This easy orange cranberry bundt cake is made with sour cream and lots of orange zest to yield a moist and flavourful orange cake with a recipe that is very easy to remember and works for any bundt cake.
The simplest bundt recipe to remember has a 1-2-3-4 ratio of ingredients, by volume, so it's 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 large eggs. Technically "4 eggs" isn't a volume measurement at all, but 1-2-3-4 is easy to remember.
The ratio 1-2-3-4 is by volume, but I actually prefer to convert it to weight measurements before I bake. You can use this list of baking conversions to help you convert any baking recipe from cups to grams or ounces.
- flour—I bake with bleached all-purpose flour
- leavening agents—you will need both baking powder and baking soda for this recipe. If you aren't sure the difference, read about baking soda vs baking powder to find out more
- salt—I bake with Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt, which is less salty than table salt. If you want to use table salt, add half the amount
- butter—I prefer to bake with unsalted butter and add the salt myself later. If you are using salted butter, add less salt to the cake batter
- orange zest from a fresh naval orange
- sugar—use granulated sugar in the cake batter and icing sugar to make the orange icing
- eggs—use large eggs
- pure vanilla extract
- sour cream—use full-fat (around 14% fat) sour cream for the best texture
- orange juice—I prefer to use "premium" orange juice from the grocery store, which has more flavour. You can also use a frozen orange juice concentrate diluted with water. Both these orange juice products will deliver more flavour than freshly squeezed
- cranberries—I used fresh cranberries, but frozen will also work (don't defrost them!)
Please see the recipe card for the exact ingredients and quantities.
Substitutions and Variations
- Cranberries—use fresh or frozen cranberries, but do not defrost them if using frozen. You could replace these with frozen raspberries, adding the same quantity.
- Lemon—turn this into a lemon cranberry bundt cake with lemon juice and zest instead of the orange juice and zest (check out these glazed lemon cranberry muffins for inspiration)
How to Make an Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake
Step 1: Combine the butter, sugar, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (image 1). Cream these ingredients together for several minutes until light and fluffy (image 2), then add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla (image 3). Continue whipping to form a very airy but thick batter (image 4).
Step 2: whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then add portions of the dry ingredients to the cake batter (image 6), alternating with the wet ingredients (image 7). Make sure to finish the cake batter with the dry ingredients last (image 8).
Step 3: Mix the butter until it is smooth, but don't overmix it (image 9). Fold the cranberries in by hand using a spatula (image 10). Make sure they are evenly dispersed throughout the batter (image 11).
Step 4: Transfer the cake batter to a buttered and floured bundt cake pan (image 12) then bake until golden brown and set (image 13) Use a cake tester to verify that the inside is baked through. Let the bundt cake cool for 15 minutes before flipping onto a wire rack to cool completely (image 14).
Bakeware tip: Invest in Nordic Ware bundt pans, which have a non-stick coating that helps bundt cakes unmould cleanly!
Step 5: When the bundt cake has cooled completely, prepare the icing, combining the icing sugar and orange juice in a small bowl (image 15), then using a small whisk to combine them (image 16). Pour the glaze over the top of the bundt cake (image 17). Depending on how thick it is, it will run down the sides of the bundt but in a decorative way and not completely (image 18).
Tips for Making Great Icing
For the glaze on this orange cranberry cake, I went with an easy icing sugar glaze that you can make with any liquid. Since you are pouring it on an orange cake, I flavoured the glaze with orange juice, but you could also use lemon juice for a more tart glaze or even plain milk to make it more neutral. If you go with milk, feel free to add a little vanilla extract or even a couple of drops of almond extract since almonds and orange go so well together.
The secret to the glaze is to keep it very thick. You don't need to use more than 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of liquid for 125—160 grams (1–1-¼ cup(s)) of icing sugar. This ratio makes a thick glaze, but you can still pour it on a bundt cake. It will run down decoratively without flowing into a pool at the bottom. This is the same ratio I used to glaze these cranberry lemon muffins.
You may need to sift the icing sugar if it is very lumpy and use a whisk to mix the liquid into the icing sugar to ensure a smooth icing without lumps.
Bundt Cake Baking FAQs
If your cake rose and fell, or your cake collapsed at some point in the baking process, it's possible that it is over-leavened with chemical leaveners, baking powder and/or baking soda, or it's possible that you whipped too much air into the batter (although I think this is unlikely with this recipe...). You could have trapped pockets of air in the batter as you filled the pan. It's important to push the batter into the edges and corners of the pan to make sure there are no gaps of air.
If your bundt cake collapsed as it was cooling, it's possible it wasn't baked enough. You should use a cake tester and even a digital thermometer to check if your cake is done baking.
I don't refrigerate bundt cakes once they are glazed. Cover this cake and store it at room temperature for 3 days. For longer storage, you may want to consider freezing portions for later. If you want to freeze it, you may want to skip the glaze, which might become gooey when defrosted.
Unmoulding a bundt cake is stressful. The elaborate and intricate designs create so many nooks and crannies where we all know cake will get stuck. To unmould a bundt pan, cool it for about 20 minutes, until the cake is firm but still warm. At that point, you should be able to flip it onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you have never used a one before, be sure to read this post on how to use a bundt pan before you begin!
Bundt cakes are notorious for sticking to bundt cake pans. There are a number of causes that are to blame, from the way you prepare the pan to the finish of the pan itself, that set us up for trouble. I encourage you to use soft butter to smooth it onto every single crevice of the pan before dusting generously with flour, tapping the excess. Use this post on preparing a cake pan as your guide.
Once the bundt cake is baked, do not let it cool completely in the pan because it will get stuck if you do! Make sure to unmould it after 20 minutes.
If your bundt cake cooled in the cake pan and is stuck, I recommend preheating your oven to 300 ºF and putting the cake pan back in the oven to warm it up. Within 10 minutes, you can check on it and try unmoulding it again. The goal is not to dry out the cake, but you need to warm up the edges of the pan and of the cake to melt the fats so that it will slide out. Of course, if you didn't prepare your cake pan correctly, the cake may be stuck for good. Sorry.
Other Great Cranberry Baking Recipes
This recipe for orange cranberry cake is a family favourite, made with sour cream to make a moist bundt cake that is perfect to serve with afternoon tea during the fall and winter months. Plus, it's a great dessert to feed a crowd! Here are some other cranberry baking recipes to try:
If you tried this orange cranberry cake recipe (or any other recipe on my website), please leave a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below. I love hearing from you!
Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake
Orange cranberry bundt cake
- 375 grams bleached all-purpose flour
- 7.5 mL baking powder
- 2.5 mL baking soda
- 2.5 mL Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 230 grams unsalted butter softened
- 30 mL orange zest the more you use, the better the flavour!
- 400 grams granulated sugar
- 4 large egg(s)
- 10 mL pure vanilla extract
- 250 mL sour cream (14% fat)
- 125 mL orange juice I prefer to use "premium" orange juice from the grocery store which has more flavour
- 200 grams fresh cranberries or frozen
- 125 grams icing sugar
- 30 mL orange juice or lemon juice or milk
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (165 °C).
- Prepare a 10-cup (2.4 L) bundt pan by buttering the inside lightly with softened butter. Make sure the pan is evenly coated and that the butter has reached all the nooks and crannies. Dust the inside with flour, tapping out the excess. Set the pan aside for later.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, the sugar, and the orange zest for at least 5 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. The batter should be very light and fluffy at this point.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla, and beat again to mix it really well.
- Add half the dry ingredients and stir on low to incorporate. Mix in the orange juice, and then the rest of the flour. Don't mix it in completely. When there's still some flour not yet incorporated, finish stirring with a spatula or a big wooden spoon, being sure to scrape up what's stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Fold in the cranberries.
- Dollop the batter into the prepared pan and swirl and smooth it with a small offset spatula. Bang the pan on the counter several times to make sure the batter settles into all the grooves of the pan. If you are worried, you can even push a knife through the batter to force it into place.
- Bake the bundt until it's golden brown on the top and edges. Insert a cake tester or long skewer to check the cake is done in the middle (it should come out clean). It takes about 90 minutes to bake completely and I recommend rotating the pan after about 75 minutes to make sure the front and back bake evenly. Let the bundt cool for about 20 minutes in the pan before inverting on a wire rack to cool completely.
How to make the easy glaze
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk or juice to form a very thick glaze. The glaze must be thick to adhere to the outside of the bundt without running off.
- Pour the glaze over the top of the bundt, giving the glaze a nudge in places to help it slowly drip down the sides a little.
- Use fresh cranberries for the cake or frozen cranberries, but don't defrost them before mixing them into the batter. Or replace them with raspberries.
- For the most pronounced flavour, use premium orange juice from the grocery store or prepare some from frozen orange juice concentrate. You can replace the orange juice with lemon juice. Freshly-squeezed orange juice won't yield as much flavour in the cake.
- Make sure to properly butter and flour your bundt pan to make sure the bundt cake doesn't stick to the pan. Read about how to prepare a bundt pan for more information.
- Let the cake cool slightly in the pan so it is firm enough to unmould. Don't cool it completely in the pan because it will get stuck. If this happens and your bundt cake is stuck to the pan, rewarm the bundt cake in the pan to warm up the edges enough that they may unstick. This works!