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Layered Orange Sponge Cake

This recipe's been handed down in my family for 40 years, from a relative who was a French baker. It's light, delicate and delicious, just like a great cake should be. —Joyce Speerbrecher, Grafton, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°. Sift flour twice.
  • In another large bowl, beat egg yolks until slightly thickened. Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar, beating on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in orange juice and orange zest. Fold in flour.
  • Add salt and cream of tartar to egg whites; with clean beaters, beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until soft glossy peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites.
  • Gently transfer to an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Bake on lowest oven rack 45-55 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool cake in pan, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan, mix sugar and flour. Whisk in orange juice and orange zest. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into eggs; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Immediately transfer to a clean bowl. Cool 30 minutes. Press plastic wrap onto surface of orange mixture; refrigerate until cold.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form; fold into orange mixture. Run a knife around sides and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. Using a long serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into three layers. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate until serving.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 518 calories, 26g fat (11g saturated fat), 231mg cholesterol, 172mg sodium, 65g carbohydrate (50g sugars, 2g fiber), 9g protein.

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  • Catie
    Aug 26, 2019

    My Mother made this every spring and for special occasions. It is a lovely, light, and flavorful cake. She did not use pecans however, as my father preferred it without. I have the recipe now, and have shared with my sons, who both bake. As a family favorite, my granddaughters will be making it next!

  • carolynstowers
    Feb 5, 2016

    The cake came out real good, and I will make again. I did add food coloring to make the cake more orange. The only problem I had was in beating the egg whites. This took at least 14 to 15 minutes, after 8 minutes I started to throw the whites out and start again, they wouldn't hold a peak. They are like whipping cream stiffening up all at once. CatMurphy I think your problem with the cake falling out of the pan was your oven wasn't hot enough when cooking . When a oven isn't hot enough meringue will shrink when cooked. I hope this helps you. ( COOKS MAKE SURE THE CAKE IS ON THE BOTTOM RACK, AND DON'T OPEN OVEN DOOR UNTIL THE CAKE COOKED. I LEARNED THIS THE HARD WAY . THE FIRST TIME I COOKED THIS RECIPE I OPENED THE DOOR OF THE OVEN AND MY CAKE FELL FLAT).

  • CatMurphy
    Mar 10, 2014

    I would suggest that you read about making sponge cakes prior to attempting this, because there are tips on success. My cake, while the batter was light and fluffy, didn't rise to the volume that I had expected and it literally fell out of the pan, while cooling. I'm not a novice baker. Was it my oven? The end result looked like the picture. The orange flavor was nice and bright and the frosting had almost an orange marmalade flavor to it. The pecans added a nice crunch, although I thought 1 whole cup was too much. This cake was time consuming.