I'm planning to make a chocolate orange cake and fancied making an orange caramel sauce to go with it.

My plan is to make a caramel sauce by heating up butter and sugar in a pan , stirring all the time until a golden caramel and then adding whipping cream and stirring like crazy and taking off the heat.

My question is what is the best way to get orange flavour in there? Can i add orange juice instead or cream? That doesn't feel like it will work.

Could I mix orange juice with the cream first then add that? If I reduced the OJ down before mixing it with the cream I assume I'd get more orange flavour?

Any other ideas? I will only have access to oranges and juice, no orange oil or anything fancy.

3 Answers 3


I make orange caramel at work for one of our desserts.

You will need:

  • zest of one orange. big chunks is fine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2oz grand marnier/cointreau/triple sec (optional)
  • approx 1/2c butter, unsalted
  • approx 1/2c 35% cream
  • generous pinch kosher salt
  • 1-2tbsp pulp-free lemon juice

Combine the first three ingredients in a saucepan. Brush the exposed sides of the pan with lemon juice--this prevents crystallization. Dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat, turn down to low simmer for 20 minutes. Strain out the zest, return sauce to heat, bring to boil. Cook until the sauce has taken a light amber colour, pour into stainless steel bowl. Whisk in butter, then cream, then grand marnier if using, then salt.

  • I should have added: brush with more lemon juice as the solution reduces. You could also make a faux caramel with a gelling agent--I'd think that pectin or gelatin would be your best bets. You would lose the dark flavours of cooked sugar (which we aim to avoid anyway) but would get a pure sweet orange note instead (which we aim for).
    – daniel
    Sep 15, 2010 at 7:12
  • I assume if I want to keep the dark sugar flavours I should just cook it until its more than light amber? And +1 for the orange liquor, that will really help to fill the orange flavour out I bet.
    – Sam Holder
    Sep 15, 2010 at 18:33
  • yup.. cook it darker if you want a darker flavour. in soft caramels, much of the, uhh.. brown flavour comes from the milk solids in the butter and cream rapidly cooking upon introduction to the hot sugar syrup.
    – daniel
    Sep 16, 2010 at 5:33

You want to get your flavor from the rind, not the juice. It's full of flavorful oils. The best way to do this in your case is probably to make your own orange zest by using a fine grater (I love my Microplane for this) and adding the zest to your sauce while cooking. Be sure to only use the outermost layer of the rind; the white part is the pith, and is quite bitter and not tasty. You may also be able to lightly peel the outside of your orange and cook the rinds in your sauce, then remove the spent rinds before using the sauce. I haven't tried this when making a caramel sauce, so you may need to experiment a bit. I definitely would NOT try mixing in the juice, though. The extra water and acid would probably make it a disaster.

  • The one thing I'd be worried about with this is the zest burning in the butter/sugar mix. I might try it though and see what happens
    – Sam Holder
    Sep 15, 2010 at 18:31

You can find orange oil at any place that has candy supplies like Michaels arts and crafts, Walmart, etc. it's not hard to find.

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