Orange Pound Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Glaze
This orange pound cake has wonderful orange citrusy and buttery flavours! It’s soaked with a simple orange syrup, drizzled with a delicious orange cream cheese glaze and topped with fresh-cut orange slices.
If you love a light buttery cake loaded with fresh citrus flavours, this orange pound cake is it!
It’s a cake I’ve added to my baking rotation because it’s delightful as an everyday cake. But what’s truly amazing, guys, is how easily this orange pound cake transforms into a decadent dessert with an easy cream cheese glaze and fresh orange slices. Talk about cheery summer vibes!
And when holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas come around, this bundt cake looks and tastes heavenly when paired with sugared cranberries and fragrant rosemary sprigs.
Table of contents
- 3 reasons why this orange pound cake should be on your must-bake list
- What is a pound cake?
- Ingredients to make orange pound cake
- Important tips
- How to make this easy orange pound cake recipe
- How to make ahead and freeze
- Frequently asked questions
- The best orange pound cake you can make year round
3 reasons why this orange pound cake should be on your must-bake list
- Bakes up beautifully. Whether in a bundt pan, standard cake or loaf pans, this orange pound cake recipe bakes up a perfect cake every time.
- Strong citrus flavour. This cake gets loads of orange flavour – as much as 1/2 a cup of orange juices and zest infused into the batter, in the soaking syrup and the cream cheese glaze. That’s a triple flavour factor!
- Moist, rich and buttery. True to its name, nothing beats the rich and buttery flavour of a pound cake. A simple orange syrup moistens the cake crumb, making sure it stays moist, not soggy!
In case you’re wondering if the syrup and glaze might make this orange pound cake overly sweet, you needn’t worry! Its sweetness is absolutely spot on without going overboard while the yogurt and juices add a nice, light tang.
You can skip the glaze though I would still do the syrup soak to moisten the cake. Once the syrup is completely absorbed, dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar, sprinkle grated zest, or decorate with edible flowers for a simple and elegant presentation.
But you know what I’m going to say, right? Don’t skip anything because all the components work so wonderfully well together and really brings this orange pound cake to a whole other level!
What is a pound cake?
A pound cake is a variation of a butter cake. Traditionally, a pound cake is made with a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour.
These days, pound cakes aren’t necessarily made with equal ingredient ratios. But they are intended as rich and dense butter cakes.
If you enjoy butter cakes as much as I do, you’ll want to try my most popular butter cake recipe here on the blog – it’s not to be missed!
While American style butter cakes enjoy a bit more leavening for lift, pound cakes are deliciously rich with a dense and compact crumb.
Because they’re rich buttery cakes, pound cakes tend to be flavoured lightly. Typically, they’re served plain with a dusting of powdered sugar or topped with a simple glaze.
Ingredients to make orange pound cake
The best thing about pound cakes is that you can make them with regular pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need:
- plain or all purpose flour. I prefer to use regular all purpose flour as I like a firm crumb in my pound cakes. Use a low-protein flour like cake flour or pastry flour if you prefer a finer, more tender crumb.
- baking soda. Leavens the cake to help it rise.
- salt. Balances the sweetness and improves the flavour of the cake.
- unsalted butter. With butter cakes, the type of butter you use can make all the difference! I like to use European butter for its higher butterfat content. Skip the additional salt in the recipe if you use salted butter.
- caster sugar. Caster sugar is great wherever a recipe calls for creaming butter. Its finer crystals create a larger quantity of small air pockets as it cuts through the butter. This makes a lighter, fluffier and airier butter mixture.
- egg yolks and whites. Use large eggs, each weighing 60 – 63 grams (2 – 2.25 ounces) still in the shell. When you separate the eggs, be careful not to get any yolk or grease into the whites. Otherwise, the meringue won’t be able to whip up stiff.
- orange juice and orange zest. Use fresh orange juice for a light flavour or boxed orange juice for a stronger taste. Orange juices and zest infuse the pound cake, simple syrup and cream cheese glaze with light, tangy citrus notes.
- plain Greek yogurt or orange-flavoured yogurt. Adds a nice, light tang and keeps the sweetness in balance in this orange pound cake. To get intense orange flavours in your cake, you can use an orange-flavoured yogurt.
- cream of tartar. Stabilises the meringue and prevents it from deflating too quickly.
- powdered sugar (not shown). Makes a glaze with cream cheese, butter and orange juice.
- block cream cheese (not shown). I use Philadelphia’s. Feel free to use your favourite brand. Be sure it’s block cream cheese and not the spreadable kind which has a different texture.
- vanilla extract. Flavours the cream cheese glaze. Use unsweetened pure vanilla extract for the best result.
- Make sure you have all your ingredients at room temperature.
- Allow butter to soften slightly to a cool temperature between 18 – 19°C (64.4 – 66.2°F). This is key to successful creaming so you’ll get the best possible aeration.
- Separate whites carefully. Do not get any trace of yolk in the whites, nor any grease in the mixing bowl or on the whisk, otherwise the meringue won’t whip up stiff.
- Grease and flour the bundt pan thoroughly. Get a good coating of grease into all the grooves including the funnel to help ensure a smooth release.
How to make this easy orange pound cake recipe
Making this orange pound cake is a lot easier than it looks. Bundt pans always make any cake look impressive but you can easily bake the batter in a regular cake pan or loaf pan. You’ll need to adjust your baking times and watch your cake in the oven.
You can make this cake with a stand mixer or with handheld electric beaters. You’ll also need a couple of handy tools like a rubber spatula and pastry brush.
Make the orange cake
The following snapshots will show you what the mixtures should look like as you go through the recipe steps. Please refer to the recipe card at the end of the post for detailed instructions.
- Prep: Measure ingredients accurately and bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
- Dry ingredients. Sift together the plain flour, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl (see picture 1).
- Meringue. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar at medium high speed. Once the meringue turns cloudy and foamy, beat in the sugar gradually until thick, smooth, and shiny. When you lift the beaters, the tips should stand straight up (see pictures 2 & 3).
- Butter mixture. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and the remaining sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 – 6 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, until well incorporated. Blend in the orange juice and grated zest until well combined, about 10 – 15 seconds (see pictures 5, 6, & 7)
- Add the dry mixture and yogurt. Reduce to low speed on the mixer. Add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the yogurt, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (see pictures 8 & 9). Mix in each addition until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, just enough to get the batter smooth and creamy.
- Fold in the meringue. With a rubber spatula, fold in the meringue in 3 additions until thoroughly incorporated. The batter should be smooth and of the same consistency throughout (see pictures 10 & 11).
- Fill the pan and bake. Generously grease and flour the bundt pan, tapping out the excess. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, level and smooth the surface (see picture 12). Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 – 50 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Make the orange syrup
In a small saucepan, heat orange juice and sugar over medium heat. Once the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and allow to cool a while.
While the cake is still warm, brush the syrup all over with a pastry brush. Allow the cake to absorb the syrup for 30 minutes before serving or topping with the orange cream cheese glaze.
Make the orange cream cheese glaze
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix or stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until smooth.
Warm in a microwave oven on low power setting for 15 seconds, or until it is at a pourable consistency. Allow the glaze to firm up slightly before drizzling over the top of the cake.
Sprinkle with grated zest and decorate with fresh-cut orange slices as desired.
How to make ahead and freeze
This orange pound cake can easily be made ahead of time and frozen. Whatever you do, do not soak the cake with the syrup if you intend to freeze it, because ice crystals can form and cause freezer burn to set in. Do the syrup soak after the cake thaws completely.
To freeze, wrap the cake in several layers of plastic wrap and seal tightly. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Pull out from the freezer to thaw overnight or for 1 – 2 hours at room temperature. Then brush with syrup, cover with glaze and decorate as desired.
How to store orange pound cake
If you intend to serve this cake soon after baking, allow the syrup-infused cake to cool completely on a wire rack. Unglazed, this pound cake will keep well at room temperature for up to 5 days in an airtight container or sealed cake box.
Once glazed, this orange pound cake is best kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy a slice chilled or warm. To serve warm, microwave a slice on medium power setting for 15 seconds, or just long enough to soften the glaze but not melt it.
Frequently asked questions
When the meringue is thick and shiny and holds firm peaks, turn off the beaters and very slowly invert the bowl. If the meringue slides or shifts, even a bit, it’s not yet stiff enough.
Whip a bit longer at a low-medium speed so you don’t end up over-whipping, for 15 – 20 second intervals and test again. Do this until the meringue sticks completely to the bowl when fully inverted (see step-by-step picture 4 above).
Use a non-stick bundt pan that’s in good condition. A scratched and worn non-stick coating may no longer give you a flawless release.
Generously grease the insides of the pan including the funnel with shortening, vegetable oil spray, or softened butter (in that order of preference) with a pastry brush. Make sure you get a good coating of grease into all the grooves, especially if your bundt pan has an intricate design.
Sprinkle flour liberally over the greased areas (again, don’t forget the funnel) to give it a thin but thorough coating. Flip the bundt pan over and tap out the excess flour.
Finally, grease and flour the bundt cake just before spooning in the batter. This is because some types of grease like melted butter and oil tend to settle towards the bottom of the pan when left to sit for a while.
The recipe makes enough batter to bake in a pan with a 10- or 12-cup capacity. If you do use a baking pan or mould other than the type and size recommended in the recipe, stick to the 3/4-full guideline for filling the pan.
The batter will fill a 9 x 2-inch square pan, 10 × 2-inch round pan, 11 × 7-inch pan, 9 × 2.5-inch springform pan, or a 10 × 3-inch Bundt pan.
Please note that baking times will vary depending on the pan used. Observe the cake as it bakes and use a cake tester to check for doneness.
Yes, you can. For best results, do consider the shape and size of your add-ins. The easiest are chopped nuts including walnuts, brazil nuts and pecans (lightly toast before adding to the batter) as well as dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, or sultanas.
If incorporating fresh fruit like blueberries, cranberries and chopped apples and pears, lightly toss in a bit of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.
You can also try this method: Spoon about two-thirds of the batter into the pan. Sprinkle half of the fruit and cover with the remaining batter. Place the remaining fruit on top and submerge them, just barely, in that top layer of batter.
It’s so easy to turn this into a lemon pound cake without making any adjustments to the recipe. Simply replace the orange juice with lemon juice and replace the orange zest with lemon zest.
For a bit of extra flavouring, add a dash of vanilla extract or rum extract. You can also infuse a pound cake with 1 – 2 tablespoon of liquors like limoncello (lemon-flavoured liquor), brandy, vodka, or amaretto.
The best orange pound cake you can make year round
This orange pound cake recipe is so easy to make and always makes an impressive cake when baked in a bundt pan. With a simple orange syrup to keep it moist for days and an orange cream cheese glaze to elevate the creamy, citrus flavours, you’re truly getting the whole package.
Whether intended as a fresh summer cake or a beautiful centrepiece dessert at holiday gatherings, one thing’s for sure – this orange pound cake will win everyone over!
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Check out more butter cakes:
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- Famous Lemon Cake
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- Moist & Buttery Lemon Raspberry Cake
- Marble Mini Bundt Cakes
- Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze
For the meringue
- 6 egg whites, from large eggs
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 100 g caster sugar
For the batter
- 360 g plain or all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 227 g butter or margarine, softened at room temperature
- 300 g caster sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
For the simple orange syrup (optional)
- 4 tbsp orange juice
- 4 tbsp sugar
For the orange cream cheese glaze (optional)
- 113 g full-fat block cream cheese, softened (I use Philadelphia)
- 62 g butter, softened
- 130 g confectioner's sugar
- 2 – 3 tbsp orange juice
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) with top and bottom heating mode. Prepare the bundt pan, pastry brush and shortening, vegetable oil spray, or softened butter for greasing. Do not grease the pan until just before filling with batter.
For the meringue
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or with handheld beaters, whip egg whites with cream of tartar at medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
For the batter
- Sift together the plain flour, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl.
- Switch to a paddle attachment on the stand mixer (or use handheld beaters). Beat butter with the remaining sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 – 6 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, making sure each is well incorporated into the butter mixture before adding the next. Add the orange juice and grated zest and beat until well mixed, about 10 – 15 seconds.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the yogurt, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter, just enough to get the batter smooth and creamy.
- With a rubber spatula, fold the meringue into the mixture. Do this in 3 additions until thoroughly incorporated and the batter is smooth and of the same consistency throughout.
- Grease the bundt pan thoroughly with shortening, vegetable oil spray or softened butter. Make sure the grease gets into all the grooves. Sprinkle flour liberally over the grease and tap out the excess.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Level the batter and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 – 50 minutes, or until the cake tests done. If the cake browns too quickly before it is done, cover the pan with a sheet of aluminium foil. To check, insert a metal skewer or cake tester into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. If it comes out sticky or covered in batter, add 5 – 7 minutes to the baking time.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Make the simple orange syrup (optional)
- In a small saucepan, combine orange juice and sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool a while. While the cake is still warm, brush with syrup all over using a pastry brush. Let the cake sit for 30 minutes to fully absorb the syrup.
Make the orange cream cheese glaze
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix or stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until smooth – the mixture will be thick and pasty. Warm in a microwave oven on low power setting for 15 seconds, or until it is at a pourable (but not runny) consistency. Allow the glaze to firm up slightly before drizzling over the cake.
Decorate the cake
- Spoon the glaze on the top of the cake, using the spoon to gently nudge it down the sides of the cake where desired. Let the glaze set. Just before serving, grate fresh orange zest over the glaze and place fresh-cut orange slices on top if desired.