Photo by @rachelgurjar
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There is something about a Bundt cake that I have always loved. They look so prim, proper and perfectly formed but can be thrown together in a matter of minutes with just a few pantry staples. When they are finished, there is no need to fill, frost or crumb coat, just top with a simple icing and your Bundt cake is ready to shine as the star of the breakfast or dessert table.
This winter citrus flavored Bundt is all dressed up with a bright and vibrant blood orange glaze and honey syrup cake. The glaze adds amazing color and sweetness while the soak helps to keep the crumb super moist and flavorful.
If you’ve never worked with blood oranges (in season now!) they have a slightly sweeter and less acidic taste than a classic navel orange and they have a deep ruby color. They are said to hail from Sicily, which is why I decided to make this recipe olive oil based rather than using butter or vegetable oil. What grows together goes together, right?
When blood orange juice is added to syrups and glazes, it turns a beautiful pinkish magenta hue; far more beautiful than any food coloring I’ve ever encountered.
However, speaking of the color, you’ll notice I did not use blood orange juice in the cake batter itself; and instead only reserved it for the top. I wish I could tell you this is because I am very wise and scientifically minded, but the truth is I learned this lesson the hard way with an ill-fated batch of blood orange cookies which instead of the bright magenta hue I was going for emerged from the oven a sickly shade of green. As it turns out, foods that are deep in red and blue colors can turn green when introduced to anything that isn’t acidic or neutral (thanks, Fine Cooking!), so if you are using baking soda in a recipe, it’s best to save the blood orange juice for topping only. The green color certainly won’t hurt anyone, but it’s not the most appetizing shade of cake!
Now that we’ve gotten our chemistry lesson out of the way, let’s talk about the honey soak. Please don’t skip it! I know what you are thinking. There’s plenty of sugar in this cake? Why do I need to brush on more? Because. Because it’s delicious and I said so, and I can be rather stubborn.
JUST KIDDING! You want to brush the honey syrup on the cake because it will keep the cake fresh and moist for several days after baking. I don’t like to waste, but my family also can’t finish an entire Bundt cake in one sitting. Brushing this beautiful syrup all over the cake after baking will ensure it is straight-from-the oven fresh up to three days later.
So what are you waiting for? Grab some fresh citrus and get baking! If you can’t find blood oranges, don’t fret. Any citrus will work just fine here. If you are craving that deep pink color, you could add a few drops of concentrated beet juice (just shred a fresh beet on the side of a box grater and boil the resulting juice down to a syrup like consistency) or use a natural food coloring.
Recipe and Headnote Molly Adams
For the Bundt Cake
- unsalted butter, softened, as needed (or nonstick baking spray)
- 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/ 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/ 2 cups sugar
- 3 small oranges, zested
- 4 Handsome Brook Farm Pasture-Raised Organic Eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 1/ 2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon Simply Organic Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Orange and Honey Syrup
- 1/ 4 cup orange blossom honey
- 1/ 4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/ 2 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
For the Blood Orange Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed blood orange juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
For the Bundt Cake
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and prepare a bundt pan by coating pan with butter and dusting with flour, tapping out any excess. Alternatively, spray the entire pan generously with nonstick baking spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder, then whisk to combine. In a separate medium sized bowl add sugar and orange zest. Using clean hands, rub the zest into the sugar to release the oils and flavor. Once the zest has been incorporated, whisk in the eggs, olive oil, greek yogurt, orange juice and vanilla extract.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; stop mixing when the last streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cake bakes, make the honey syrup by combining honey, sugar, blood orange juice and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened and sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack, then carefully invert. Once inverted, brush the honey syrup all over the cake, allowing it to soak in. You want to try to use all of the syrup.
Let sit for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, blood orange juice, lemon juice and salt together until smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed; more sugar if it’s too runny or more orange juice if it is too thin.
Pour prepared glaze over cake and serve. Leftovers can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.