Cranberry Pound Cake with Orange Glaze
This Cranberry Pound Cake is wonderfully dense, moist and loaded with fresh cranberries. Topped with a simple orange glaze, it’s perfect for the holidays.
This post is sponsored by King Arthur Flour
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!
Five years ago: Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Pound Cake with Orange Glaze
For the Cake:
- 2 cups (250 g) King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour, sifted
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 5 ounces (141.75 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup (100 g) fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
For the Orange Glaze:
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
Make the Cake
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Thank you to King Arthur Flour for sponsoring this post!
I’ve been making this cake for special occasions or a weekend treat for years and it always turns out fabulously. I use whole, fresh cranberries and they pop with each warm bite. I’m making it again tonight for a Thanksgiving meal at my husband’s office tomorrow and I’m excited to present it. Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes and blog!
I’m planning to try your recipe this weekend to make holiday treats for my co-workers.
I’d like to use disposable mini loaf pans (4″x2″x2″), but I’m not sure how to estimate the volume or weight of batter from your cake to adapt to my baking containers.
Is this something you can share with me?
Amazing, best cake I’ve made in a long time. Following directions makes it turn out perfectly..
Pretty much a disaster. Carefully followed the recipe but made two smaller loaves and baked for an hour. Skewer came out clean but as soon as I tried to take them out of the pan I noticed that the crispy top had pulled away from the cake and just crumbled to pieces when I turned it out. So I have two topless pound cakes. The cake itself is a little weak. Too fluffy and not dense like a pound cake should be.
Absolutely delicious, beautiful and easy to make. I will make again. Definet go to receipe.
How did you het the glaze so pretty? I’m going to try this recipe this week and I want it to look just like yours lol.
This recipe is perfect. The King Arthur flour made all the difference between cakes I have made in the past. Well worth spending the money to purchase the flour. I put some orange zest on the top. So moist. Thanks for the recipe.
I have made this cake twice and every one loved it. It is so easy to make.
This recipe is incredible! Or as my neighbor put it when I gave her some, it is out of this world! I garnished this with candied cranberries and orange peel. It was so pretty! I will add some orange zest to the glaze next time I make it to increase the orange flavor and minimize the powdered sugar taste, but other than that, everything was perfect.
Just made this and it turned out amazing- fluffy, sweet, but tangy!
Thank you for this recipe will definitely be making it again!
Very easy to make and not too heavy. I made the cranberry for Thanksgiving to send to friends. I made them in mini bundt pans and theu turned out great.
For Xmas I’m subbing the cran with dried cherries macerated in grand marnier and added the zest and juice of a meyer lemon.
This is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made! I love the sweet cake with the tart cranberries, the cream cheese flavor, and the light fluffy cake texture. Will add orange zest to the glaze when I make it again very soon!
Made this tonight using a baking pan that has four individual loaves which cut the baking time a bit. I was afraid it would be too sweet (2 cups of sugar!), but the balance of the tart cranberries complimented beautifully. I couldn’t wait for the cakes to cool completely and tried a small slice… pure joy!!! I am surprised at how moist and light the cake is considering that it looks dense when you slice it. The aroma is also wonderful… my house smells amazing. Not sure if I’ll be glazing or icing it, it’s THAT good. Definitely making this for the holidays.
Thank you for sharing….. your recipes never disappoint.
This cake is amazing!! I have never made a pound cake with cake flour before and was so pleasantly surprised by the result. It was still dense like a pound cake but also incredibly tender. I made this for a crowd and everyone raved over it. I can’t wait to make it again.
The only thing I did differently was add a few tablespoons of melted butter to the glaze so it didn’t have that powdered sugar flavor and add a little more orange juice and vanilla to taste. Thanks so much for this winner!
I made this for Christmas and it was delicious! I enjoyed making it and can’t wait to make another one! I like the idea of the cream cheese and the butter, I do think it makes a difference in texture and flavor! Once I cut into it, it didn’t last long! People wanted seconds! I also served it with sugared cranberries which everyone loved! Several people asked me for the recipe! I used King Arthur all-purpose flour and made my own cake flour, I also use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!
I love pound cakes so I tried this recipe for Christmas. It was a hit. Loved the cream cheese cake with the tart cranberries. Will definitely make again.
This was the hit of the bake sale. It was easy and looked like a spent forever on it. Decorated it with sugared cranberries and holly. Sooo beautiful.
Can this be made a day ahead? What’s the best way to do that?
Hi Rachel, Yes, absolutely! If you have a cake dome, you can just keep it in there. Otherwise, I would wrap in plastic wrap and wait to glaze until the day you are serving.
This was incredible and a hit with my guests. I skipped the orange glaze and used your salted caramel sauce instead. What a treat!
I read receipe twice, but forgot to add flour, yes it flopped. Reread the receipe flour should be empasized, I was busy creaming eggs carefully, since there was not a leavening agent. Flopped portion did taste good ingredients were good, maybe I will try again.
I made this for my husbands’ get together with college friends. It was such a hit. He brought me home a piece since I didn’t think it was fair to sneak a piece. The taste is so good…..butter, sweet moist cake scattered with fresh cranberries…..the tartness meets the sweetness in your mouth and makes for taste explosion!
Can I substitute cranberry with blueberry or another kind of fruit ?
Hi Jessica, Absolutely!
Why add the vanilla and salt after the flour? Most recipes seem to add the vanilla to the eggs and the salt to the flour. Thanks.
Hi Fran, I came across this method years ago for another pound cake and have used it ever since.
Very moist and surprisingly not too heavy! I added blueberries and lemon zest in addition the cranberries and topped with a lemon glaze. It was a great balance of sweet and tart! I’d never tried cream cheese in a cake like this before and was very happy with the results!
Hi Tara, Thanks for the review and sharing your adaptations! It sounds delicious!
Can you use frozen cranberries and if so should you defrost them first in order to chop them?
Hi Diana, Yes, you definitely could. I would let them thaw a bit before chopping, just for safety sake :)
This cake was very delicious. Note the preparation of the pan with Crisco and flour and spend some time on this step. Mine was about the ugliest Bundt every made but my coworkers still loved it.
I just made this today. I realized it was book club night, shortly before 4PM (book club starts at 7.) inhad eyed this recipe before Thanksgiving, but my family only ever wants pie for dessert on that holiday. So, of course, I knew this is what I had to make. My friend was coming to pick me up at 6:40. Well, this went together quite quickly. The most time consuming parts were prepping the bundt pan and chopping the cranberries. But aside from that, it was in the oven in very little time. It was still warm when we started out, so I brought the glaze and drizzled it on after we arrived.
What a pay off! I knew it would be really good from the proportions and ingredients, but this was simply out of this world. Like up in the stratosphere.
It was moist, with a fine crumb. The cranberries punctuated the sweetness with an irresistible tart little kick. (BTW, sprinkling the cranberries with powdered sugar worked well to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it baked.) I made one addition, which was to add half a tablespoon of Grand Marnier in place of some of the orange juice to the glaze.
Wow. This baby is rock-your-world phenomenal!
There were only 5 of us, and after everyone had a piece, then grabbed a slice or two to take home, there is less than a quarter left. The ladies were all gushing about the flavor and moistness. You’ve done it again, Michelle. Thank you for another sure-fire winner!
Thanks so much for the review Cat, I’m so glad you loved it!
Michelle, there’s a PS to the story. Yesterday was our annual book club luncheon, and as we were enjoying our meals, someone brought up this cake. “I have dreams about it! It was so buttery, velvety, melt-in-your-mouth fabulous! Would you consider giving me the recipe?”
To which every single one of the other ladies followed with “Yes, me, too!” I emailed it to all of them last night. You just became a little more famous!
I have no idea of my bundt pan’s size…what’s the easiest way to test before I discover it’s not at least 10 cups? Didn’t bake any last week, need my cranberry fix!
Hi Susan, I’ve read that you should use a liquid measuring cup and pour water in, filling it about 2/3 full (about 1 to 1.5 inches from the top) to fine out the capacity. I’ve never done it myself since my Bundt pans are newer so I knew the size when I bought them; let me know if it works out!
Is it possible to use gluten free flour?
Hi Rachel, I’ve never used gluten free flour, so I’m not sure what the effect would be on the cake.
Would this work ok with regular flour?
Eleanor, your results would be different if you used all purpose flour. Your cake would be heavier. The cake flour makes for a light, moist crumb. If you don’t have cake flour, don’t let that stop you! I have never bought cake flour in all my decades of baking. I make it by measuring a level cup of flour, then removing 2 Tb, and replacing it with 2 Tb cornstarch. (In the case, of this particular recipe, you’d remove 4 Tb, or 1/4 cup from the two cups of AP flour, and replace it with 1/4 cup of cornstarch.) Then, sift a few times.
I make it up 4 cups at a time in advance, and store it in a ziplock quart bag so it’s available when I need it. I have several cake recipes that call for cake flour, so I find it worthwhile to keep a reserve of it. Having used all purpose flour in some of those recipes, I can declare with confindence that there is definitely a difference, and your product will be better if you opt to use cake flour. Shortcuts are often good, but not here.
Hi Eleanor, Ditto everything Cat said below (thank you, Cat!).
This was a fantastic pound cake. I added Italian candied orange peel because we love cranberry and orange together. I made the cake for a family get together and only half of it made it into the car. The other half got devoured while my back was turned. This is going to be the go to cake for the holidays. There are already plans for three more in the next two weeks for various get togethers. Thanks so much!
Can this be made in regular loaf pans and how many would it make? I know it wouldn’t be as pretty, but have you tried it? It would be easier to share this way!
Hi Jennifer, Yes, you could! It should make two loaf pans, but I haven’t made it myself.
I baked this yesterday to bring to my in-laws house for Thanksgiving. My 2.5 year old son started taking pieces from the side of it while it cooled (toddler approved), and we loved it. So moist and delicious!! I even grabbed another piece when the kids were in bed and my husband and I were watching a movie.
Love the combination of orange and cranberry! Looks delicious :)
This cake is cooking on my kitchen counter – can’t wait to try it tomorrow!
Oops! Cooling, not cooking on my counter!
Wow, this looks fantastic! DEFINITELY a top contender now for my holiday table (tomorrow, aaahhh…little behind on the times here!) I was wondering if you think the batter could be halved and baked in a loaf pan instead of a tube pan?
Hi Grace, Yes, that would definitely work!
Lovin’ your site! I just wondered if the 5 oz of cream cheese, should be 8 oz? I searched on your prior pound cakes and they had 8 oz. I made one last week very similar with 8 oz of cream cheese. Just clarifying and making sure. Have a great Thanksgiving, love the pictures of the boys and dog(s). And I’m sure the spirit of your older dog is right in the warm midst of your loving home.
Hi Mindy, Yes, 5 ounces is correct. This recipe was formulated for a 10-cup Bundt pan, while the others use a 12-cup, so you need a little bit less batter.
yes, I do indeed need a last minute desert recipe and love pound cake as a base as well! These flavors look wonderful, tart and sweet, thank you for sharing this!
I have a sweet spot (no pun intended) for both pound cake and cranberries, so this recipe is a total winner in my book! A definite must-try. Pretty Bundt pan, but you’re right – lots of cracks and crevices! I’ve used Wilton Cake Release with really good results. It greases and flours in one step.
This recipe looks terrific, but I realized there is NO leavening in it. Is this correct?
Hi Sheli, Yes, that’s correct – no leavening. Traditional pound cakes get their leavening from the eggs.
I picked up this Pumpkin Bread Nordic Pan from Sur La Table and was a nervous wreck it was not going to release. (Actually bought 2 since I ALWAYS make 2 loaf breads at a time, one to give-or freeze-and one to keep and eat.)
I decided to forego the canola spray and use my tried and true tested Crisco and flour dusting….same as you and voila. It dropped out without a hitch.
And when you look at the link and see the intricate details, you’ll see why I was so nervous. Especially since the breads were going to be gifts, you want them perfect. They were gorgeous !!
I too, would love to collect Nordic. I probably do have enough pans in my stack of baking pans to say-yes-I am official collector-but I’ve had my eye on that Party Bundt for a while now…….I think you just inspired me…….for my next Nordic purchase! Come on Black Friday !!
Your Cranberry Bundt Cake is officially on my baking bucket list.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
PS……I think the pumpkin bread pan is on sale right now.!!
Oh that loaf pan IS gorgeous!! Thank you so much for sharing the link!
Well . . . I thought I had my desserts finalized . . . . then I read your blog this morning. This may have to be a last minute addition. And truthfully, I do like the option of a seasonal cake on the table from which to choose, so this might just be it. And I have a beautiful autumn bundt pan that would be perfect to use! Have you ever used KAF’s jammy bits? They have orange jammy bits that I ordered to have on hand for making cranberry-orange scones for breakfast over Thanksgiving weekend. But I am thinking a handful of orange jammy bits thrown into this cake would be a nice addition. Thanks for sharing this beautiful cake that would work so well throughout this Holiday Season.
Hi Michelle, I haven’t used jammy bits yet, but I think the orange jammy bits would be fabulous in this cake!
I love cranberry orange anything! I can’t wait to make this.