Orange Cranberry Pound Cake

by Sara on January 18, 2011

orange cranberry pound cake

Sometimes I conduct food experiments.

I’m not referring to cooking or baking, but more of what I eat. Yesterday was going to be such an experiment, but halfway through the day, I changed my mind.

floured cranberries

Now and again, I dial back my carb intake for a few days, as my own little detox. It’s very easy for me to get pretty intense cravings for sugar or starch, and when they seem to overpower my desire for more nutritious food, I take a few days to get back on track.

So yesterday, I had a plan to avoid sugar and starch. I thawed some chicken soup from the freezer – it’s heavy on the chicken but has enough carrots and celery to provide some veggies, and planned on a few nachos for dinner (sounds funny, I know, but a serving of tortilla chips smothered with taco meat and cheese is surprisingly low in carbs). Breakfast was rough, as it always is when I try to avoid starch; pretty much the only thing I can tolerate in the morning is something with grains, especially this time of year. I nearly overdose on yogurt with fruit each summer, so that’s often out of the question come January. Instead, I had a piece of swiss cheese and a handful of mixed nuts.

It made me sad.

ready to be baked

I did make it through breakfast and lunch, but after shoveling for the second time that day with the wind whipping snow in my face, all I wanted was a steaming mug of cocoa. Preferably with a marshmallow.

And this, folks, is why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions anymore. (Incidentally, I heard on the news yesterday that the third Monday in January marks the day people are the most depressed in winter – a combination of the holidays having passed, lack of sunlight, and failed resolutions. Because in the US it was a holiday yesterday, they’ve pushed depression day back a week.)

baked pound cakeglazing the cake

Instead, I reminded myself that I’ve been working on a cooking/baking bucket list for the year. I reminded myself that over the past year, I’ve made a lot of changes on how I eat, without really changing what I eat. I am the type that needs to truly allow myself to have what I want to eat, and balance that with what I need to eat.

bite of cake

It can be very difficult, allowing yourself whatever you please. I tried that for years, but truthfully, I could never do it without feelings of guilt. But then something big happens in life, a game changer. All of a sudden, you view food differently, in terms of it satisfying both your nutritional needs, as well as the needs of your soul. The harmony of these needs is what makes me happy and feeling good.

So to achieve personal nirvana (or so I tell myself), I decided to make this pound cake. I’ve been itching to use one of my bags of frozen cranberries, and I even had some oranges in the fridge, oranges that I bought specifically to entice me into using the cranberries.

I love the sweetness of the orange glaze combined with the tart cranberries, all wrapped up into a moist sour cream pound cake. It’s a burst of sunshine to your day when nature refuses to provide it.

glazed cake

Orange Cranberry Pound Cake
somewhat adapted from Everyday Food, July/August 2010

Print Recipe

½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs (room temperature)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12 ounce bag fresh/frozen cranberries
1 ½ cups + 1 teaspoon all purpose flour, divided
½ teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup sour cream (room temperature)

for the glaze:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease 9×5 inch loaf pan with butter (or use cooking spray), then line with parchment, first with a sheet covering the long side of the pan, then with a sheet covering the short side of the pan, with about an inch or two of overhang on all sides. Grease the top of the parchment with butter.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.

Beat the sugar and orange zest on medium to break down the oils in the zest. Add the butter and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time until blended, then add vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and add the flour in 3 batches, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Be careful not to overmix. With a spatula, scrape the batter off the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold to mix. Add cranberries, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour; fold to mix. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 1 ¼ hours or until an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove to wire rack sitting on a baking sheet to cool completely.

Prepare glaze. Whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk, and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

When glaze has set, transfer cake to serving platter before cutting.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Victoria (District Chocoholic) January 18, 2011 at 11:31 am

Cranberry+orange is such a winning combination – and with a dense, sour-cream-based cake, it’s even better. Very nice looking recipe.

Three-Cookies January 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

The colors look absolutely amazing

Michelle January 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

It actually looks like it’s studded with jewels. :) Loving that photo on the fork!

Three-Cookies January 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I included one of the photos in my blog as a favourite and acknowledged source. I hope its OK, if not please let me know.

My favourite from day before yesterday was in food buzz’s top 9 yesterday – coincidence. I hope you make it as well:)

Sara January 19, 2011 at 7:57 am

Victoria, they really are one of my favorite flavor combinations.

Thank you, Michelle!

Three Cookies, yes, that’s fine – thank you for asking!

Rosa January 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Mmmhhh, that cake with it’s delicious fruity pockets of acidity and scrummy icing must taste divine!

Cheers,

Rosa

Lindsay January 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm

This looks delicious! I love the flavour combination, and lovely photos, too!

Sara January 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

Rosa & Lindsay – thank you! :)

Eva January 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I definitely indulge myself with whatever sweets I come across. Gorgeous cake!(:

Sara January 22, 2011 at 9:04 am

Eva, they can be difficult to resist, that’s for sure.

Lisa January 23, 2011 at 2:11 am

That pound cake slice is a beauty to behold and I love the idea of an orange cranberry combo for this. I’ll have to remember this when it’s cranberry season again. I have a new linky on my blog called “Sweets for a Saturday” and I’d like to invite you to stop by and link this up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/01/sweets-for-saturday-1_21.html

Sara January 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

Thank you, Lisa, I will check it out.

Wendy January 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Oh. my.

I have been fighting the carb monster all day today… I thought I just might win… then I went to foodgawker to catch up.. I saw this and the carb monster has taken control!

I’m not sure whether to thank you or curse you.. but I know this, I’ll be making this tonight! :)

It looks WONDERFUL!!

~Wendy

Sara January 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

Wendy, I hope you found it worth succumbing to the carb monster. :)

Ria November 20, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Hi Sara,
I know you posted this recipe in Jan. and am not even sure if you’ll get to read this one.

As I await my cake to come out of oven in 71 min. exact, it’s really unbearable to be patient!!!

Our home is getting filled with aroma the anticipation is getting up to high heavens.
I hope it comes out alright.
I had a little confusion with the instruction *my fault* and added the sour cream with butter in the beginning, then followed everything eles to the dot…
(Add the butter and cream on medium… I thought ‘oh, she must have meant SOUR CREAM’ I didn’t read ‘cream’ as mix, but stinking sour cream. T.T)
*Oh, and I put a splash of Cointreau along with the vanilla extract.*

I am so dying to have a slice before I go to bed tonight and I’m gonna be so bummed out if this batch doesn’t work out.

I’ll let you know.

Sara November 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

I hope it turned out great!

Ria November 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hi again Sara,
it DID turn out great!!!
My hubbie and I had some last night and he packed couple more slices for work today.

I am so relieved.
Tart cranberries make my lips pucker, but with the icing on top, the balance is just on the dot.

Never tried a pound cake recipe with sour cream in it, and was amazed to find out how much more moist it turned out to be.

One question though,
fortunately I had aluminum free baking powder on hand, but what would be the difference of using one with aluminum in it?

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe.
Happy Thanksgiving!

ps. This is gonna be for Thanksgiving for sure~!

Jenny January 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm

I was attracted to your simple recipe. I am overly acquainted i with the divinity of cranberry and orange. My cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner is always cranberry with orange. I always buy extra cranberries for pound cake. As I type this your recipe is in my oven, I had to use Balkan yoghurt in place of sour cream, crossing my fingers! :)

Jenny January 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Perfect!

Leticia Martinezz February 15, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Orange Crandberry pund bread moist

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