Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake
This is my favorite cake, and I make it at least four or five times a year.
It's regularly requested for family birthdays and by my English class students for my special coffee and cake chat lessons.
It freezes beautifully in slices, and is delicious when warmed in the microwave and served with vanilla whipped cream or ice cream. Perfect when a friend drops around for a cup of tea.
Also ideal when you want an afternoon treat!
Adapted from Belinda Jeffrey's recipe
The really beautiful orange cake recipe was the first I tried from Belinda Jeffery's award-winning cookbook, "Mix and Bake." It got me hooked on baking, and on her recipes. Almost all of the recipes in this book are incredible, and I'm already on my second copy—the first was worn out!
I have modified Belinda's recipe by reducing the amount of sugar, increasing the cranberries, and slightly upping the amount of vanilla and orange peel. I also usually add a bit of orange liqueur to the glaze, but only when no kids will be eating it!
Belinda Jeffrey in action
Belinda is a professional chef, but her true passion is baking.
Not the fancy, decorated cakes ad fancy biscuits you can get from patisseries, but simple and fast, fully flavored family favorites.
She has streamlined her recipes in this book, most are ready to go in the oven in under 20 minutes.
The book features cakes (of course), but also muffins, biscuits and cookis, scones, the best brownies I've ever eaten, and even some quick breads and savory slices.
All of Belinda's cake recipes are easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. Most of the recipes in Mix and Bake use a food processor to quickly mix the ingredients.
I've since switched to a Kitchenaid mixer, and with a few adjustments to the order in which the ingredients are mixed, they are just as easy as with the food processor. In fact, I think using a stand mixer results in a lighter fluffier cake.
Of course, you can make this delicious orange cake without kitchen appliances too - you just need arm strength to cream the butter and sugar - something that I definitely lack!
Playing with the recipe
Because I've made this so many times, and I can never leave a recipe alone, I've tinkered with the ingredients.
The original recipe calls for quite a lot of sugar - I have reduced this - and for concentrated orange juice, something that isn't available in German stores. Instead, I make my own concentrated orange juice by boiling down the juice of three oranges, and I find that it tastes much fresher and less musty than the concentrate I could get in Australia.
I adore vanilla, so I usually double the amount in any cake recipe I make.
Belinda provides the option of an extra icing over a base glaze layer, but I've found that to be a sweet overkill. Personally, I prefer a strongly tasting glaze, with a light dusting of icing sugar or slices of fresh oranges.
Bundt cakes are gorgeous without decorating with fancy icing or whipped cream.
A light dusting of icing sugar makes the design of the bundt tin pop.
Twists and curls of candied citrus peel make the cake look stunning and add a sweet and sour burst of flavor.
Instead of decorating the cake itself, add fruit to each slice when served. Slices of fresh oranges and berries of any varieties pair well.
Make your own 'buttermilk' by adding 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to 250ml / 1 cup of milk.
Adding Cointreau or Grand Marnier to the glaze adds a lovely depth.
For plumper and juicier cranberries, soak them in orange juice or an orange flavored liqueur overnight.
Sultanas, raisins, currants or dried blueberries work well instead of dried cranberries.
If you have a good quality non-stick bundt tin, you can create a crispy, sugary crust by preparing the tin with butter and caster sugar instead of butter and flour. Don't do this in a cheap tin that likes to stick though - it's safer to use flour.
If you are using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar before adding the eggs. If you use a food processor, the order doesn't matter.
If you are using a standard cake tin (not a bundt or kugelhopf), keep a close eye on the cake from about the 50 minute mark so it doesn't burn on the top or outside edges.
Replace the orange juice and zest with with lemons for a tangier, less sweet version.
Orange cranberry cake
- 450g / 3 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting the tin
- 0.5 teaspoon salt
- 0.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 3 eggs
- 350g / 1.5 cups caster sugar
- 250g unsalted butter, cut into chunks at room temperature, plus extra for preparing the tin
- 250ml / 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of 3 oranges
- juice of 3 oranges
- 100g dried cranberries
- 65-70g / 0.5 cups icing sugar
- Make the orange juice concentrate by boiling the orange juice in a saucepan until it has reduced to about 70ml (0.25 cup).
- Butter and flour a 12 cup (10") bundt tin, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. It may be easier to brush over melted butter then add the flour in the more decorative tins. Knock out the excess flour, or your cake will have ugly white patches.
- Preheat your oven to 150°C / 300°F.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
- In a stand mixer or food processor, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well. The mixture should still be fluffy.
- Add the buttermilk, vanilla, orange zest, and 1-2 Tablespoons of the concentrated orange juice and beat thoroughly.
- Add the flour mixture in a few batches and mix well, but don't over beat or the cake won't be as light.
- Gently fold the cranberries through the cake batter by hand. If you haven't soaked the cranberries, you can toss them in a little flour before mixing them in so they don't sink to the top of the cake.
- Drop spoonfuls of the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Flatten the top so it is even.
- Bake for 70 minutes at 150°C / 300°F, until the top is golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes in the tin.
- Prepare the glaze by heating the remaining concentrated orange juice and beating in the icing sugar.
- Turn the cake out onto a rack and put something under it to catch drips.
- Brush or spoon the hot glaze over the hot cake - try to cover the entire surface, getting into every edge of the bundt form.
- Let the cake cool completely and serve slices with cream and fresh berries, orange slices. Alternatively, serve slightly warm with a good quality vanilla ice cream or orange sorbet.
Your favorite cake
Do you have a cake recipe that you bake regularly, year after year? Let me know in the comments below!