Do you get excited when you discover new food and can't wait to try it in a dish? I do, which is why I made this Blood Orange Pound Cake. I had just discovered blood oranges and I bought a few while I thought about what I would make with them. I bought a lot of these blood oranges while I tested different recipes. The color of the fruit is this deep burnt red and the outside is a dark orange that transitions to a dark red in spots. When I made this pound cake the thing that surprised me the most was the pretty in pink glaze. Read on to discover more about this recipe or jump to the recipe and start baking.
I love trying new ingredients in classic desserts. A pound cake is one of my favorite classics and it's great for trying new flavor combinations or seasonal flavors, like blood orange. This pound cake is full of blood orange from the first to last bite. It is filled with orange zest, then an orange and butter soaking syrup and finally a blood orange glaze.
How to Make the Perfect Pound Cake
Get the Right Equipment. For this pound cake , you need to use a 12-cup bundt pan or a 10-cup tube pan. I recommend using Nordic Ware bundt pans. I love these pans. They're well made, conduct heat well, so you don't end up with brown spots and they're designed to move it easily to and from the oven. For most of my bundt cakes, I use the Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Anniversary Bundt Pan. If you're adding to your set of baking tools I recommend investing it a good bundt pan. It's a great all-around pan for making delicious pound cakes for home or to share with others. And if you're going to buy a new bundt pan, don't settle for one that is flimsy or thin, get this one.
Prepare the Pan. One of the things that happens more often then I like is a broken bundt - a cake that comes out of the pan in more than one piece. I learned the perfect way to butter and flour a bundt pan from America's Test Kitchen. You create a paste from melted butter and flour and use a pastry brush to coat the inside of the pan. This method ensures that there are no missed spots.
Measure Carefully. I list the ingredients in amounts and by weight. Weighing the flour and sugar will give you the most consistent results. Too much flour will result in a dry cake and too little flour will result in a sunken cake.
Use Room Temperature Ingredients. The eggs, butter, and sour cream are at room temperature. Room temperature means the ingredients are 65-68 degrees F. Adding these ingredients ensure that they emulsify properly.
Don't Undermix or Overmix. It is important to beat the butter and sugar long enough until it becomes creamy and is properly aerated. This step is important because air is whipped into the cake batter and these air bubbles will expand during baking causing the cake to rise. When adding the flour mix only long enough to incorporate the flour. Mixing too long or on too high a speed will cause gluten to develop which will result in a tough and sunken cake.
How to Make the Blood Orange Pound Cake
The basic cake is based on my tried and true pound (or bundt) cake recipe. It is the same recipe that I used for my Lemon Bundt Cake. I made this blood orange pound cake three times before I got a recipe that I wanted to present to others. The first time you could barely taste the orange flavor. The second time, I forgot to add about 1/3 of the flour. The flour was measured out in a separate bowl, but somehow as I was alternating the flour and sour cream I forgot the last of the flour. The cake rose beautifully in the oven, but after I took it out of the oven, it slowly sank like a brick in cement. The third time was the charm.
For this recipe, I bumped up the amount of orange zest (5 tablespoons) and then brushed the outside of the cake with a blood orange soaking syrup while the cake is warm. The soaking syrup slowly melts in the cake and has a nice tang when you bit into the cake. For the zest, I work it into the sugar with my fingers to release more of the orange oils and increase the orange flavor. It works every time. Five tablespoons require a lot of oranges, but it is worth the effort. I either eat the leftover oranges or use them for a smoothie.
The Soaking Syrup and Glaze
The soaking syrup is a simple combination of blood orange juice and sugar (in equal parts) and a tablespoon of butter. It creates a luscious and rich sauce to brush onto the warm cake. The cake should be warm and the syrup no cooler than room temperature. The first time I tried the soaking syrup I had serious doubts about using it all, it seemed like too much. But just keep brushing the cake until all the syrup is gone and you will bite into a moist cake, with just the right about of citrus tang.
The final glaze is even easier. Just mix the powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of blood orange juice to get this unbelievable reddish-purple glaze with orange pulp mixed in. I like a thick glaze, but you may want something thinner. Just keep adding juice (a little at a time) until it is the right consistency.
This cake is the first time that I have baked with blood oranges and I simply love this cake. The taste and appearance are delicious and beautiful. I am happy to share this recipe with you and I hope you will try it. If you don't have blood oranges (the season is short and they are not available everywhere), use regular navel oranges.
Blood Orange Pound Cake
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2.75 cups all-purpose flour sifted
- 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2.5 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons blood orange zest 4 to 5 oranges
- 5 eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice – 1-1/2 oranges
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup blood orange juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
BLOOD ORANGE GLAZE
- 1-1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons blood orange juice
FOR THE PAN
- Stir together the butter and flour in a small bowl until a paste forms. Using a pastry brush, coat all interior surfaces of a 12 cup Bundt pan. (If mixture becomes too thick to brush on, microwave it for about 10 seconds, or until warm and softened.) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
FOR THE CAKE
- Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Put the flour, baking powder and salt together in another bowl and combine with a whisk.
- Place the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and grate the blood orange zest directly into the bowl. Use your fingers to rub the zest and sugar together. This method better releases the oils and flavor of the orange zest into the batter.
- For this cake you will need 1 cup in total of blood orange juice - 1/4 cup for the cake, 1/2 cup for the soaking syrup and about 1/4 cup for the glaze. After zesting your oranges juice them until you 1 cup of juice.
- Add the butter and vanilla to the sugar orange zest mixture. Beat the butter, sugar , vanilla and orange zest on medium-high speed until the butter and sugar are fluffy, about 8 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl. Add eggs one at a time on low speed and then increase to medium until each egg is well incorporated. Stop the mixer after adding the first 3 eggs and scrape the bowl from the bottom to ensure the ingredients are well mixed. Add the remaining 2 eggs and scrape the down the after adding the last egg.
- Add 1/4 cup of blood orange juice and mix on medium until well combined.
- Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined, but do not over mix. Add one-half of the sour cream and mix on medium speed until well combined. Add half of the remaining dry ingredients, then the rest of the sour cream. Add the remaining the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
FOR THE SOAKING SYRUP
- When the cake is almost done combine 1/2 cup blood orange juice and 1/2 cup the sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until it just begins to thicken. Add the butter and whisk until butter is thoroughly combined into the glaze.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cake rack. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto a cake rack. Brush the entire surface with the glaze, using all the glaze. Allow the cake to completely cool, about 90 minutes.
FOR THE ORANGE GLAZE
- Place the cake and the rack over a plate to catch the excess glaze.
- Combine the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Stir the mixture with a spoon until it is smooth and slightly runny. At this point, you can decide if you want a slightly thinner glaze. If so add 1 more tablespoon of juice. Continue to stir until well combined. Slowly spoon the glaze over the cake.
- The cake is now ready to serve.