This Blood Orange Cardamom Cake is perfection in a bundt pan. This cake is perfectly balanced from its tender crumb to the gorgeous glaze on top. It's easy to make and every bite is full of warm spices and bright orange flavor.
I am absolutely loving citrus right now so it seemed natural to incorporate it into my baked goods. Adding fresh citrus to cakes takes them to a completely new level. For this recipe, I took a traditional warm spice, cardamom, and brightened it up with blood oranges. If you haven't tried blood oranges before, you're in for a treat! They're like a mix of orange and grapefruit, balancing sweet and tart qualities. Inside is a crimson red fruit that when juiced will give you a beautifully colored cream cheese glaze.
What is a blood orange?
Blood orange is a citrus fruit with an orange peel and dark red fleshy interior. The red color is caused by anthocyanins, which are a group of pigments found in fruits and vegetables. According to Healthline, Anthocyanins work as a group of antioxidants and are thought to have health benefits such as supporting healthy blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
So, what do blood oranges taste like? It's similar to a naval orange but a bit tarter and with complex berry undertones. Blood oranges have a sophisticated flavor which makes them a unique addition to desserts like my blood orange shortbread cookies, refreshing citrus beverages, and even as a garnish in a healthy kale salad.
Why you'll love it
Flavorful- This cake is full of fresh citrus taste. It's loaded with both the blood orange zest and the juice for a double punch of flavor. This recipe uses two teaspoons of cardamom for a bold and lovely taste that will keep you coming back to this recipe again and again.
Perfect for gatherings- This orange bundt cake with cardamom is perfect for a variety of occasions. The swirled layers create a stunning centerpiece. This recipe is a fantastic excuse to break out your more intricate bundt pans. From brunch to birthdays, this cake is a crowd-pleasing dessert that is sure to impress.
Detailed recipe- This is a straightforward recipe that's very easy to follow. The ingredients are thoughtfully chosen and explained in detail along with the instructions so that you can execute this recipe perfectly every time.
All-purpose flour- All-purpose flour is the base for this recipe. I love using a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour because it gives a mild texture and tender crumb to the cake.
Whole wheat pastry flour- For this recipe, I’ve chosen to make it a partial wheat cake. Mixing all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour gives you an excellent mild flavor and is great for those adjusting to using whole wheat. I used the Farm Fresh Wheat from Washington that I have been loving. I generally grind it as I use it with my Nutrimill.
Salt- Salt is used to elevate the flavors and balance the sweetness in the cake.
Baking powder- Baking powder is essential to get a nice rise on this delicious bundt cake. If you don't bake frequently, make sure you're using fresh baking powder that has been opened within the last 6 months. Once it's been opened, it can lose potency over time and affect the rise of your baked goods.
Cardamom- Cardamom has a warm spicy flavor with earthy undertones. It's similar to ground cinnamon and nutmeg but has a unique flavor that sets it apart. If you're a fan of chai tea, there's a chance you already know and love this versatile ingredient.
Blood orange zest- Using blood orange zest gives this recipe a concentrated citrus flavor that juice alone cannot accomplish. When zesting, be sure to avoid the pith, the white layer underneath the orange skin, because it has a bitter taste. I love to use my microplane for this as it makes easy work of an otherwise tedious job.
Blood orange juice- Along with the zest, blood orange juice is used to reinforce the delicious flavors of the fruit in this orange cake. If you are swapping for navel oranges, be sure to use fresh orange juice because it will have the best flavor and avoid excess amounts of added sugar.
Eggs- Eggs add structure to this tasty orange cake and also provide moisture to the cake batter.
Granulated sugar-Granulated sugar is a primary sweetener for this cake. It enhances the natural sweetness of the orange without being overpowering.
Oil- I love to use oil in my baked goods. Oil is ideal for this cake because it will give you a very moist crumb that won’t dry out as easily as a cake made with butter. Be sure to use a neutral oil for this but olive oil would complement the orange flavors if that's what you have on hand.
Butter- While the oil helps with moisture in the cake, butter adds so much flavor!
Almond milk- Almond milk adds moisture to the cake batter for the perfect consistency.
Greek yogurt- I love using Greek yogurt in cake recipes because it adds protein and helps soften the crumb of the cake.
Cream cheese- Cream cheese is the base for a glaze that will be drizzled over the side of the cake. Low-fat, regular, and fat-free cream cheese will all work.
Powdered sugar- Powdered sugar gives the orange glaze sweetness and the consistency it needs for pouring. You cannot swap granulated sugar in its place because it will come out lumpy. In a pinch, you can add 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to a high-powdered blender and blend until fluffy.
Vanilla- Vanilla extract pairs wonderfully with the cardamom flavor. It smells amazing and lifts up all the flavors in the cake with smooth floral notes.
How to make Blood Orange Cardamom Cake
The first thing to do before baking is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees, measure out your ingredients, and prepare a bundt cake pan. I do this by brushing the inside of the pan really well with melted butter. Then, add about 1 tablespoon of flour, and swirl the pan to lightly coat the inside entirely. Tap out excess flour.
Mix the dry ingredients
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mix the wet ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Next, stir in the zest and Greek yogurt.
Combine wet and dry ingredients
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. The batter will be thick. Last is the almond milk and blood orange juice. Mix again to combine. Because you are using oil instead of butter, it is really simple to mix with a spatula instead of having to use a stand or hand mixer.
Bake the orange bundt cake
Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Place in a heated oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes. You will want a toothpick inserted to come out with just a few crumbs.
I feel the top of my bundt to gauge doneness. If it is just SLIGHTLY underdone in the very center, that is the perfect time to pull it out. It will continue to bake even after you pull it from the oven. This is particularly important when you baking with whole grains. They absorb more moisture, so be mindful of accidentally overbaking.
Once it is done, prepare to invert. Place a cooling rack on top.
Carefully flip over...Then comes the moment of truth.
I am honestly pretty obsessed with this pan. The swirl is just so pretty!
Blood orange glaze
Mix all the glaze ingredients until smooth and pourable, it should fall easily over the cooled cake. Make sure and add plenty of blood orange juice. Not only for the beautiful color but also for a nice thin consistency. Cover the whole cake with this. Trust me, the flavor is so good you are going to want as much of it as you can get!!
Tips and Substitutions
- Swap the Greek yogurt in this recipe out for equal amounts of sour cream.
- Remember that prepping your bundt pan is really important! Take the time and grease it well then coat it in flour. This will save you so much stress on the backside. Despite your best efforts, pans that are excessively scratched or worn can be more prone to sticking.
- Zest the orange before juicing it. If you try to zest it afterward, it will be difficult because the orange will have lost much of its shape so always be sure to zest first.
- Be sure to let the cake cool completely before adding the glaze, otherwise, it will become runny and slide off of the cake.
FAQ Blood Orange Bundt Cake
Store leftover orange bundt cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator
Blood oranges are less sweet than navel oranges. They're slightly sweet with a hint of tang but not overly bitter.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, or a blend of warm spices can be used instead of cardamom but I highly recommend using cardamom because it's such a lovely underutilized flavor!
Absolutely! You can use naval oranges in place of blood oranges.
Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour If you prefer to use 100% whole wheat, it will be perfect for this cake.
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cardamom
- 2 tablespoons blood orange zest You can always use naval oranges for this if you prefer!
- 3 eggs
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup oil of choice I used canola oil, but this is up to you.
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ cup almond milk
- ½ cup blood orange juice or juice from naval oranges
- ¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Glaze
- 2 ounces lowfat cream cheese if you prefer regular or even fat free, both work here!
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- ⅔-1 cup blood orange juice this variable will depend on how thin or thick you want your glaze to be.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Prep your bundt pan. I do this by brushing the inside of the pan really well with melted butter. Then add about 1 tablespoon of flour, swirl the pan to lightly coat the inside entirely. Tap out excess flour.Next, mix your flours, baking powder, salt and cardamom in a small bowl. Set aside.In another, larger bowl, combine oil and sugar. Mix. Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined. Next is the zest and Greek yogurt. Again, mix only to combine. Dry ingredients are next. Add them in and mix to combine. The batter will be thick. Last is the almond milk and blood orange juice. Mix again to combine. Pour into pan. Place in heated oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes. You will want that toothpick inserted to come out with just a little stuff on it. I feel the top of my bundt to gauge. If it is just SLIGHTLY underdone in the very center, that is the perfect time to pull it out. It will continue to bake even after you pull it from the oven, so remember to pull it out before it is done all the way. This is particularly important when you baking with whole grains. They absorb more moisture, so be mindful of over baking.