and share uses cream cheese frosting because it’s just absolutely the best. So tangy and sweet and rich. And it’s especially wonderful paired with the orange citrus flavor. 

I also like to pat some shredded coconut over the frosting. This is for two reasons: one, I love coconut so much and two, it looks like a big fluffy snowball. If you’re not into coconut (for example, Eddie doesn’t love it) or you’re allergic, just leave it off. It’s mostly for appearances anyway, and the spiced orange + cream cheese frosting is where the greatness really lies. 

spiced orange snowball cake

Finally, I throw some dried orange slices on the cake for extra glam. These are super easy. They are time consuming, but it’s all down time. If you’re home for a day, place the orange slices on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for three to four hours. Super simple! I plop them right into the frosting and they stick there as decor. 

spiced orange snowball cake

Oh! One more thing. I love love LOVE using this sparkle spray on cookies or cakes during the holiday season. It’s so pretty and really makes them look fun and festive! 

spiced orange snowball cake

I hope you try and love this cake! It will never replace mother lovett’s traditional orange cake for me. But it’s a nice, unique twist on the classic and a fun way to switch things up.

spiced orange snowball cake slice

Spiced Orange Snowball Cake

Spiced Orange Snowball Cake

This spiced orange cake is a classic orange cake with a holiday twist! Cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg turn this into a warm cake hug. Topped with cream cheese frosting and coconut - it's festive and delicious!
4.91 from 11 votes
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Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ granulated cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup orange zest
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk

cream cheese frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 8- ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut

orange slices

  • 2 oranges, cut into thin slices (about ¼ inch thick)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour (or spray with nonstick baking spray) 3 8-inch cake pans.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy and combined, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vegetable oil, then the eggs one at a time, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as you go.
  • Beat in the orange juice - it may look a little curdled at this point. Beat in the vanilla extract and orange zest. Beat in half of the dry ingredients. Beat in the milk. Finish with the remaining dry ingredients, beating until just combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans. Place the pans in the center rack of your oven. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the pans once or twice during cook time. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool for 30 minutes, then gently invert them onto pieces of parchment paper.
  • To frost these successfully, once they are cool, I wrap each cake in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer overnight. I remove and frost the cake while frozen, just because it's easier for me. Then I frost with the cream cheese frosting and layer the cake. Once frosted, press the coconut into the frosting. Add orange slices on top!
  • Keep the cake refrigerated until an hour or so before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

cream cheese frosting

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar with the mixer on low speed, increasing the speed once all of the sugar is added. Add in the vanilla extract, then beat on medium to medium-high speed for a good 2 to 3 minutes until creamy, scraping down the sides if needed.
  • If you find the frosting a bit too thick, add in some milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

orange slices

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  • Place the orange slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 3 to 4 hours, until they are dry and no longer sticky. Use as you wish!
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spiced orange snowball cake

A slice of cheer!