Every year for Thanksgiving, we go to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner– and every year, I bring some kind of baked good to share. Over the years, I’ve developed some criteria to maximize people’s enjoyment of my creation: It has to keep well at room temperature, because the fridge is full already. It has to be easy and neat to eat, so people don’t have to get out plates or forks to get a piece. And it has to be a cake or loaf of some kind (rather than individually-portioned cookies, etc.) because while people are sometimes reluctant to grab an entire cookie or cupcake between meals, they’re always happy to slice off just a teeny-weeny bit to snack on as they pass by.
This bundt cake is perfect for the occasion– it’s got a dense, fine crumb that lets it hold together well when people pick up a slice, it’s not so sweet or decadent that people feel guilty about grabbing some, and it’s appropriately festive, being chock-full of cranberries and pecans. And yes, the flavor combination may sound familiar from my Cranberry-Orange Walnut Muffin recipe, but this cake is a lot richer and denser than the light, fluffy muffins, making it just the right dessert for a family event.
Cranberry-Pecan Bundt Cake (adapted from Bake or Break)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- zest of 1 medium orange or three small clementines (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 large eggs
- juice of 1/2 medium orange or one clementine (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup cranberries, chopped
- 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 1 tbs. flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 teaspoons milk or orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and orange zest until light and fluffy.
4. Add vanilla and orange juice, then beat in eggs one at a time.
5. Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the sour cream. Repeat until all the flour and sour cream has been incorporated. Batter will be thick and fluffy.
6. In the empty flour bowl, combine cranberries, pecans, and remaining tablespoon of flour. This will help prevent the mix-in from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
7. Carefully stir in the cranberries and pecans.
8. Spoon batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick or wooden skewer in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before unmolding onto a rack.
9. Once cake is completely cool, mix small amounts of milk or juice into the powdered sugar to make a glaze. If you want a nice, thick glaze like the one pictured, use only 3 tsp of juice. For a thinner glaze, use more. Keep in mind that your glaze will be thinner after you stop stirring it– something about the powdered sugar makes it feel thick when stirred and thinner when still.
10. Use a spoon or piping bag to decorate your cake with glaze. Add extra pecans for decoration if you like.