Filed under: Bundt Cakes
February 12, 2021

Orange Sour Cream Pound Cake

A tender and moist sour cream pound cake recipe studded with bright orange zest and lathered with a blood orange glaze.

4.85 from 13 votes
Yield: 10
Jump to recipe
blood orange pound cake


There’s something about blood oranges. Besides the pop of pink the dark red flesh lends, it’s got a unique taste I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s not my favorite orange to eat (yes I have one!) but I really love baking with them. 

This pound cake recipe came out as kind of an accident. I was trying, as I would, to do something much more complicated involving different layers/batters, one of which was a pound cake. In the process, I found a pound cake base recipe I really, really liked. And with a ton of blood oranges leftover from another project (see blood orange almond scones) I put the two together, used some tricks I picked up, and ended up with a truly wonderful cake.



Let’s make a Pound Cake (a really good one)

The guidelines for how to make a pound cake are kind of all over the map. There is of course, the original: a pound of each eggs, flour, sugar and butter. Then there are cream cheese and sour cream variations. There’s pound cakes that add leavening and some that don’t, there seems to be disagreement over how much sugar should be in them, and what flour to use. 

The first recipe I tried making was this one from allrecipes and it is good but I found it quite dry. I also tried adding egg yolks but then, all I could taste was egg yolk. I tweaked it to use sour cream, used a reversed creaming method and liked the tighter crumb much more. It was still a bit dry though so based on this nytcooking recipe, I switched to cake flour. The very fine mill did wonders. 



Tips for a perfect, tight, and moist crumb in an orange pound cake: 

Room temperature ingredients: Both the butter, eggs and ideally even the sour cream should be at room temperature before you begin beating. This helps all the ingredients incorporate together seamlessly. If your eggs are cold for example, they can shock bits of the butter to go back into solid bits and the mix will look ‘curdled’ (don’t panic if this happens, it’s just not ideal).

Add flavors into the butter & sugar: A lot of recipes will have you add zest, salt and vanilla after the eggs or with the flour. It’s better to add them into the butter and sugar because in the creaming step, 

Beat butter and sugar: This is very important! You’ll beat these to to “cream” them, for 5 minutes minimum, you want the mix to be very fluffy. This incorporates air into the batter (especially if you are going the traditional route and not using chemical leavening) and helps the sugar begin to dissolve into the butter. 

Real Cake flour: Some recipes will note you can swap 1 tablespoon of the flour for cornstarch as a sub for cake flour. If you’re desperate and can’t find it, that’s fine. I will offer that cake flour is ideal in cakes not just because of the cornstarch added but because it is milled more finely and uses a particular part of the wheat. The result is that it can absorb more liquid and gives you a much more plush cake. 


Ingredient substitutions for orange pound cake

This is a pound cake, so no subs on the butter, sugar or eggs as removing any of those will not yield the same cake and iconic pound cake crumb. As for the rest:  

Oranges: If they are in season, use blood oranges! The glaze is amazing and so pretty. Alternatively, any orange will do. Please note the color of your oranges will lead to color variations in the glaze. For the bundt cake pictured I had maroon colored blood oranges, for the loaf cake pictured I had reddish orange blood oranges. You can usually tell the inside color by the outer skin: if you see lots of dark purple markings on the blood orange, the flesh inside will be quite dark. 

Sour Cream: Most recipes use milk or heavy cream in pound cakes but I found that when I tried that they came out quite dry and needed more fat. Adding egg yolks caused a weird taste in such an otherwise plain bake. If you don’t have sour cream you can use greek yogurt or labne, they might add a bit of a tangy taste. 

Butter: I used Kerrygold Irish (the 8 oz bar) in the cake shown and after a few trials I found I preferred it; it has a higher percentage butterfat at 83% and makes for a more moist cake.


Orange Pound Cake Recipe 

Orange Pound Cake

Pillowy pound cake with a moist crumb, studded with orange zest and pooled in orange glaze.
orange sour cream pound cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Yields: 10
4.85 from 13 votes


Pound Cake

  • 226g or 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 220g or 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest of 4 blood oranges
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 190g or 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 60g ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¾ tsp baking powder* (optional, helps the cake rise higher)


  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons orange juice *the color of the glaze will vary depending on the color of your oranges, very dark blood oranges will yield a bright pink glaze
  • Additional toppings:
  • Crushed freeze dried raspberries
  • Orange zest


  • If your eggs are not at room temperature, set them in a bowl of warm water now.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a loaf pan or a 10 cup bundt pan with flour & butter or with a baking spray (I prefer the latter).
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, zest, vanilla and salt. Beat for about 7 minutes, this mixture should be VERY light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time beating for at least a minute before adding another.
  • Sift the cake flour over the batter and add baking powder. Add the sour cream on top. Cover the stand mixer with a tea towel (if yours is the kind that spills) and turn the mixer on low. Beat until the flour is just incorporated.
  • Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, until you can touch the top of the cake and it springs back.
  • Let the cake cool for a few minutes in the pan then turn it upside down and transfer it to a plate or cooling rack.
  • Once it’s completely cool, make the glaze by mixing together the powdered sugar and blood orange juice: use more powdered sugar to make it thicker, more juice to thin it out.
  • Store in an airtight container. If making ahead of time, wait until the day of serving to make and add the glaze.


You can bake this in a bundt pan (small or large, in a large one it will come out quite short), or in a loaf pan. In a loaf pan the cake will need to bake for at least 50 minutes and will brown quite a bit on top - tint with foil if you don't want it too dark. 
The recipe includes an option for using chemical leavening. Traditional pound cake does not use baking soda or powder and results in a dense, very tight crumb. I've recently given the option for it here in light of many comments voicing disappointment their cakes didn't rise as expected. 

Did you make this recipe?

Share & tag me on instagram @buttermilkbysam




Rate + Review

What do you think of this recipe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Reviews

  1. 3 stars
    The cake tastes good but is ugly. I hoped for a cake like the one pictured. One cup of powdered sugar and 3TBS of blood orange juice yields a very thin glaze. I used the entire bag of powdered sugar and still did not get this result. My guess is that the photographed cake has maybe a teaspoon of blood orange juice and then food coloring in the glaze (which looks more like icing). If you could reveal how you ACTUALLY made that glaze, that would be wonderful.

    • Angie, how I actually made it is how it is written. I don’t hide when I’ve used food coloring to alter the color of my recipes – you can see my cara cara orange tart as an example where the color doesn’t come through so I suggest using pink food dye. If you’ve worked with blood oranges before you know they come in many shades, so when I use blood oranges for glazes I use the darkest ones (maroon) because I know it will give a bright pink color. As for the consistency, I’ve listed 2 or 3 tablespoons; it sounds like you used conventional rather than organic which is thinner and requires less liquid to make a thick glaze.

  2. 5 stars
    This was everything the recipe promised- really tasty, great strong orange flavor, and light texture. I used cara cara oranges since I prefer the flavor over blood oranges, not realizing the cake only used 2T of the orange juice and only for the glaze. If I make this recipe again I might try adding raspberry juice to the glaze to make it a little more tart than sugary and definitely add zest to the glaze to give it even more orange flavor!

  3. 5 stars
    I sit here typing a review immediately after having a slice to tell others, YOU WILL LOVE THIS CAKE! This is my first time making this, but I trust anything by Sam to be delicious (and I’ve used her recipes dozens of times). The texture is perfect (follow the directions!), and as some others my Bundt pan was a bit larger than needed but I know these vary a lot. I love the use of and color from the blood oranges.

  4. 5 stars
    This is the third time I make this recipe! It is excellent, easy, solid and the cake is incredible. The texture satisfies the sense just as the taste does.

  5. 5 stars
    I used a mix of blood oranges and regular oranges because blood oranges aren’t in season. It still came out beautifully. Almost like a cake doughnut! Thank you for an amazing recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for months, and I’m so happy I finally did! It was absolutely delicious!! I have never been disappointed by any of Sam’s recipes, and cannot wait to cross the next one off my list!

  7. 5 stars
    Dear Sam,

    I saw this cake on your Instagram feed, and immediately, I thought it was too good to be true. From the moment I started whipping up that butter for the batter, however, I could tell that my expectations would be exceeded! The batter alone was wonderful, so light and bright, and the cake was lovely. It was moist, soft, not too sweet, and the zest of the blood oranges was just right. When I was making the glaze, it was hard for me to believe that blood oranges by themselves can provide such vibrant color!

    I followed your directions as closely as I could (even by using the butter you recommended), and the cake turned out better than I had hoped. This is my first recipe of yours, Sam, but I will certainly be back to try more from you! Thank you for sharing this cake; I will (without any doubt) be making it again.

    – Olivia

    • Olivia, that is the most thoughtful and kind comment I’ve gotten in awhile – you’ve made me smile at the end of a long day. Thank you so much for the review! I hope all my recipes live up to your expectations now <3

  8. 5 stars
    I saw an image of it and it was so gorgeous and I made it for my mums birthday. So delicious. the texture and the flavours were perfect. My bundt pan was too large but even then, it was still gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this. I will definitely be making it again. I’ll have to remember to take pictures next tome 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious! It was my first time baking with blood oranges and I’ll definitely be making again. The cake was light and moist and gave me all the citrusy flavors I was hoping for. Thanks for sharing Sam!

  10. 5 stars
    I made this cake last night because I intended to try all Sam’s orange related recipes! Last week was the orange scones and this week the pound cake! I agree with Barbara above, this cake is divine.
    I always make pecan pound cake but this time the orange flavor moves it from the dense nutty cake to one that is dense but fresh… (do we usually encounter this combination? Isn’t it usually light and fresh?)
    I have to admit I made it with a regular cake pan as I don’t have a Bundt form. That chipped away from the beautiful appearance but not from the remarkable texture and moisture. I will have to remake it again with the correct pan because I will definitely have to make it again!

  11. 5 stars
    This cake is absolutely divine! Followed the recipe exactly as written and it turn out perfect. It was my first time working with blood oranges and the flavor is perfect in a pound cake. It wasn’t dense or dry the way most pound cakes are. Will definitely keep this one in my rotation!

  12. 5 stars
    This is soooo good. I realized I didn’t have a Bundt pan after I told my husband I was making this so made do without and it was still amazing. Getting the right pan this weekend to remake in all its glory.

  13. 5 stars
    Your instagram and recipes and photographs are just the best. I think we must bake and crave the same things because everything is so on-point! I am just discovering your stuff for the first time in the last 48hours so it might take me a minute to look through all that you have. I mean – reminding me to warm my eggs at the top of the recipe? That is next level. Thank you and keep it up! Also I don’t have a website – i did follow you on instagram but I haven’t really done anything there for a few years. You could add me to your email list though!