Orange Marmalade Layer Cake

I saw this recipe on the cover of an old Cooking Light magazine and was really excited to try it. Orange marmalade makes me really happy – the color, the sweet sticky texture, and the bright flavor all make my day.  The one thing I wasn’t a fan of, however, was the frosting they used in the recipe – Cool Whip. I’m not a fan. While I like the smooth texture, the ingredients are so bad for you. (If you love Cool Whip, feel free to use it in place of my frosting recipe below.)

If possible I always try to substitute Cool Whip, although it’s not always easy because there are some very good recipes that use Cool Whip. I’ve been working on coming up with a substitute after I made a recipe containing whipped cream and sour cream – it tasted a lot like Cool Whip but it wasn’t sturdy enough to stand up like a frosting. So I decided to add Neufchâtel cheese and a bit of cornstarch to help stabilize the frosting to hold up on a cake. I’m happy with the frosting recipe. The texture and taste is very similar to Cool Whip, light and airy. It isn’t extremely sweet so if you want a really sweet frosting, consider doing a butter cream or adding more sugar to this recipe. I  chilled in the fridge per the recipe, but then I kept it out on my counter for a few days and the frosting held the entire time.

The cake is exactly what you would expect if someone asked you to imagine fresh oranges squeezed into cake form. The sweet brightness of the moist cake pairs nicely with the light whipped frosting. I actually thought the cake would be sweeter but it is light and citrus flavored. Let me know what you think of the cake and if you try a different frosting recipe 🙂

**A note on Neufchâtel cheese – otherwise known as farmers’ cheese, I use this in place of cream cheese for practically everything. It has a lower fat content and is softer, but tastes exactly like full fat cream cheese and I much prefer it to low fat cream cheese, which I find slimy and grainy. I’ve even used it in my cheesecake and no one would know the difference. As a bonus, it’s often cheaper than cream cheese and usually sold in blocks right next to the cream cheese in your grocer.



  • Cooking spray or butter to prepare pans
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp. grated orange rind
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 and 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar orange marmalade, melted and cooled


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 (8 oz.) block Neufchâtel cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by either buttering or using cooking spray to coat the entire pan. Wipe even with a paper towel and line the bottom with a round of parchment or wax paper. Butter or spray the bottom paper as well.
  2. Combine sifted flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Place butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Gradually add 1 and 3/4 cups sugar, 1 tbsp. at a time, beating until well blended. Beat in orange rind and vanilla extract. Add egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Combine buttermilk and milk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans, tapping pans on counter once to remove any air bubbles.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 20 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
  6. Combine juice and 1/4 cup sugar, stir until sugar dissolves. Pierce cake layers liberally with a toothpick. Slowly drizzle juice mixture over cake layers.
  7. Carefully place 1 layer on a plate, spread with 1/3 cup marmalade. Top with the remaining layer and spread remaining marmalade on top.
  8. Prepare the frosting by whipping the heavy cream and cornstarch in a very cold metal bowl with a cold whisk. (I stick mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes prior to making). Whip until stiff peaks appear. Scoop the whipped cream out of the bowl and set aside.
  9. In the same bowl you whipped the cream in, mix the Neufchâtel cheese, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream using the whisk attachment or beaters, until smooth and creamy. Add the whipped cream and beat once more just to combine.
  10. Frost the sides of the cake. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Serves: 16 slices

Recipe Source: Cake adapted from a Cooking Light recipe; frosting recipe original

Time: 2 hours plus chill time


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