It’s citrus season – yay! – and I have been on an orange kick. Pregnancy related? Perhaps. Nonetheless, give me ALL the orange juice and orange desserts, please! I was craving my Orange Almond Muffins but also wanted cake (because frosting), so I re-created my muffin recipe in a loaf pan and then topped it off with a delicious, simple buttercream flavored with almond extract. Talk about good.
I’ve been really into almond extract frosting since eating an almond cupcake at a local bakery. And creating my own, dairy-free almond frosting was a no-brainer since I only needed to swap out the standard vanilla extract for almond. So easy. And such a perfect pairing with the orange loaf.
For this quick bread, you’ll mix the liquid and dry ingredients separately, combine them, and bake them all up in a loaf pan. Once cooled, you’ll whip up a simple vegan buttercream (of course you can use regular butter, too!) to spread over the top. It’s like cake, but less sweet. And you can control how much frosting you use, so feel free to add as little as you like. Or, if you’re like me, slather the whole batch onto that loaf and don’t look back.
Some of the ingredients I like for this recipe + how you can substitute some of them:
Coconut sugar is my go-to sweetener for most baked goods. It’s unrefined, low GI, and doesn’t taste like coconut. If you prefer, you can use granulated white sugar or brown sugar in its place.
Olive oil is a staple in my pantry, and I love the fact that it’s always in liquid form, making it quicker and easier to use than coconut oil or vegan butter. It adds moisture to this recipe, so feel free to swap it out with your favorite oil. Be aware that if you melt down coconut oil as as substitute, your other ingredients must be room temperature.
Unsweetened applesauce adds additional sweetness and moisture to this loaf. It’s another of my go-to ingredients for my quick breads and cakes because I love the moist texture it helps me achieve. Plus, it’s not loaded with extra sugar, nor does it create any apple taste in the final product.
Whole wheat pastry flour is my absolute favorite flour for muffins. I promise it makes a huge difference in the fluffiness of this recipe. I’ve made my quick breads with both WWPF and regular all-purpose flour, and I’m always disappointed in the texture the AP flour creates since it’s simply not as light or fluffy. However, you can use regular all-purpose flour if you’d like (or if it’s more convenient) – your loaf just won’t be as fluffy.
Orange juice + orange zest are both necessary for the wonderful orange flavor of this bread. The fresh orange zest is where it’s at, and I’m really not sure you can add too much!
Vegan butter (in stick form!) helps create the best, like-the-real-deal vegan buttercream. Along with a little bit of vegetable shortening, you’ll get a spreadable but firm buttercream perfect for swirling. If you’d prefer to not use shortening, you can use more vegan butter instead, but your frosting will not be as stable.
Almond extract is another necessary ingredient! I love how it tastes in both the bread and the frosting in this recipe. If you know you’re not the biggest fan of almond extract, you can easily turn this into an orange vanilla loaf by swapping the almond extract with vanilla extract in both the loaf and the frosting.
- 2 large eggs, room temp (or 2 flax eggs*)
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup plant-based milk
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour**)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp fresh orange zest (3-4 medium oranges)
- 1/4 cup vegan butter stick, room temp
- 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening (or more vegan butter***)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-4 tsp plant-based milk
Make the Quick Bread
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and generously spray an 8x4" loaf pan with non-stick spray (I used olive oil spray). Bring your eggs to room temperature by placing them in a glass of warm water for around 10 minutes. Now is also a good time to set your vegan butter out on the counter to soften.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs (or flax eggs), coconut sugar, olive oil, "milk", orange juice, almond extract, and applesauce; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and gently mix until nearly combined. Add in the orange zest and mix until no four pockets remain.
- Pour batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out with a few crumbs.
- Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn it over onto a cooling rack, flipping the loaf right side up once it pops out. If your loaf seems stuck, use a butter knife to loosen the edges before turning the pan over. Allow your loaf to totally cool before making your frosting.
Make the Frosting
- In a medium bowl, beat together the softened vegan butter and shortening until smooth. Beat in 1/4 tsp of the almond extract, and then the powdered sugar. Taste the frosting to see if you'd like to add the extra 1/4 tsp of almond extract (I did), and then beat it in. Finally, beat in the plant-based milk 1 tsp at a time until you reach a thick but spreadable consistency.
- Top the cooled loaf with the frosting as much as you'd like!) and use a small icing spatula to evenly spread it over the top, swirling as desired. Top with more orange zest or sprinkles. If your frosting seems at all melty, pop the entire loaf in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator if your home is warm.
- *2 Flax Eggs = 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp warm water. Mix and allow to thicken for 5 minutes
- **All-purpose flour will yield a less fluffy bread
- ***Using all vegan butter will result in a softer, less firm buttercream