No Fail Orange Buttermilk Loaf

Orange buttermilk loaf

We call this orange bread. And it’s delicious! It’s like a pound cake, with the most wonderfully dense centre and incredible crust. Any citrus -buttermilk combo will work, but I am particularly partial to orange. Which I think says a lot about this particular loaf, because I am almost never partial to orange.


Lemon, orange, mandarin, lime or a combination all of these work wonderfully in this citrus buttermilk loaf. This is how I use up those lingering, less than prime oranges in the bottom of the fruit bowl or lemons if they are around too.

This citrus buttermilk loaf comes together easily and is delicious for several days. If it lasts that long. With it’s deeply golden crust it is great warm, room temperature and the next day.

I am not sure I am stressing enough what a favourite this is and just how often it gets made in our home!

cooked buttermilk citrus loaf

Citrus Buttermilk Loaf

Adding the softened butter after creaming the eggs, sugar and wet ingredients makes for a really lovely crust outside to the loaf. The softened butter will never fully blend (small chunks, in an almost curdled like appearance is fine) in before you add the dry ingredients and mix everything together. It may seem counter intuitive, but it makes for the most delightful, almost crunchy or crispy, crust on the outside.

buttermilk citrus loaf

I welcome some imperfections and folds in the parchment paper that I use to line the metal baking pan. It makes for extra nooks and crannies for even more outside crust pieces. Which are my favourite, and can be easily picked off warm, without anyone noticing!

Any Citrus is Good Citrus

My favourite part of making this recipe is use as much freshly squeezed juice as you have on hand (from any lingering citrus) and just make up the rest with buttermilk. No need to have exactly a 1/4 cup of each. All that is needed is a 1/2 cup of liquid in total, which is wonderfully forgiving (and makes sure no sad citrus gets left behind). I am pretty sure no waste is my love language.

orange juice and buttermilk

Citrus Buttermilk Loaf

This delightful and easy loaf uses up any citrus on hand

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword citrus cake, loaf
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 8


  • 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • Citrus Zest from 1 orange, lemon or lime
  • 1/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Citrus Juice orange, mandarin, lemon, lime or combo
  • 1/4 Cup Buttermilk add to citrus juice to make 1/2 a cup liquid in total
  • 1/2 Cup softened unsalted Butter
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a 10″x4″ baking loaf pan with parchment paper, making sure it exceeds the sides.
  2. Zest the fruit into the bowl of the electric mixer.
  3. Add the sugar and eggs into the bowl and cream together with the stand mixer on low or medium.
  4. Juice the citrus fruit into a 1 cup measuring glass (anywhere from 1/8 cup to 1/3 cup of juice is fine).
  5. Add buttermilk to the measuring cup to bring the liquid level up to 1/2 cup.
  6. Mix liquid into the electric mixer.
  7. Once combined, add the softened butter to the mixer. Mix until the butter is in small flecks and pieces (it will never fully incorporate).
  8. Add in the flour and baking powder together and mix on low until combined.
  9. Pour the batter into the parchment lined loaf pan, spreading evenly.
  10. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the centre evenly.
  11. Use the overhanging parchment paper as a handle to lift the loaf from the pan to a cooling rack.
  12. Peel back the paper from the sides and allow to cool completely on the rack.
  13. Serve slices warm or room temperature.
  14. Store any cooled cake, covered at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

This loaf gets very brown while baking, which adds to the flavour. Rely on a toothpick inserted in the centre to tell when it is fully cooked.

Another great way to use up oranges is with this Quick and Simple Orange Sherbet and another terrific loaf is this Italian Plum and Almond Loaf

citrus loaf

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