Gluten-Free Layered Orange Cake

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Extra light Gluten-Free Layered Orange Cake is a showstopper spring dessert. Two layers of extra moist cake finished with a zesty fresh orange frosting and orange sauce for Easter or any special spring occasion.


oranges with leaves


This gluten-free dessert is not your typical layered cake. Instead, the frosting is super light and fluffy, made with cream cheese, fresh orange juice, vanilla and powdered sugar. The frosting is also used for the filling because it pairs deliciously with the cake.


layered orange cake missing a slice


Layered cakes are always popular, especially for special occasions such as Easter or birthdays. In this dessert, the orange flavour and colour come from fresh orange juice and orange zest. I did not add food colouring. However, if you want deeper orange colour, add a few orange food colour drops.

What makes these cake layers so light?

The cake batter is made with fresh orange juice, olive oil and buttermilk. These three ingredients keep the cake extra moist and light. I also added eggs to give the cake height, which adds lightness.


squeezed oranges and orange juice in a measuring cup


Orange sauce for cakes?

For extra orange flavour, I drizzled the cake with orange sauce. The sauce is made primarily with fresh orange juice, giving this gluten-free spring dessert a fresh orange flavour.

Can I freeze the cake before decorating?

Yes, you can make the cake layers up to two weeks in advance. First, cool the cake. Then, place the cakes on parchment paper and freeze. Once solid frozen, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. 

How long do I need to thaw the cake layers?

When you are ready, partially thaw the cake layers before decorating. If you decorate the cake while it’s solidly frozen, the frosting may crack because the cake expands while it is thawing. You can fully thaw the cake, but keeping it slightly frozen makes the cake easier to decorate. I thaw the cake for about 15 minutes before decorating.


top view of orange layered cake


Do layered cakes intimidate you?

Not to worry. I kept this gluten-free dessert recipe simple, and the texture and flavour are outstanding. This layered cake has three steps and nothing complicated.


two cake layers on plates


start with the cake batter,

You will need two same size round pans. The rest is pretty standard as if you were making any other basic batter, except for the ingredients.


whipped frosting with orange juice


next, the filling and frosting,

I decided to skip a sugary rich butter filling. Instead, I am using frosting to fill the cake. This simplifies the recipe and avoids heavy butter. 

the final step is the 3 minute orange sauce,

The orange sauce is optional, but I highly recommend it if you like an extra fresh orange flavour. The sauce is not too sweet. It is not about adding more sweetness. The frosting is already sweet, so a zesty sauce is just the right finish.

How to decorate layered orange cake?

If you have been following my blog, you know I keep everything super simple. My cakes may not look fancy, and I am not a professional cake decorator. And most of us aren’t, so it is all about keeping things simple and delicious.


top view of cake with a dollop of frosting


To fill the cake, spread the frosting almost to the edge. Then, place the second layer on the cake and gently press on the layer to push the filling to the edge of the cake. Don’t worry if any oozes out. You can use it to frost the sides.


decorating layered cake with frosting


To frost the cake, start with the middle. Then, using a spatula, gently spread the frosting over the cake in one direction. Then, gently push the frosting over the sides and finish frosting the cake.

If you are using the orange sauce, drizzle the sauce over the cake, sprinkle with extra orange zest and add a few thin orange slices to the sides and top of the cake.


slice missing for orange layered cake


Tips on how to cut a layered cake!

Warm the knife up under hot water. Dry the knife and cut. Repeat for each slice and always clean the cake knife between cuts.

slice of gluten-free cake on a plate



In this gluten-free orange layered cake, I used extra frosting. The orange frosting is super light and zesty, adding so much deliciousness to each bite. Enjoy!

Let’s Connect!


Many thanks!

Kristina xx


  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend with xanthan gum or add 1/2 tsp. (I used this blend)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. GF baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar (fine coconut sugar or granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream or full fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. Grated orange zest
  • 12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) cream cheese softened (you can use light cream cheese)
  • 3 cups confectioners' (powdered sugar), if you like thicker frosting add extra sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ORANGE SAUCE (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp. Tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • *As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please check out my sponsorship and disclosure policy page for more details


  • Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly spray 2 x (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking oil
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, beat eggs with sugar until fluffy—about 2 minutes. Add olive oil, orange juice, buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest. Beat until combined.
  • Add dry ingredients into wet mixture 1/2 at a time. Mix just until all the ingredients are blended. Do not over mix.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for 23 - 25 minutes. The cake should pass the toothpick test. Set aside to cool
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar alternately with orange juice, beginning and ending with sugar, beating just until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Increase mixer speed to medium; beat until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl. Chill for 1 hour before decorating the cake
  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, tapioca starch and zest. Stir in orange juice until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened to a syrup consistency. Remove from the heat; whisk in butter. Chill for one hour before decorating.
  • When cakes are cooled, frost one with about 1/3 of the frosting, then place the second cake on top and finish frosting. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. Decorate with orange zest, orange sauce and orange slices *see notes on decorating the cake in the blog
  • Leave a Comment

    2 Responses to Gluten-Free Layered Orange Cake

    • Mary June 1, 2022

      I’m writing this before even tasting the cake. I kept adding more sugar to try to get a spreadable texture. I up from 3 as per the recipe to SEVEN cups of powered sugar and its still TOO RUNNY!

      • Kristina June 2, 2022

        are you referring to the frosting Mary? It should not be thick, it’s more like a thick sauce. With seven cups of sugar it should be super thick. The cream cheese is already thick and it has only a 1/3 of a cup of orange juice. Did you chill the frosting? When cream cheese is chilled it becomes solid.

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