Super moist cranberry orange bundt cake is dotted with cranberries and drizzled with a simple orange glaze. Each slice boasts a buttery brown sugar orange crumb– a welcome addition to any holiday party!
If you’re tired of Christmas cookies, today’s your day. And if you’re not tired of cookies, stick around because this bundt cake is a must make this holiday season!
We’re taking a break from Christmas cookies and diving headfirst into this simply stunning cranberry orange bundt cake. We’re combining tart cranberries, a thick cinnamon swirl, and sweet orange glaze to create a dessert that’s perfect for every holiday celebration!
Cranberry & Orange Flavors
Peppermint and mocha. Pumpkin and spice. Butter and pecan. Ginger and molasses. Mint and chocolate. There’s no doubt this time of year is home to some of the most delicious and irresistible flavor combinations. 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 sweet orange– oh, what a marriage!
I love this flavor duo year round, but especially during the holidays when we could all use a little pop of sweet/tart flavor in between chocolatey and rich desserts. Don’t get me wrong, this cranberry orange bundt cake is definitely decadent– and I love the flavor profile this cake adds to the holiday season. A few other crannie and orange recipes I love? Orange cranberry bread, cranberry orange scones, and cranberry orange muffins.
Behind the Recipe
This super-moist glazed orange bundt cake is dotted with cranberries and has a thick cinnamon swirl nestled inside. Chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake is the starting point for this recipe. It’s honestly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made, even without the chai cinnamon swirl inside. It’s insanely buttery, moist, and dense without being too heavy.
With a quality base recipe like that, the options are endless. I knew that’s where I wanted to start when crafting a holiday inspired cake.
Ingredients in Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
Because they’re so large, bundt cakes have a tendency to dry out. Not this one! We’re using lots of power ingredients for mega flavor and texture.
- Flour: We use sturdy all-purpose flour as the base of this bundt cake. It’s strong enough to hold up the cranberries and all the liquid ingredients.
- Baking Powder: 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder is more than we use for a typical cake, but it’s needed to help this hefty cake rise.
- Salt + Vanilla Extract: Both salt and vanilla extract add flavor.
- Butter: This is a very buttery cake so we use lots of butter. I never said this was diet food! 🙂
- Sugars: Paired with orange, cranberry, and cinnamon, brown sugar is clearly the way to start! We use brown sugar as the primary sweetener, with just a touch of granulated sugar.
- Orange Juice + Zest: Can’t have a cranberry orange cake without flavor from real oranges. We use both orange zest and juice for added flavor and moisture. I don’t recommend store-bought OJ because it’s too thick and I found it made the cake too wet.
- Eggs, Sour Cream, + Milk: 5 eggs, sour cream, and milk add moisture. It’s a lot of volume but remember, we want a mega moist cake with a buttery crumb.
- Cranberries: Use fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries– 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. A pop of cranberry here, a pop of cranberry there. Just under 2 cups is the magic spot.
Cinnamon Swirl Filling
Layer the cinnamon swirl between the cake batter– half of the cake batter on the bottom, half of the cake batter on the top. There’s no need to actually swirl it, the oven will take care of that. The weight of the cake batter rises and falls as it bakes, moving the cinnamon swirl along with it.
Easy Orange Icing
I love making icings and glazes with fresh citrus juices– a little tang with a little sweet is always a good idea! You’ll notice that the icing is a little thin, but it will “set” on top of the cake. For an alternative, try the brown butter icing used on my peach bundt cake or the cream cheese frosting used on my chocolate gingerbread bundt cake.
Before You Bundt
- Bundt Pan: 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. Plus, the shape is so pretty!
- Curdled Ingredients: The wet ingredients will look somewhat curdled before you add the dry ingredients– this is due to the ranging temperatures of the ingredients. It’s normal. The butter may be warmer than the eggs, the sour cream may be colder than the butter, etc. It will all come together when the dry ingredients are added.
If you’re feeling ambitious, serve with the sparkly sugared cranberries that I used on my pumpkin pie!Print
Super moist and deliciously flavored cranberry orange bundt cake with a thick cinnamon swirl inside!
- 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
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3–4 Tablespoons (45-60ml) fresh orange juice*
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch bundt pan.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make the swirl: Mix the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Instructions: 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Bundt Pan | Custom Stamped Fork
- Sour Cream: You can use 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Just as moist and delicious!
- Orange Juice: 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.
- Cranberries: 1 and 3/4 cups of fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries work.
- Garnish: I used sugared cranberries from my pumpkin pie recipe!