DIY / Recipes

Citrus Crunch Layer Cake

I’ve adapted this recipe from one for orange cake. I wanted more citrus flavor, so I use lemon cake mix and orange-pineapple juice. The crunch layer was also adjusted to include almonds instead of walnuts.

Crunch layer:

  • 1-1/4  cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package Lemon cake mix (I use Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange-pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch pans.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, almonds, and butter. Divide mixture evenly between the prepared pans. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, juice and oil until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the orange zest. Pour the mixture evenly over the crunch layer in the pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

For the icing, I made mine with powdered sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla bean paste, orange juice, orange zest, and cream cheese. The cheese is a nice compliment to the cake without being overpowering. I don’t have the measurements for this since I make it as I go along. You can use this vanilla buttercream icing recipe alone or as a base.

By the way, if you’re not familiar with vanilla bean paste and bake frequently, I highly recommend it. It’s a syrup made with ground vanilla beans, so it’s not actually pasty. This is more potent than pure vanilla extract, so a little goes a long way. I couldn’t locate it at the standard grocery stores (Kroger, Walmart) but did find it at The Fresh Market for less than $10, which has a lot of specialty items.

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2 thoughts on “Citrus Crunch Layer Cake

  1. Wow that sounds good! I’m going to make that this weekend! I love the idea of baking the crunchy layer into it! I’ve done a similar thing where I put a layer of crumbs in between a sandwich cake but love your idea lots!


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