Orange Spice Pound Cake

I have adapted this cake to produce a much more tender crumb to the traditional pound cake recipe – finished off with a simple dusting of icing sugar.

People underestimate how difficult it is to get a traditional butter cake right! I am constantly re-inventing my vanilla cake recipes to balance flavour with texture and look. It is not an easy one to nail.

A traditional pound cake included a pound each of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. With no leavener, the result is a cake which is very dense and has a buttery flavour. Whilst some may enjoy this, I prefer a cake with a bit of a softer and less dense crumb. This is what prompted me to create this pound cake. The inclusion of buttermilk, which I use a lot in many of my recipes, is what makes this cake more tender and moist.

I was recently told by a friend how I should use my experience with different spices to my advantage in my creations. This prompted me to throw some spices into the mix. At the time, there were some oranges lying around, so they too got to star in this bake 🙂

The cake itself is relatively easy to make and relies on the traditional creaming method of beating the butter and sugar together, before alternating the dry and wet ingredients. I have baked this cake in a bundt tin, but a 900g loaf tin or 20cm round cake tin will work too.

Given that the cake has so much going on in terms of the different flavours of spices, I decided a simple dusting of icing sugar is all that is required. A cream cheese icing will also work well to balance out the spiciness of the cake.

*As with many spice cakes, you can play around with the amounts and quantities of spices to find the balance which you like – it will only affect the taste, not the cake structure.

*When these recipes say room temperature, they mean room temperature! You will not get the same result using cold butter, for example.


  • 180g butter, at room temperature
  • 300g muscavado sugar
  • 1 tbs orange zest (around 1 large orange)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 120ml buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. If using a bundt tin, make sure to brush well with melted butter, then sift flour evenly within the tin, tapping out any excess and set in the freezer for 5 minutes (this will help the cake not stick). Alternatively, grease and line a 900g loaf pan or a 20cm round tin.
  2. Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, cloves and salt into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl and combine. Set aside.
  4. Place the butter, sugar and orange zest in a bowl and with an electric mixer or hand beater, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is slightly pale.
  5. With the mixture running on low, start by adding the wet ingredients, followed by the dry ingredients. The wet ingredients will have three additions and the dry ingredients two.
  6. Finally, dissolve the bicarbonate of soda into the apple cider vinegar and stir into the batter. The batter may look a bit split, but will bake up fine.
  7. Bake the cake for roughly 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Wait for the cake to cool before inverting out of the tin and dusting with icing sugar.

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