The house is decorated with leafy wreaths and dried orange slices, the floor is covered with half-wrapped presents and my Christmas playlist is playing on repeat – Christmas is coming! And there’s nothing like a little festive baking to get into the spirit. This Christmas Bundt cake is the perfect treat to enjoy during the busy days leading up to Christmas. It’s flavoured with festive spices and orange zest, which will make your house smell wonderful during baking. As it’s a quite straightforward recipe to prepare, it will leave you with plenty of time to wrap those final presents and treat yourself to a little something sweet in between. And once fully iced and decorated, it makes a beautiful treat for the main event.
The base of this Christmas Bundt cake is a delicately spiced sponge cake. It turns out wonderfully moist and airy and because of that it’s already delicious eaten just by itself. But to make it festive and indulgent, I decorated it with candied orange slices and a quite addicitve orange and white chocolate icing.
The icing is a mixture of plant cream and vegan white chocolate, melted together and infused with orange zest. White chocolate by itself will make an icing that’s just a bit too sweet for my taste. The orange zest adds a fresh note that takes the edge off the sweetness and makes the whole thing fragrant and lovely. After melting the chocolate, the icing will need about two hours to cool and thicken, after which it’s ready to use. This means you can prepare it around the same time you start preparing the cake batter and have everything cooled and ready in less than three hours. The longer you leave the orange zest to infuse in the chocolate mixture, though, the more pronounced and delicious the orange flavour will turn out. Because of that, if you have the opportunity, making the icing a day ahead may be worth the planning. Served straight from the fridge, the white chocolate icing will have a perfect pouring consistency and it’s best enjoyed drizzled over the cake just before serving.
For a shiny, sweet and completely edible decoration, I made candied orange slices. By simmering orange slices in a simple sugar syrup, the rinds turn soft and translucent, leaving them tangy and delicious. The remaining orange-infused syrup in its turn is wonderful drizzled over ice cream or simply stirred through yogurt, and it makes a lovely base for wintery cocktails and desserts.
I love the pairing of the tangy candied orange with the Christmas Bundt cake and its icing. Alternatively, you can simply decorate the cake with freshly sliced oranges. Combine it with green leaves, rosemary sprigs, fresh flowers or red berries, turn on your favourite Christmas songs and let the festive spirit sink in.
Whatever way you’ll be celebrating this year, I wish you happy holidays!
Christmas Bundt cake with orange and white chocolate icing – serves 12
for the cake
- 450 g all-purpose flour
- 300 g raw cane sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- zest of 3 oranges, finely grated
- 3½ tsp. mixed spices (pumpkin spice/ginger spice; I used speculaas spices)
- 450 ml plant milk
- 180 ml rapeseed oil or other neutral-flavoured oil
- 120 ml fresh orange juice
for the orange and white chocolate icing
- 200 g vegan white chocolate, chopped into smallish cubes
- 200 ml vegan cooking cream (I used soy)
- zest of 2 oranges, shaved off in broad ribbons
for the candied orange slices (optional)
- 2 oranges, cut into 0.5 cm thick slices
- 400 g sugar
- 500 ml water
- a 2.4 litre Bundt pan
- baking spray, or oil and a little flour for greasing and dusting the pan
- eucalyptus leaves or rosemary sprigs, fresh flowers, kumquats and/or red berries, for decorating
If you start by making the white chocolate icing and prepare the cake while the icing is cooling down, you can have the whole thing cooled and ready at about the same time. The longer you leave the orange zest to infuse in the white chocolate mixture, though, the more pronounced and lovely the zesty flavour will turn out. Therefore, if you have the opportunity, making the icing a day ahead will make it even more delicious.
Start by making the white chocolate icing. Place a heat-proof bowl over a pan with simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
Add the cream, white chocolate cubes and orange zest. Stirring regularly, heat the cream over the hot water until all pieces of chocolate have melted. Take the bowl off the heat (take care not to let the steam burn your hands!). Let the chocolate mixture cool for about 10 minutes. Stir, then put the bowl in the fridge. Stir every so often to make sure the mixture stays smooth and homogenous. Leave to thicken and cool completely. Keep the icing chilled until ready to serve.
To make the Bundt cake, heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
Generously grease the inside of the Bundt pan with baking spray. Alternatively, brush it with oil and dust with a thin layer of flour.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest and mixed spices. Stir in the plant milk, oil and orange juice and mix to make a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Tap the pan on the worktop to remove any air bubbles, then place it into the oven. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before pouring over the icing.
To make the candied orange slices, put the water and sugar in a shallow pan. Heat the mixture until all sugar has dissolved. Lower the heat to keep the syrup on a low simmer. Tip in the orange slices. Cover the pan and simmer the slices until the rinds turn translucent. This will take about 45 minutes.
Keep the candied orange in their syrup until using. The orange-infused syrup can be reserved to make orange lemonade. Alternatively, use it as a base for Christmas cocktails or desserts. It’s also delicious stirred through yogurt or drizzled over ice cream.
Just before serving, remove the strips of orange zest from the white chocolate icing and give it a last stir. Drizzle the Bundt cake with the icing and decorate with the candied orange slices and green leaves.