Sour Cream Orange Cake

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We had company for dinner recently so Bill put a pork roast in the crockpot which we planned to serve with mashed potatoes, green beans and salad. All that was left to figure out was desert. I started thinking, what about chocolate lava cakes, a pizookie or an apple crumble? But alas, we had no ice-cream on hand and without that, none of these deserts would work. Fact: when a warm desert comes out of the oven, you must have ice-cream (preferably vanilla) to go with it. With this indisputable point in mind, I determined to make something else.

This is when I opened my 3-ring binder, stuffed with various recipes I’ve acquired over the years, and came across Sour Cream Orange Cake. Infused with orange and lemon zest, a tangy simple syrup and a tart drizzle, this cake seemed like the perfect dessert on a cold snowy day. I love citrus desserts, especially during the winter. And bonus, I just happened to have all of the ingredients on hand!  Although I have no idea where I got this recipe, I made some adjustments which worked out really well (at least according to our dinner guests).

So next time you’re at the store, grab some oranges, lemons and a carton of sour cream. If you have butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, baking powder, salt and eggs on hand, you’ll be good to go. Mix up this cake and bake it in a Bundt pan for maximum enjoyment and I promise when you serve this to family or friends, they won’t even begin to miss the ice-cream!

Sour Cream Orange Cake

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease Bundt pan and set aside. Measure flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, whisk to combine; set aside. Mix sour cream and milk in a bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add flour to batter alternately with the sour cream and milk mixture. (two additions each). Mix to combine.

Pour batter into Bundt pan. Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes. Poke holes in cake and pour glaze #1 over the top. Let absorb into the cake for 10 minutes. Flip cake out onto plate and pour glaze #2 over the top. Garnish with orange slices or zest.

Glaze #1

  • 6 T orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar

Bring all ingredients to a boil. After sugar dissolves, boil until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup approximately 5 minutes.

Glaze #2

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 T orange juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp lemon zest

Mix until smooth. Drizzle over cake and enjoy!

Root Notes

  • For more flavor, add more orange and lemon zest to the cake and glazes. You can also use a combination of lemon and orange juice in glaze #1 to get more flavor. I recommend having 2 oranges and 2 lemons on hand just in case!
  • I used a wooden skewer to poke holes in the cake for glaze #2. Since they are longer and wider, the glaze distributed deeper into the cake. Toothpicks would also work.
  • Baking time will vary depending on your oven and altitude. I recommend checking with a toothpick at 35 minutes, then add more time in 5 minute increments as needed. 
  • Garnish with orange slices or zest.


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