Welcome to the world of vibrant citrus flavor and color with this amazing Blood Orange Pound Cake. This moist pound cake recipe is a fun twist on the traditional pound cake and is perfect for anyone who loves blood oranges and their unique taste. With its moist crumb, and bright fruity citrusy orange flavor, this pound cake is sure to become your new go-to recipe for special occasions or simply as a treat to enjoy with your coffee.
The basic cake is based on my tried and true pound (or bundt) cake recipe for Lemon Bundt Cake.
I absolutely love the way this cake looks and takes. Underneath that beautiful purple glaze is the most tender and moist cake you will ever taste. The blood orange soaking syrup not only adds a beautiful color to the cake, but its citrusy tang is the first thing that hits your mouth for an incredible flavor.
During citrus season blood oranges are only available for a few short months during, so don’t miss out on making this absolutely scrumptious and delicious orange pound cake. And if you want more blood orange recipes check out my recipes for Blood Orange Curd Tart and Blood Orange Curd.
Ingredients You’ll Need for This Orange Pound Cake
Here are the ingredients that you will need for this blood orange cake recipe:
- Blood Oranges: The blood orange juice and orange zest are the main flavors of the cake. Zest the blood orange directly into the sugar and rub it into the sugar to maximize the flavor of the orange zest. Look for oranges that have red color on the outside. This color usually indicates that the inside will be dark red.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: The flour adds structure to the cake. Sift the flour to aerate and use a scale to weigh to ensure you’re not using too much or too little.
- Granulated Sugar: Sugar not only adds sweetness, but it also adds moisture and structure to the pound cake.
- Unsalted Butter: Butter gives richness, tenderness, and structure to this recipe. Start with room temperature butter (65-68 degrees F) so that it emulsifies with the the other ingredients. Unsalted butter is recommended so that you can control the amount of salt in the recipe. Salted butter can contain up to 7 grams of salt per every 4 ounces of butter.
- Lemon Juice: The lemon juice adds a little citrus tang to the cake and the glaze.
- Large Eggs: The eggs combine with the sugar and butter to add flavor, richness, moisture, and tenderness to the cake. Combined with the flour they also add structure to the cake.
- Vanilla Extract:
- Kosher Salt: The salt helps elevate all the other flavors in the cake.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder is a chemical leavener and reacts with the air bubbles in the cake batter to help the cake rise.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream adds moisture and tenderness to the cake. Use full fat sour cream for this recipe. If you don’t have sour cream you can use an equal amount (1 cup) of buttermilk.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make This Blood Orange Pound Cake
For this recipe I used the Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt Pan. It’s the perfect size for this cake. If using a different bundt pan make sure it is at least 12 cups in size.
Prep the bundt pan. Melt the butter and then stir it together with the flour. Use a pastry brush to evenly cover the inside of the pan. Be careful to get into every crevice. I find it easier to brush from the base up.
Step 1: Zest the oranges directly into the sugar. Zesting directly into the sugar will ensure that you capture the oils and moisture in the skin of the oranges and will add more flavor to the cake.
Step 2: With your fingers rub the orange zest into the sugar until the sugar starts to clumps (from the moisture in the blood orange zest) and turns orange.
Step 3: Whisk together the dry ingredients - flour, salt, and baking powder - in a medium bowl and set aside until read to use.
Step 4: Cream the orange-sugar mixture and the butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer and until the mixture is creamy, lighter in color, and stickyto the touch. The sugar is added 1/2 cup at a time to help ensure the sugar dissolves.
Step 5: Add the egg mixture in three batches, beating on medium speed until the eggs are incorporated. The eggs are added a little at a time to ensure they emulsify into the batter. After the lemon juice is added the batter will be curdled which is okay.
Step 6: Add the blood orange juice and the vanilla extract and beat into the batter. The batter may appear a little curdled, but that is okay.
Step 7: Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix it on low speed. The flour is added in thirds to avoid overmixing the batter by trying to mix in all the flour all at once. It's mixed on low speed to avoid the over development of gluten which will result in a tough cake.
Step 8: Alternate the addition of the flour mixture and the sour cream, adding the sour cream in two batches.
Step 9: Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth and even out the batter. Tap the bundt pan against the counter 5 times to remove the air bubbles from the batter.
Step 10: Bake the cake until the temperature in the center registers 203 degrees F. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. The center of the cake is the space halfway between the center and outer edge of the pan.
Step 11: Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. When the cake first comes out of the oven it is too delicate to turn out of the pan. But don’t let the cake cool longer than 15 minutes. If the cake is left in the pan too long, condensation will form, causing the cake to steam and then stick to the pan.
How to Make the Orange Soaking Syrup
The soaking syrup is a delicious combination of blood orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, and unsalted butter. This combination of ingredients creates a luscious and rich sauce to brush onto the warm cake.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the pat of butter and whisk it in. Turn off the heat and leave the pan on the burner.
When ready to invert the cake, place a piece of parchment paper over the top of the pan so it covers the cake. Place a large wire rack over the parchment paper and flip the cake over.
Immediately start brushing the cake with the blood orange soaking syrup until all the syrup is gone. If using red blood oranges, the surface of the cake will turn a beautiful red color.
How to Make the Blood Orange Glaze
Combine the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Stir until the glaze is smooth. At this point the glaze will be very thick. Add the remaining orange juice 1 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Don't make the glaze until the cake is completely cool and you're ready to add the glaze.
How to Serve This Delicious Bundt Cake
This incredible cake is perfect for family dinner, a dinner party, or picnic. For a beautiful presentation serve it will whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
How to Store This Cake
- The cake is good at room temperature in a cake container for up to 2 days.
- The best way to store it in the refrigerator is to cut the cake into pieces (about 2-3 servings in size) and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Wrapping the cake pieces will help it stay moist. When ready to serve let it come to room temperature or warm it in the microwave for about 15 seconds
- To freeze the cake wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer storage bag. To freeze a whole cake, wrap it in two layers of plastic and then one layer of aluminum foil. Freeze the cake for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours before serving.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh the flour, butter, and eggs. Weighing the eggs is especially important if you’re using organic cage-free eggs. I typically use conventional large grade AA eggs, which have a consistent weight of 50 grams. I recommend this food scale.
- Use room temperature ingredients (eggs, butter, and sour cream) to ensure the ingredients mix well together.
- Cream the butter and sugar and don’t skip this step. Air bubbles are created by creaming the butter and sugar. When the cake is baked, the baking powder reacts with these air bubbles and causes them to grown and expand.
- Add the eggs one at time to ensure they emulsify with the butter and sugar. A large portion of the egg is water and since the sugar and butter mixture you’re trying to emulsify fat and water. Add too many eggs at one time will make it harder for this emulsification to take place.
- Follow the cooling time for the bundt cake. Once the cake comes out of the oven it needs to time start to release from the pan. If you invert it too soon the cake will stick. If you wait too long, the cake will start to restick to the pan.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
If your pound cake is dry you either overbaked it or added too much flour?
If you overmix a pound cake the gluten is activated, which can make the cake tough and rubbery.
If the cake is rubbery it is either because it was overmixed after the flour was added or the eggs were cold. Make sure to use room temperature butter, eggs, and sour cream.
If you make wonderful pound cake please leave a rating and a comment below.
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If You Like This Recipe, Try These Citrus Recipes
Blood Orange Pound Cake
Cake Pan Release
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) all-purpose flour
Blood Orange Pound Cake
- 3 cups (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 1/2 cups (500 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons blood orange zest 4 to 5 oranges
- 5 large (250 grams) eggs room temperature
- 1 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice divided
- 1 cup (242 grams) sour cream room temperature
Blood Orange Soaking Syrup
- 1/2 cup blood orange juice
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter cold
Blood Orange Glaze
- 1 3/4 cups (200 grams) powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons blood orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
FOR THE PAN
- Melt the butter and then stir it together with the flour. Use a pastry brush to evenly cover the inside of the pan. Be careful to get into every crevice. I find it easier to brush from the base up. (If mixture becomes too thick to brush on, microwave it for about 10 seconds, or until warm and softened.)
FOR THE CAKE
- Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Put the flour, baking powder and salt together in medium-sized bowl and whisk together for 30 seconds.
- Place the sugar in a medium-sized blow and zest the blood oranges directly into the bowl on top of the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest and sugar together. This method better releases the oils and flavor of the orange zest into the cake 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.
- Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and with the paddle attachment mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add 1/2 cup of the blood orange-sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, Stop the mixer, add another 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture and beat for 1 minute. Repeat this step until all the sugar is added. Stop after the 3rd addition and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle attachment. After all the sugar is added beat the cream and sugar for 2 more minutes on medium speed.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until each egg is well incorporated, about 20 seconds. 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 one at time and scrape the down the sides and bottom of the bowl after beating in the last egg.
- Add 1/4 cup of blood orange juice and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed 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, mixing after each addition. Add the remaining the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to make sure the batter in well mixed.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Use an offset spatula to spoon the top of the batter. Next place a kitchen towel on the counter and bang the bundt pan 4-5 times to settle the batter in the groves of the pan and break up any air bubbles.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean or if using an instant-read thermometer and take the temperature in the center of the cake. The temperature should be 203 degrees F.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cake rack. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack. Brush the entire surface with the blood orange soaking syrup using all the glaze. Allow the cake to completely cool, about 90 minutes.
For the Blood Orange Soaking Syrup
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven combine 1/2 cup blood orange juice and 1/2 cup the sugar in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and as soon as the sugar is dissolved remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter 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 before adding the orange glaze, about 2 hours.
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 blood orange juice. Stir the mixture with a spoon until it is smooth and thick. 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.
Storing the Cake
- The cake is good at room temperature for 2 days in a cake container. The best way to store it in the refrigerator is to cut the cake into pieces (about 2-3 servings in size) and wrap each piece in plastic wrap.
- If you want to store the whole uncut cake in the refrigerator then wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap. Unwrapped cake can dry out in the refrigerator.
Another winner! I love that you brushed it with the syrup. Blood oranges are so much better than regular oranges 😀
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you Jess.
I just made this today and it is incredible! Thank you for the recipe. I can't wait to try your Meyer lemon upside-down cake.
Cheryl Norris says
I'm so glad you enjoyed it. This recipe was the first time I tried blood oranges and I was really happy with the way it turned out, especially the bright pink glaze. Thank you for trying the recipe and for taking the time to leave a comment.
Delicious! Could I substitute yogurt for the sour cream?
Cheryl Norris says
I haven't tried a yogurt substitution before, but if you do try yogurt make sure the fat content is the same as the full-fat yogurt. Please let me know how it turns out.
Hi, I am a beginner baker and followed your instructions as is and after I put my cake in the oven I realized that the vanilla was still out and I had not used it yet. I feel like I have re-read the instructions and don’t see where to add the vanilla. I was very careful to read the instructions since they were so in-depth and did not want to mess up. Am I missing something or did you forget to add that step in the written instruction? Cake currently baking so I hope it still comes out okay! Thanks! Still super excited to try the cake!
Cheryl Norris says
First of all thank you for visiting the blog and trying this recipe. Thank you for letting me know about leaving the vanilla extract out of the instructions. I really appreciate you taking the time and I have corrected that mistake. Please let me know how the cake came out and what you think.