Orange Cornmeal Cake

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food.

  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup for the topping
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (or dry white wine)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 large orange


1 Preheat oven and prepare baking pan: Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with oil (can use butter for this too); line the bottom of the pan with wax paper or parchment paper, and brush the top of the paper with oil.

2 Make cake batter: In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, 1 cup of the sugar, and orange juice until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and orange zest; whisk lightly to combine.

3 Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan; sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar.

Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.

4 Cool: Cool the cake in the pan 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to separate it from the edge of the pan. Invert the cake gently onto a plate, and remove the parchment paper. Re-invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely before serving.

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  • Rosanne

    can I use plain yogurt instead of oil in the recipe? Thank you in advance.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rosanne, generally it’s not a good idea to make this type of substitution. Baking relies on precision. That said, you can always experiment. This particular substitution is not one that I would make.

  • Jasmine

    I usually don’t leave comments but this recipe deserves a shoutout! My son LOVES it and he’s extremely picky! Thanks for sharing – I have made it several times now and it never fails to disappoint :)

  • Fatima

    I just tried this cake and granted I am not a very good baker but my top cracked…. Any recommendations?

    • Elise

      That can happen with cakes sometimes. I would sprinkle it with the sugar to mask the cracks.

  • Bettie

    This is an excellent cake. Not too sweet. I used 2 medium sized blood oranges and their zest and instead of the sugar topping, I used a lemon glaze. I love lemon glaze! I also lowered the oven temp to 350 as cakes bake a little too quickly in my oven at 375. I watched the time and the cake was done in about 33 minutes. Delicious flavor, crunchy texture from the cornmeal. Very happy to have discovered this recipe. I will definitely make it again. Thank you, Elise, for posting.

  • CookingLady

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I cooked this recipe today. It was tasty. I used it for this for as the cake for strawberry shortcake. I used fresh squeezed mandarin oranges. I would say use orange extract because it will make the orange flavor pop. I also think that maybe this recipe had a bit to much salt. I think that it would be better with 1/2 tsp. salt in the batter and also only around 1/8 cup of sugar on top. Also I think that it would probably do extremely well in a bundt pan instead of a flat cake pan. The 8 inch round cake pan seemed to cook faster on the outside than the inside and would benefit with the tube in the middle. I could envision an orange icing drizzled on top of the bundt cake like this.

  • Amy

    Definitely a little on the sweet side – sprinkled on 1/8 cup of sugar and stopped – and maybe a bit too much salt? Otherwise absolutely delicious :) love that it’s dairy free!

  • Lubinka

    Wonderful taste! (Though maybe a little less sugar would be better…) Thank you very much for this great recipe!

  • Tina

    I made this recipe today and it was delicious! Instead of the zest of one orange, I used two. I thought the orange flavor made it taste even better. And instead of putting sugar on top, i melted some honey in the microwave and put it on top after it came out of the oven. I loved it!

  • Alexa

    Excellent recipe. I made sure not to overcook it, so its exceptionally moist. Its a fluffier version of cornbread and I love the light orange taste in the background (though I will be adding more zest to the batter). I put honey on top instead of sugar, but a streusel topping might be interesting to try. This was the first time I have used olive oil in baking, and it tastes great. Thanks for the incredibly simple, fast recipe! .

  • Gaby

    I agree with Jackie, the cake is very sweet! And the 1/3 cup of sugar on the top is just too much, my sugar didn’t even melt. I cooked mine for 25 minutes, then I checked every 3-4 minutes or so. It’s hard to bake with corn meal and avoid overcooking. You gotta be an expert, I guess :) I had black coffee with it, thus the sweetness was ok. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Jackie

    I liked the olive oil, orange flavor (used zest of two tangelos off my tree), but I thought this cake too sweet. I used 1 cup sugar in recipe and reduced topping to 1 T sugar and still found it cloying, especially since the recipe was described as “not too sweet”. Next time I would reduce sugar to 2/3 cup or less and hope that the texture stays as soft and nice as it is without the reduction.

  • David

    I used the zest of one lime and one lemon with the wine and it came out super tasty. Super fast and super tasty.

  • Sabrina

    This was really good. I halved it, and since our oven isn’t working, I did it in the microwave. The olive oil flavour was a tiny bit strong for my tastes though, so next time, I’ll use canola oil. I totally didn’t see the topping part, but I smothered rasberry preserves on top after baking, which I think made it absolutely divine. Next time(and hopefully with a conventional oven,)I may put the preserves on the cake while baking. I wonder if that will work. Hmmm. Anyway, wonderful recipe!!!

  • carol

    It´s a good recipe! And very easy! I´ve made it with spanish oranges, of course……..
    Kisses from Spain

  • Laurie

    I was out of butter and was looking for something to make with cornmeal. Just made this and it was very easy to make! It is in the oven baking, smells delicious. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  • sylvia

    Hello. I just made this cake and it was pretty good. however I could not get it to taste very orangey. I didnt have OJ so I squeezed oranges. And I used the zest of two oranges. The oranges were probably too ripe though. Do you think that is what affected the taste? Texture of the cake was really good, moist but crumbly and gritty from the cornmeal. thanks =)

    Different varieties of oranges make different tasting orange juice. Valencia probably are the best for juicing. Could have been the orange you used was off, or not the best juice variety. ~Elise

  • SilentRose

    So simple..but the taste is not..I highly recommend you use more Orange zest. I cooked it to 35 minutes and it still seem a little over cooked. I recommend eating this with some marmalade.

    Because the cake is made with cornmeal it can have a somewhat grittier texture than we are used to in a cake, but more used to in a cornbread. If it is overcooked, it will be dry. You might try testing it at 25 minutes, then 30. ~Elise