This cranberry orange bundt cake is a festive bright and tangy bundt cake filled with orange zest and fresh cranberries. To amp up the cranberry flavor even more, a fresh cranberry orange sauce is swirled between layers of batter. Topped with a simple vanilla orange glaze, this bundt cake is divine.
How to prepare a bundt pan to prevent sticking
One of the only tricky parts to making a bundt cake has to do with getting it out of the pan in one piece.
There are many different ways people have to keep the bundt from sticking, but I've found a way that works every time and it's easy!
Use a baking spray that has flour added to it and spray the entire pan evenly with the spray. Use a pastry brush to brush the spray into any nooks or crannies that it didn't make it into.
You also want to make sure that you don't spray so much that the spray pools at the bottom of the pan. Make sure you are rotating the pan or moving the can of baking spray as you are spraying so that you get good coverage without using too much.
The other key part to getting the bundt out of the pan without sticking is the right timing. Let the bundt cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before attempting to invert it. Any longer than 15-20 minutes of cooling time can cause the sugars in the cake to stick to the side of the pan resulting in the dreaded broken bundt.
When you are ready to invert the cake from the pan, choose your serving platter so that it is flat and slightly larger than the top of the bundt pan. Place the serving platter on top of the bundt pan and with one hand on the platter and one on the pan, flip the cake upside down while holding the platter tightly to the pan.
The bundt should release from the pan in one piece. If it doesn't release from the pan, flip it back over and wait for another five minutes for it to cool. Try again and tap the top of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon to help it release if it still doesn't release on its own.
Easy cranberry orange sauce
What sets this cranberry orange bundt cake apart from others is the tangy cranberry orange sauce layered with the batter. It's a fresh contrast to the rich buttery cake and really takes it over the top.
The sauce is super simple to make. Just combine fresh cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice together in a saucepan. Let the mixture come to a boil and then simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes until it thickens.
Stir the sauce occasionally and crush some of the cranberries with the back of a spoon. My sauce came together in just 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before layering it in the batter.
Mine cooled in one hour on the counter but you could also place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
Tips for a perfect bundt cake
This cranberry orange bundt cake is not difficult, but as with any baking project, there are always a few things to keep in mind for the best results.
- Measure the flour correctly- Cakes will be dry when too much flour is added. To avoid that, use the spoon and level technique to measure the flour. Use a spoon to scoop flour into your measuring cup until it's overflowing. Then, use the back of a knife to level off the flour. Don't scoop your measuring cup into the flour and level as you will end up with too much flour. You can also weigh the flour using a food scale. You need 320 grams of flour plus the additional tablespoon for the cranberries.
- Prevent the cranberries from sinking- To prevent the cranberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake (or the top after it's inverted), toss them with 1 tablespoon of flour to lightly coat them. Then add them to the batter. The flour will help keep the cranberries from sinking during the baking process and disperse them more evenly through the cake.
- Don't overmix the batter- This is one tip that applies to most baking recipes. Overmixing the batter leads to a tough crumb due to the overdevelopment of gluten. Just mix until a few streaks of flour remain and then stir in the cranberries.
Yes, you can freeze the entire bundt cake. Freeze the cake without the glaze and glaze it before you serve it.
Wrap the cooled bundt cake in plastic wrap and then in foil. You can freeze the cake for up to a couple months.
To thaw the cake, simply place it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours.
You can substitute frozen cranberries for the fresh cranberries in the cake and there is no need to thaw them prior to using them. You can also use frozen cranberries for the cranberry orange sauce as well, again without thawing them.
For the cake, dried cranberries can be substituted but they can't be substituted for the sauce.
Sure. The cake can be made without the cranberry orange swirl. I promise the sauce is worth it though! It really gives the cake a punch of tangy cranberry flavor. The sauce is simple to make and the only difficulty is letting it cool for an hour before using. You can speed this process up by refrigerating it or even freezing it for a short amount of time to cool it quickly.
Yes, you can substitute full-fat greek yogurt for the sour cream. The fat is needed to keep the cake moist so try not to sub low-fat or non-fat yogurt. Full-fat plain yogurt can also be used.
How to store the leftovers
The cranberry orange bundt cake can be stored at room temperature, in an air-tight container. If the cake is sliced into, you can place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper directly onto the sliced edge to keep it from drying out. It will last for up to 3-4 days before becoming dry.
For more cake recipes, check out:
- Chocolate Loaf Cake with Pomegranate Glaze
- Chocolate Brownie Cake
- Chai Cake with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache
Tag me on Instagram @themarblekitchenblog if you make this and leave a star rating and comment below! Thank you and enjoy!
Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake with Fresh Cranberry Sauce Swirl
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 2 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
- ½ cup fresh orange juice from 2-3 large oranges-zest before you squeeze them
- 1 orange zested
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon divided
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 12 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sour cream
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
Vanilla Orange Glaze
- 1 ½-2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoon orange juice freshly squeezed
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Place all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium to medium high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Use the back of a spoon to crush some of the cranberries as they cook.
- Allow the compote to cool completely for at least one hour before using.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 10-12 cup Bundt pan with baking spray (with flour added). Make sure to coat the whole pan and use a pastry brush to brush any missed spots. Don’t allow excess spray to pool at the bottom of the pan. Alternately, butter and flour the entire pan.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of flour with the fresh cranberries and stir gently to coat them in flour. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for about 3-4 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy on medium/medium-high speed.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Add the orange zest and mix well.
- In a small bowl or pourable measuring cup, whisk together sour cream, milk, orange juice and vanilla. Set aside.
- Starting with the dry ingredients, add about ⅓ to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until combined.
- Add half of the milk/sour cream mixture and mix well. Continue alternating dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry ingredients and stirring until just a few streaks of flour remain.
- Fold in the cranberries.
- Pour two thirds of the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth the top.
- Spoon the cranberry compote over the batter, trying not to get too close to the sides.
- Layer the rest of the batter on top of the cranberry compote and smooth the top.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan and then invert the pan onto the serving platter you will be using and let it cool completely.
Vanilla Orange Glaze
- Mix together 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of orange juice until a glaze forms.
- Add more powdered sugar by the tablespoon if you prefer a thicker glaze and more orange juice by the teaspoon for a thinner consistency.
- One 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries yields about 3 cups of cranberries.
- Frozen cranberries can also be used or in a pinch, dried cranberries can be used in the cake but not in the cranberry sauce.
- Store the bundt cake covered at room temperature for 3-4 days.