Yesterday my kids and I baked an Orange Bundt Cake with Walnuts. Not only the cake came out delicious, but we spent some great family time and the kids were so happy to help me make the cake. We let the cake absorb a honey, orange syrup and then dusted the cake with some powder sugar before serving.
Citrus cakes drenched in syrup are very common across the Mediterranean. You can add walnuts, pistachios or other nuts to these cakes. They make for light desserts that taste heavenly and make the house smell amazing when you get them out of the oven:). Feel free to check out my Meyer Lemon Bundt cake recipe too!
Family Cake Recipe
If you’re just happening upon my blog on this recipe, I wanted to let you know that I was born in a small Mediterranean country called Albania. We used oranges a lot in winter time, not only as fruit but in salads (see orange salad with cabbage or orange salad with quinoa or orange salad with arugula) or baking (see orange cookies).
The most special one is a orange cake with walnuts which in my home country we call Kek me Portokalle dhe Arra. Kek means cake, portokalle means oranges and arra means walnuts:).
Recipe Notes, Ingredients and Tips
See below a picture of all the ingredients we used to make the cake and their quantities.
You’ll need 4-6 navel oranges for this cake (depends on their size and how much juice they have). Zest 1 orange to make 1-2 tbsps of orange zest. Add less zest for a milder taste and more for a robust citrus taste.
Squeeze the oranges to make fresh orange juice. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of fresh orange juice. I use 0.5 cups to add to the dough and 1 cup for the syrup. I haven’t tried using store bought orange juice, but if you do try, adjust for sweetness since store bought orange juice tends to be very sweet.
Optional – back home we used to add 2 oz of cognac to the dough mix. It gives a great taste to the cake and you can’t feel the alcohol after it is baked. However, I didn’t have any on hand so we didn’t add it this time. Rum or orange liqueur would be great too:).
Flour – I only had all purpose flour on hand so I added baking powder. You can use self-rising flour too.
Butter – it is customary to only use butter in making this bundt cake, no avocado oil. If you don’t want to add avocado oil like I did, use 1.5 sticks of butter.
Once the cake is baked, add the syrup over the cake in the bundt mold. Let the cake absorb the syrup thoroughly before you try to flip the cake over and remove it from the mold. Cake will look like this before you add confectioners sugar.
Most Mediterranean cakes have syrup in the them. It’s a way to add more flavor and essence to the dessert you are making.
Syrup in my native language is called sherbet. People can be very picky about the syrup and how thick or thin or how sweet it should be. I am one of those that likes the syrup to be light and not too thick. I have lost my taste through the years for heavy desserts, so a light syrup works great for me.
The syrup for this orange bundt cake has water, orange juice, a cinnamon stick, cloves and honey. No added sugar but if you’d like the cake to be a bit sweeter, heavier etc add sugar to the syrup as well.
Orange Bundt Cake with Walnuts
- 1 Bundt Cake Mold
- 1 Hand Held Mixer
- 1 Standard Oven
- 1 spatula
- 4 eggs
- 4-6 navel oranges
- 2.5 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 8 tbsps butter (about 1 stick of butter)
- ¾ cups chopped walnuts
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ⅔ cup yogurt
- ⅓ cup avocado oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- ½ cup honey
- Zest 1 orange, juice enough oranges to get 1.5 cups of orange juice. Divide the orange juice in a 0.5 cup and a 1 cup measuring cups. Set aside.
- Make sure butter is room temperature and softened. Eggs should be room temperature too before you get started.
- Mix flour, baking powder, cornstarch and salt together. Set the bowl of dry ingredients aside. Also pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (about 180 degrees Celsius)
- Start mixing eggs and sugar together. Slowly add vanilla extract, avocado oil and butter in once the eggs/sugar mix is getting whiter. Keep the hand held mixer at medium speed. Add yogurt in as well. Keep mixing while you add each ingredient.
- Start adding the dry ingredients mix in slowly, few scoops at a time.
- Add orange juice and orange zest and continue mixing. Once you have a homogenous cake dough, stop the hand held mixer and you can use a spatula to scrape the sides down and make sure all the flour is incorporated and there are no lumps.
- Add walnuts in, use the spatula to give it a final mix.
- Spray the bundt cake pan with non-stick cooking spray or use butter. Dust with flour. Pour dough in and then set to bake for about 45 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the syrup. Add water, orange juice, cinnamon stick, cloves and honey in a small saucepan. Boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool and then drain.
- Once cake is baked, let cool for 30 minutes. Pierce cake with a bamboo skewer. Add syrup over cake and let it absorb completely before you attempt to remove the cake from the cake pan. Use a knife to separate the side then flip the pan over on a big plate or serving platter.
- Optional – sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on top of the cake to garnish before cutting it. Serve cake with coffee or tea:). Enjoy!
- A bundt cake from a 10 inch pan usually yields anywhere from 12-16 servings. Calories are estimated.
- In the video I use a simple whisk to make this bundt cake, while when I first wrote the recipe I used a hand held mixer.
Actually you can. Make icing with about 2 cups of confectioners sugar and ¼ cups of fresh orange juice, whisk really well to incorporate. Adjust for thickness then pour over the bundt cake.
This is a common problem for bundt cakes. Don’t be shy greasing the mold, add a lot of butter or cooking spray. Use your clean hands to spread around and make sure every centimeter of the inner part of the mold is wet with grease. Dust lightly with flour before adding the cake dough in the mold.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please pin the below image to Pinterest. Let me know if you have any questions or tag me in social media if you made the cake:). Thank you!!
Other Desserts Recipes
* Note – this post was first written in March of 2020 while we were home in the beginning of the pandemic. Post was updated with new pictures, instructions and video in December 2022.