Cooking with U: Orange Crunch Cake


Unless you’ve been to the iconic restaurant The Bubble Room on Captive Island in Fort Meyers, Florida, you’ve likely never had this version of Orange Crunch Cake. The restaurant itself is a metaphor for the mingling of flavors in this rich, acidic, and sweet dessert.

This recipe comes from the iconic Bubble Room in Fort Meyer’s, Florida. While a tough bake, the crunch cake is worth the try. Courtesy of Samantha St. Marie
This recipe comes from the iconic Bubble Room in Fort Meyer’s, Florida. While a tough bake, the crunch cake is worth the try. Courtesy of Samantha St. Marie

The Bubble Room is more than a restaurant. On the walls hang pictures of old Hollywood glamour movie stars while toy trains go around the tracks suspended from the ceiling into the next room and back again. The outside of the building is striped in all of the colors of the rainbow with a yellow brick road to the entrance. The restaurant is known for its exceptional service and its exceptional desserts, one being the Orange Crunch Cake. This recipe is certainly not for the beginner baker but is no doubt worth a try! This version comes with help from The Kitchen Preparation.


  • 1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sliced toasted almonds


  • 2½ cup cake flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup salted butter room temperature
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange extract


  • 12 oz cream cheese room temperture
  • ¾ unsalted room temputure butter
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1Tbsp orange extract
  • 1 whole orange zest
  • Orange slices for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to toast the sliced almonds on a baking sheet until light brown.

Let the almonds cool for five minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of three 8” cake tins with parchment paper and grease the sides. For ease of removal you may also want to grease the parchment paper on both sides.

Either with a food processor, or by hand with a rolling pin and Ziploc bag, finely crush the graham crackers and toasted almonds. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add in the brown sugar until well mixed

Add ¾ cup of the crunch mixture to each of the cake tins and flatten down. More can always be added depending on your preference.

To prepare the cake batter, whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together the room temperature butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter sugar mixture. Mix until combined.

Pour 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the eggs, butter, and sugar and pour in about 1/3 of the buttermilk. Mix well and repeat two more times until all combined. Try not to overmix the batter. Pour approximately 1 ¾ cup of the batter into each cake time (you can eyeball it) and spread evenly. Put the tins into the oven.

They should cook for about 30 minutes but keep an eye on them. They are done once an inserted toothpick comes out clean or until the cake is springy.

To prepare the frosting cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar, extracts, and orange zest. If using a hand mixer, first mix on low speed and increase the speed until the mixture holds its shape.

Cool the cakes completely. Remove the cakes from the tins. Place the first layer crunch side up. Continue to add layers of frosting until desired thickness. Repeat with the second layer. The final layer should be placed crunch side down.

Add a thin layer of frosting, known as a crumb coating to the whole cake. Chill for 10-15 minutes and then frost with the remaining frosting. Decorate and garnish with orange slices. Chill and bring to room temperature when ready to serve.


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