A simple orange pound cake recipe is spiced with nutmeg and dusted with a confectioners' sugar and cinnamon mixture for a warm touch to a classic dessert.
For me, pound cake has found its way into that class of desserts that I rarely make at home but secretly wish is served at parties. Do you have foods like that?
I'm not sure why pound cake is one of mine. For one it's relatively easy to make: mix up the ingredients, pour into loaf pan, and bake. Simple simple simple. We're not talking macarons here. Of those I've yet to make a batch just right and frankly have stopped trying.
And then it's delicious. Duh! Even when it's not flavored with citrus and spice and everything nice.
Maybe it's because most of my pound cake memories are of pound cakes made in bundt pans, which seem like way too many servings to keep around our household of two on a regular basis.
This spiced orange pound cake is made in a 9" x 5" loaf pan, which obviously deems it reasonable for two people to get through. Even though it's a far cry from a mini or small-batch recipe. I'll chalk it up to dessert logic.
This spiced orange pound cake is dense, moist, and flavored just perfectly with spiced up citrus flavors.
At its base we (of course) have butter, as well as sugar, a bit of salt, and four eggs. We're using the juice and zest of one large orange, which will yield somewhere around one-quarter cup of juice. It doesn't have to be super precise.
Then all we need is vanilla extract, ground nutmeg for the spice, and flour. Even with extra flavors going on, pound cake doesn't require a ton of ingredients.
While some sort of glaze is popular for a pound cake, instead I opted for a simple confectioners' sugar dusting, but with a twist. I stirred a pinch of ground cinnamon into the confectioners' sugar before dusting it through a sifter so the sugar and spice (literally) was evenly dispersed.
I think I'll be tucking this powdered sugar/cinnamon idea in my back pocket for future desserts, too! And/or pancakes, waffles, toast...
To be honest the very first step of this recipe is to remember to take your butter out of the fridge on time to soften to room temperature. That's something I struggle with way too often. 🙂
This pound cake begins by creaming together the softened butter and sugar for several minutes. Then add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Next mix in the orange juice, zest, vanilla extract, and nutmeg, then end with the flour. You want everything to be as smooth as can be and mixed very well before adding the flour as you don't want to overmix it. That can lead to the gluten overdeveloping leading to a tougher crumb in baked goods.
Not what we want for this cake.
Pour out the mixture into a greased 9" x 5" loaf pan, then bake for just under an hour, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool completely before slicing and serving.
In the years since making this pound cake I've found another homemade version I love: vanilla chai pound cake. This one uses condensed milk to amplify that spongy moistness and is topped with a wonderful chai-flavored glaze.
- This pound cake is just the thing on which to spread champagne orange curd (just sayin...)
- When making loaf cakes and quick breads, try not to open the oven door more than you need to during the bake time as this can interrupt the rise and lead to a more sunken in center than you'd like.
Spiced Orange Pound Cake
- 11 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 large orange zest and juice (about ¼ cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- Butter a 9" x 5" loaf pan and set aside. Heat oven to 325°F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about one minute. Add sugar and salt and mix on medium to medium-high speed for a few minutes until light and creamy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add orange juice, orange zest, vanilla extract, and nutmeg and beat until all mixed in. Add flour and beat until just combined, taking care not to overmix.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the edges are golden and a tester (such as a toothpick) inserted into the center of the loaf comes to clean. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then loosen the edges with a paring knife. Carefully remove pound cake and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- To serve, stir together a few shakes of ground cinnamon and confectioners' sugar, then dust over top through a mesh sieve.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer