This orange cranberry pound cake is moist, flavorful and easy to make. It’s flavored with fresh orange zest and filled with cranberry sauce. This festive cake is perfect for Christmas breakfast or dessert.
This cranberry orange pound cake is so fresh tasting and delicious. It has cranberry sauce swirled throughout. This recipe is simple to make and perfect for the holidays.
I make this cake using leftover cranberry sauce every year after Thanksgiving. Use leftover cranberry sauce or storebought sauce to make this cake. I’ve also included an easy cranberry sauce recipe if you’d like to make your own.
Why We Love This Recipe
- It looks fancy, but it is simple to make. The batter and icing are made with pantry friendly ingredients.
- This cranberry orange cream cheese pound cake is perfect for the holidays! For another holiday brunch treat, try my Christmas donuts recipe.
- You will love the taste of the homemade cranberry sauce swirled throughout. For another delicious cranberry cake, you’ll love my Christmas cranberry cake.
- The orange icing is simple to make and adds the perfect sweet finishing touch!
Below are useful notes about some of the ingredients for this cranberry orange cream cheese pound cake.
- Cranberries: Cranberries are a small, tart fruit. I love the tart, sweet, fresh flavor they add to desserts! Use fresh or frozen cranberries to make the sauce. Try my lemon cranberry bars for another flavorful cranberry treat!
- Butter: Use unsalted, room temperature butter.
- Cream cheese: Use full fat, room temperature cream cheese. Use the type of cream cheese that comes in a brick, not in a tub.
- Orange zest and orange juice: Cranberries and orange are such a good combination. There is orange in the cranberry sauce, cake and icing. Be sure to try my cranberry shortbread cookies if you love this combination!
- Cornstarch: For thickening the sauce.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon deepens the flavor of the cranberry sauce.
Please see recipe card below for full list of ingredients and their measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- Use store bought cranberry sauce instead of homemade or leftover cranberry sauce. You’ll need about 3/4 cup of cranberry sauce to make this cake.
- Instead of orange zest and orange juice, use lemon zest and lemon juice.
- If you have a chocolate fan in the house, make my chocolate chip pound cake loaf!
Below are directions for making this cranberry orange pound cake recipe.
Step 1: (Photo 1 above) Bring the water, orange juice, cinnamon stick and sugar to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cranberries and cornstarch and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Stir constantly until thickened. Allow to cool.
Step 2: (Photo 2 above) Beat the butter and cream cheese til pale in color. Mix in the sugar.
Step 3: (Photo 3 above). Add the eggs one at a time. Next, mix in the vanilla and orange zest.
Step 4: (Photo 4 above) Add the dry ingredients until just combined.
Step 5 (Photo 5 above). Spoon 1/3 batter into a loaf pan. Spread 1/2 of the cranberry sauce evenly over top of the batter.
Step 6: (Photo 6 above) Spread another 1/3 of the batter on top. Spread the remaining cranberry sauce over the batter. Top with the rest of the cake batter.
Step 7: (Photo 7 above). Run a knife or skewer through the batter in a swirling motion. Drag the knife side to side from the top to the bottom of the pan.
Step 8: (Photo 8 above). Bake 50-60 minutes until the cake is a toothpick comes out mostly clean inserted in the center of the cake. Cool completely before icing. To make the icing, add the powdered sugar to a bowl. Whisk in the orange juice and zest until desired consistency is achieved.
Hint: Use an offset spatula to spread the layers of cranberry sauce and cake batter.
- Make sure your cream cheese and butter are softened to room temperature before using.
- Make sure cranberry sauce is spreadable. If you are using store bought cranberry sauce, stir it in a bowl to make it spreadable. If needed, microwave it for 10 seconds at a time just until it’s spreadable.
Yes. Be sure to give store bought cranberry sauce a stir so that it is spreadable.
Use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to spread the sauce over the batter.
Store this cranberry pound cake with orange glaze in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 30 days. Let thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Top with icing after thawing.
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Orange Cranberry Pound Cake
- 2 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
- ½ cup granulated sugar or more, to taste
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese full fat, brick style, room temperature
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 -2 tablespoons orange juice add 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Place the water, orange juice, cinnamon stick and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cranberries and cornstarch and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Stir constantly until thickened. Stir in the orange zest. Remove the cinnamon stick. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the cake batter.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- With a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy and light. Add the sugar and beat an additional minute until slightly fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the orange zest and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat until dry ingredients are just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
- Spoon 1/3 batter into the prepared loaf pan. Spoon and then spread 1/2 of the cranberry sauce evenly over top of the batter.** Spoon and evenly spread another 1/3 of the batter on top. Spread the remaining cranberry sauce over the batter and cover that layer with the remaining 1/3 of the batter.
- Stick a knife or skewer in the batter almost to the bottom of the pan.*** Run the knife or skewer through the batter in a swirling motion going from side to side from the top to the bottom of the pan. Rotate the pan 45 degrees and run the knife through the batter side to side from top to bottom one more time. Be careful not to overswirl.
- Bake 50-60 minutes until the cake is a toothpick comes out mostly clean inserted in the center of the cake. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out and allow it to cool completely on the rack.
- Add the powdered sugar to a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the orange juice until desired consistency is achieved. Add the orange zest and whisk til combined. Pour or spread the icing over the cake. Enjoy!
Please note that nutritional values are created by an online calculator and should only be used as an estimate.