Do you have your Thanksgiving desserts finalized yet?
You’ll get no judging from me if you haven’t finished your menu yet, because I realized LAST WEEK that Thanksgiving was THIS WEEK. I only look at my Google calendar 50 times a day, so I’m just going to go ahead and chalk that up to having a newborn and being sleep-deprived. I truly have no other explanation. My failure to keep up with the calendar led to a frantic search for our Thanksgiving turkey since I usually order it weeks in advance. Oiy.
But I digress… let’s talk about dessert, specifically this cranberry pound cake. I’ve always loved the simplicity of a really fantastic pound cake, and I’ve taken a wonderful recipe and loaded it up with fresh cranberries and an orange glaze.
I have such an adoration for Bundt cakes… they are incredibly easy to prepare and bake, quite forgiving, and they have both the simplicity and elegance that suits a casual weeknight dessert, as well as a holiday dessert table.
Bundt pans are one prettier than the next, with their intricate and elaborate designs (I’d love to start a collection!); while this makes for some eye-catching cakes, it also means that there are a lot of creases and crevices. That can spell disaster if the pan isn’t prepped properly (there’s nothing worse than cake sticking to the pan!). I swear by greasing with good ol’ Crisco and then dusting with flour. I have never had a Bundt cake stick to the pan with this method (I actually use this for all of my cake pans and find it foolproof).
I started using a cream cheese-based pound cake recipe a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. It adds just a touch of tang and a little extra creaminess, which is the perfect canvas for a myriad of flavors depending on your mood and the time of year. I’ve wanted to bake with fresh cranberries for ages, and this cake provided the perfect opportunity to let them shine.
In lieu of a traditional sugar and water or sugar and milk glaze, I opted to swap in orange juice, as I love the combination of cranberries and orange (originally fueled by a cranberry orange bread my sister buys from a local bakery and that I recreated a couple of years ago). It goes together like peanut butter and jelly!
This cranberry pound cake is the perfect opportunity to showcase seasonal flavors other than pumpkin; I promise your family will love it!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan (I used the Party Bundt pan from Nordic Ware).
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until combined and soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl once or twice, until the mixture is very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each one is completely incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, reduce the speed to low, and gradually add the flour until it has all been combined. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. In a medium bowl, toss the cranberries with the powdered sugar, then fold into the cake batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and gently spread to the edges of the pan in an even layer.
Bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the Orange Glaze
In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice and vanilla extract until smooth. The glaze should be thick but pourable; if it needs to be thin at all, whisk in a very small of orange juice at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Place the cake on a serving plate and slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Allow to set for 15 minutes prior to serving. Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.