Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
posted on December 11, 2017 81 comments »
Sick of cookies? Of course you aren’t.
But just in case you need a little something different in your oven this week, here’s a cranberry orange bundt cake. You won’t regret this.
Peppermint and mocha. Pumpkin and spice. Butter and pecan. Ginger and molasses. Mint and chocolate. There’s no doubt that this time of year is home to some of the most delicious and irresistible flavor combinations. Helloooo red velvet and cream cheese. But there’s one duo that’s completely underrated. It stands up to even the most decadent peppermint, eggnog, or gingerbread treat. Tart cranberry and sweeeeet orange. Oh what a marriage!
Today we’re making a super-moist glazed orange bundt cake that’s dotted with cranberries and a thick cinnamon swirl nestles inside. The starting point for this recipe is my chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake. Remember that cake from earlier this Fall? I froze slices of it, thawed them, and served them to friends who visited us right after Noelle was born. Everyone raved about it. It’s honestly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made, even without the chai cinnamon swirl inside. Seriously! It’s insanely buttery, moist, and dense– without being too heavy. That’s the crazy part. It’s dense, but not weighed down at all. I love it.
With a quality base recipe like that, the options are endless. So I knew that’s where I wanted to start when crafting a holiday inspired cake.
How to Make?
Creamed butter + sugar + orange zest is the base of the bundt cake. Instead of granulated sugar, I sweeten the cake with brown sugar. Paired with orange, cranberry, and cinnamon– brown sugar is clearly the way to start! Since they’re quite large, bundt cakes have the tendency to dry out, so let’s add enough moisture to compensate. We’ll use 5 large eggs, sour cream, milk, and fresh orange juice. You’ll need orange zest for the cake batter, so cut that orange open and use its juice as well. I don’t recommend store-bought OJ as it’s a little too thick. And I found it just made the cake crumb too wet.
For the cranberries, you’ve got options. You can use fresh, frozen, or dried. I tested the cake with both fresh and frozen. If using frozen, no need to thaw. Dried cranberries work just as well. See my recipe note below. I suggest using about 1 and 3/4 cups of cranberries. I tried the cake with 2 cups and that was a little aggressive. The crannies masked the orange flavor! Scaled back, it totally works. A pop of cranberry here, a pop of cranberry there. Just under 2 cups is the magic spot.
The cinnamon swirl was a last minute addition. I originally just added cinnamon straight to the cake batter, but DEFINITELY enjoyed it swirled throughout the cake even more. It’s like a sticky sweet cinnamon river flowing between the brown sugar orange crumb. Who wouldn’t want that? Everything about this cake is pure gold.
Layer the cinnamon swirl between cake batter. No need to actually swirl it– the oven will take care of that. (Want to know how? The weight of the cake batter rises and falls, moving the cinnamon swirl along with it.) Half of the cake batter goes on the bottom, half of the cake batter on top.
I love making icings and glazes with fresh citrus juices. The icing is always a little thin, but “sets” on top of the cake, quick bread, muffin, whatever you’re drizzling. Plus a little tang with a little sweet is generally a good idea… always.
If you’re feeling ambitious, serve with sugared cranberries because they’re sparkly. Look at this beautiful orange and cranberry speckled crumb!
Before you bundt:
Call me boring, but I always use the same bundt cake pan. It’s the best. It’s nonstick, but I still always grease it just to be safe. The bundt cake releases so easily. Never a crumb stuck. Easy to clean. Plus, the shape is so pretty!
The wet ingredients in the batter will look somewhat curdled before you add the dry ingredients; this is completely normal and due to the ranging temperatures of the ingredients. The butter may be warmer than the eggs, the sour cream may be colder than the butter, etc. Have no fear! It will all come together when the dry ingredients are added.
Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
Yield: serves 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 65 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes (includes cooling)
- 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120g) full fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3-4 Tablespoons (45-60ml) fresh orange juice