This sweet and tangy orange cake glaze has just 3 ingredients and mixes up in 5 minutes. With a cream cheese base and no powdered sugar, it’s a wonderful, not-too-sweet, topping for cakes and desserts. It has a creamy texture and a glossy look that will make your cake photo worthy!
Glaze vs Icing
I haven’t seen a consistent definition of either one. And depending on where you are in the world icing can mean something different. In Canada, icing is a powdered sugar and butter (or shortening) mixture. I think of an icing as a powdered sugar base with liquid. You pour it on and it firms up with a crust.
To me, a glaze has a similar pourable texture but stays glossy once set. Some might call this glaze an icing too. I’m okay with that!
Cream cheese makes for a great base for a cake topping. Sometimes a traditional frosting can be too sweet. Cream cheese is tangy and has enough body to make the glaze hug your cake. I recommend using regular cream cheese, not low-fat or Neufchatel. Both will create a more watery glaze.
Orange juice Use either fresh squeezed or prepared orange juice. For a silky smooth icing be sure to strain any pulp or seeds out of the juice.
Sugar – Just 3 tbsp is enough to sweeten this glaze without making it overly sweet.
Mixing the Glaze
Cream cheese can be tricky when used in frosting and sauces. If it’s not handled correctly, it will be chunky. So in this glaze recipe, the cream cheese is heated making it easier to liquefy.
I like to avoid using a pot (more dishes) or the heat of the stove so I heat the cream cheese and orange juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave for about 1 minute (more or less depending on the power of your microwave). This heats it enough to create a silky smooth glaze.
Once heated you’ll have to mix it with an electric mixer or wire whisk until it’s completely smooth. Examine the mixture carefully to make sure there are no small lumps of cream cheese.
5-Minute Creamy Orange Cake Glaze
- 6 oz cream cheese – low-fat not recommended
- ⅓ c orange juice – strained of pulp
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- Cut the cream cheese into chunks.
- Place the cream cheese and orange juice into a small microwave-safe mixing bowl. Heat on high in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. The cream cheese should be very warm but not melted.
- Use an electric mixer or a wire whisk to beat. The mixture will initially be chunky. Keep mixing.
- Mix until it is completely smooth – be sure there are no small lumps. I mixed 1½ minutes with a whisk. An electric mixer will take about 1 minute.
- Add the sugar and beat to combine.
- Cool the glaze to room temperature before using. To cool it quickly, pour the glaze onto a sheet pan and place it on a wire rack. It will cool in just a few minutes.
- Cakes with this glaze should be refrigerated after 12 hours.
- This glaze is an excellent topping for my gluten-free orange polenta cake.