Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake

Super moist and deliciously flavored cranberry orange bundt cake with a thick cinnamon swirl inside! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Super moist and deliciously flavored cranberry orange bundt cake with a thick cinnamon swirl inside! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Cranberry orange bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cranberry orange bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Orange icing for cranberry orange bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Super moist and deliciously flavored cranberry orange bundt cake with a thick cinnamon swirl inside! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

If you’re feeling ambitious, serve with sugared cranberries because they’re sparkly. Look at this beautiful orange and cranberry speckled crumb!

Super moist and deliciously flavored cranberry orange bundt cake with a thick cinnamon swirl inside! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) packed light or dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • zest from 1 orange (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 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*
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw if frozen)*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Orange Glaze

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons (45-60ml) fresh orange juice*

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch bundt pan.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment beat the butter, 1 cup (200g) brown sugar, granulated sugar, and orange zest together until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The mixture will look curdled; that's ok-- it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, add the milk and fresh orange juice, and beat on medium speed it all until the batter is completely combined. Beat or stir in cranberries. Batter is thick, yet silky.
  4. Make the swirl: Mix the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
  5. Pour half of the cake batter evenly into the prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle the swirl ingredients evenly on top and pack down slightly-- it will be a thick layer of swirl! Cover evenly with remaining cake batter.
  6. Bake for 55-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with just a couple lightly moist crumbs. This is a large, heavy cake so don't be alarmed if it takes a little longer in your oven.
  7. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours inside the pan. Then, invert the slightly cooled bundt cake onto a wire rack or serving dish. Allow to cool completely.
  8. Make the icing: Whisk confectioners' sugar and 3 Tablespoons of orange juice together. Add 1 extra Tablespoon of juice to thin out as needed. (Alternatively, add an extra Tablespoon or 2 of confectioners' sugar to thicken, if desired.) Drizzle icing over cake before slicing and serving.
  9. Cover leftover cake tightly and store at room temperature for a couple days and/or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Make ahead tip: You can make the entire cake ahead of time (before topping with icing). Cover cooled cake and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before icing and serving. Baked cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature (if desired) before icing and serving.

Recipe Notes:

*You can use 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Just as moist and delicious!

*Use fresh orange juice. You'll need an orange for the zest anyway, so use up that juice in the cake and icing. The cake tastes MUCH better with fresh juice than with store-bought OJ.

*1 and 3/4 cups of fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries work.

I used sugared cranberries for garnish!

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Super moist and deliciously flavored cranberry orange bundt cake with a thick cinnamon swirl inside! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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Super moist and deliciously flavored cranberry orange bundt cake with a thick cinnamon swirl inside! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

90 Comments

Comments

  1. thesweetworldsite on December 11, 2017 at 12:07 am

    I love orange recipes. This is perfect for the Christmas time 🙂
    https://thesweetworldsite.wordpress.com

  2. Sandy B on December 11, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Hmmm…with cranberries and orange juice (fruits!) I can totally call this Christmas breakfast. 🙂 I was born, raised, married and raised my family in Massachusetts. I visited Ocean Spray’s facilities and a number of cranberry bogs through the years. I LOVE cranberries and this looks like another winner. Thanks for the recipe – Merry Christmas!

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:49 am

      Sounds like this cake will taste like home. 🙂
      Let me know how you like it!

  3. Patricia @Sweet and Strong on December 11, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Yum, cranberry and orange is such a great combo.  I added a bundt cake pan to my xmas list 🙂

  4. bee walker on December 11, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Totally on this tomorrow! My MIL ❤️ My cranberry orange biscotti, so we’ll double her up!  Last tim I made this version of your bundt, I swapped out the swirl for gingerbread spice (it was a gift for a crowd that I feared wouldn’t love the cardamom).  It was a hit.  Used the BB icing with it too!  Happy Holidays Sally!

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Another reader mentioned gingerbread spice to me– I’ve never seen gingerbread spice– just the spices sold separately. I’ll have to keep my eye out!
      Let me know how you all like this cranberry orange cake 🙂

  5. Janet Hegwood on December 11, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Sally, I love you!! 🙂 Thanks for all the great, decedent, delicious recipes!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Thank you Janet! Merry Christmas 🙂

  6. ReneeW on December 11, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Sally, is there a way to add nuts to this cake? Thanks! 🙂

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Definitely. 1 cup (or more for lots of nuts!) of chopped pecans/walnuts would be great.

  7. Angela on December 11, 2017 at 9:18 am

    YUM! We are doing a Christmas “Brunch” on Christmas morning which basically translates into Mimosas with a side of food (LOL) but I will definitely be putting this on the Brunch table! I love the sugared cranberry idea, too! I make your Orange Glazed Cranberry bread at Thanksgiving every year and it’s always a hit, so I am sure this will be just as tasty!! Can’t wait to try it! And PS I’m starting my cookie baking this week, everything I plan to present this year is from your book/blog <3 You are the BEST! Have a great week girlie.

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Have fun baking this week! This cranberry orange cake is a great “snacking” cake to have out during the holidays. I plan to make it for brunch on Christmas eve!

  8. Stephanie on December 11, 2017 at 9:25 am

    This is exactly what was missing for my Christmas desserts table! Do you think your Brown butter icing would go well with this? I think I’d like a thicker icing for it to make it even more dessert-y. 🙂

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Absolutely! The brown butter flavor would pair wonderfully with the orange and cranberry.

  9. Pattie Gilbert on December 11, 2017 at 9:51 am

    How would nuts added to the swirl layer be?

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Delish– I’d go with 1 cup chopped nuts. Pecans or walnuts would be wonderful.

  10. Shannon on December 11, 2017 at 10:11 am

    You’re speaking my love language, Sally: cranberry + orange = the best! I’ve made your glazed orange cranberry bread and LOVE it. Now I can scale it up and make it fancy!

    (Minus the cinnamon…I know. But I like things tart!)

    Btw, I brought your Espresso White Chocolate Chunk cookies to a cookie exchange yesterday and got the prize for “Best Tasting Cookie.” You’re awesome!

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:40 am

      WOW! I’m not surprised, I adore those cookies! Thanks for sharing that with me!

  11. marilyn roche on December 11, 2017 at 10:30 am

    can’t wait to make this!! I crave this combo yr. round! 🙂

  12. Denise on December 11, 2017 at 11:04 am

    This Bundt looks delicious. What can I use instead of the orange juice?

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 11:51 am

      Milk works!

  13. Grace on December 11, 2017 at 11:04 am

    can I use dried cranberries (Craisens) for this recipie instead of fresh or frozen?
    Thanks

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Yes, dried cranberries are ok!

  14. Hayley on December 11, 2017 at 11:27 am

    My mom is ALL about things cranberry & orange. I’m loving that cinnamon-swirl in between! Still got finals to study for yet every new notification from your site just keeps pulling me back into the kitchen 😉

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Good luck on your finals, Hayley! Hope you get to bake this when they are over!

  15. Sue on December 11, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Looks super yummy! Could you bake the batter in a load pan?

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      This makes a lot of batter for a bundt pan but if you split it between several loaf pans it should work. I’m unsure of the baking time.

  16. Nicole Hodges on December 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    My husband just asked for an orange cranberry dessert for Christmas dinner. This looks perfect! 
    I love all your recipes! We are currently working on trying all the cookies on your Christmas cookie list! 

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      So many cookies! You’ll have to let me know if you have a favorite.

  17. Alison on December 11, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I can’t wait to make this!  Do you think the cake is sturdy enough to have a streusel topping (sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts)?

    • Sally on December 12, 2017 at 6:53 am

      Yes, absolutely!

  18. Mary Lambert on December 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    can this made in a 9 x 13 pan. I have such rotten luck with bundt cakes?

    • Sally on December 12, 2017 at 6:59 am

      Hi Mary! There is too much batter for a 9×13 size pan. But you can use enough batter to fill the pan halfway. Use any leftover batter for mini loaves, a 9×5 loaf, or mini cupcakes.

  19. Abbie on December 11, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    What capacity bundt pan does this fill? Thanks!

    • Sally on December 12, 2017 at 5:50 am

      12 cup

  20. Paige Flamm on December 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    This cake looks amazing! I wish I was snacking on some right now!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  21. Rita Rossi on December 11, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    What can I use instead of cranberries?

    • Sally on December 12, 2017 at 5:47 am

      Chopped nuts, dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, coconut, dried fruit 🙂

  22. Alison on December 11, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Looking forward to making this!   Do you think this would be good with a streusel topping?  I was afraid that it might sink into the cake.  I would use a regular tube pan if I added the streusel 

    • Sally on December 12, 2017 at 5:46 am

      I think the addition of streusel on top would be great!

  23. Betsy on December 11, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Sally! I LOVE orange and cranberry so I will be making this cake ASAP!  I’m thinking about trying some cardamom in the cinnamon brown sugar swirl. How much cardamom do you suggest I use?  Thank you!  

    • Sally on December 12, 2017 at 5:45 am

      I’d add 1/2 teaspoon. Should be delicious!

  24. Ashley @ thedelightfulbite.com on December 11, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    This bundt cake looks soooo good, Sally! I have been debating on what dessert to make for my Christmas Luncheon at work – and this is definitely the one!!!!! 

  25. Laura | Tutti Dolci on December 12, 2017 at 1:30 am

    This is so gorgeous, love that ribbon!

  26. Katherine on December 12, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I make a pound cake that is similar to this and has a butter sauce, and wow it is so good. Cranberry and orange are perfect together! This looks great!

  27. monika on December 12, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    That is a lot of sugar. Will this still work with…1 cup (TOTAL)?

    • Sally on December 12, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      Some goes into the batter and some goes into the swirl. 🙂 But feel free to reduce if you prefer!

    • anna on December 15, 2017 at 3:30 am

      I baked this cake last night and reduced the total sugar to under 1 cup. That is the general rule for me as I find more than a cup in any cake is too sweet. It tasted good and is very moist, but I did find the cake a tad oily so next time i will reduce the butter as well.

  28. Traci Walther on December 12, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Orange and cranberry are one of my all time favorite flavor combinations for Christmas! I can’t wait to make this cake! I’m thinking this week for when my mom comes down for a visit! Hoping I can find the time I’ve been busy baking cookies (made 8 different cookie doughs) to prep for Christmas, all recipe from your cookie cookbook or blog of course! Got 2 more to bake up the Butter Spritz cookies for a cookie swap and hot cocoa cookies! Thank you for all your fabulous recipes, I absolutely love them and love reading your blog! 

  29. Romy on December 13, 2017 at 6:50 am

    This cake looks absolutely delicious! Do you think it would be possible to make it into muffins/cupcakes?
    Thank you!

  30. Niki Daugherty on December 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    I was just talking with a friend about how I love citrus-y desserts! It’s just nice and refreshing! Can’t wait to try this recipe! 

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