Gingerbread+men+garnish+an+orange+cranberry+bundt+cake.+The+cake+looked+simple+but+contained+a+complex+mix+of+flavors+topped+with+smooth+buttercream.

Photo by Alexis Jackson

Gingerbread men garnish an orange cranberry bundt cake. The cake looked simple but contained a complex mix of flavors topped with smooth buttercream.

Jacksons’ Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake With White Chocolate Frosting

December 9, 2021

The holidays have always been a big deal in my family.

We go all out every year. From decorations to presents to the food, the holidays are always a time I look forward to. 

Specifically, I always look forward to the special bundt cake that my family bakes every year. The cake is an orange and cranberry bundt cake with white chocolate frosting. 

According to my dad, we started baking it after my mom found the recipe in a Homegoods magazine. My mom saw the recipe and thought it looked so good that she was going to take it upon herself to bake. 

At the time, my mom offering to bake something was uncommon. My mom has never enjoyed being in the kitchen and typically avoids all kitchen work entirely. However, that year, she pulled it off, and what she took out of the oven would go on to become a Jackson household favorite. 

As the years have gone on, the role of baking the bundt cake has been passed on to me. So for the past four years, I have spent at least three hours in the kitchen baking the bundt cake.

The cake is simple in its nature: a bundt cake covered in frosting. However, what makes this cake truly amazing is the complexity of the flavors. 

Tart cranberries combine with a light vanilla batter. The batter is velvety and airy with splashes of vanilla and almond. The flavors are then enhanced with a mixture of brown sugar and white sugar, which works perfectly with the vanilla and almond extracts. 

The batter is also sprinkled with ripe cranberries and orange zest. The cranberries work to balance the sweetness of the cake while the orange is added to brighten the cake up. 

The final element to this cake is the blanket of white chocolate buttercream on top. The butter cream is thick and rich. It elevates the cake from a simple tea cake to a dessert.  

My family has mixed it up throughout the years, substituting the buttercream for a glaze instead, which is made by combining orange zest, melted white chocolate, and a little heavy whipping cream. 

Regardless of which method you choose to ice it, this cake makes for a great holiday cake that will surely impress anyone at a holiday gathering.

 

Cake Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

5 large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups fresh cranberries

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

6 ounces quality white chocolate, melted and cooled for 10 minutes

 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325F. Generously grease a 10-inch, 12-cup bundt pan, being sure to coat all of the nooks and crannies. To grease, rub butter all around then sprinkle flour to coat the entire pan. 

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Slowly add in both the white and brown sugar, then increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

Beat in the orange zest, baking vanilla and almond extract. Reduce the speed back to medium.

Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cranberries and flour and toss well to coat. Then fold the cranberries into batter until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 70 to 75 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan and set on a wire rack for 20 minutes. 

Flip onto the rack and let it cool completely.

 While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-speed until completely smooth. 

Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until all of the sugar is completely combined. 

Add in the salt, cream, and almond extract and beat smooth. 

Add in the white chocolate and beat smooth. Once all of the ingredients have been incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for a minute.

 Spread frosting on the top and sides of the cooled cake. Top with slivered almonds and orange zest if desired. Slice and serve, or store in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

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