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  • Writer's pictureJenya

Holiday Cranberry Orange Cake

Moist and flavorful Cranberry Orange Walnut Cake Recipe made with Sourdough Starter Discard

Holiday Cranberry Orange Cake made with Sourdough Starter Discard
Holiday Cranberry Orange Cake
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Nothing says Christmas like cranberries, and when combined with walnuts and orange zest, the real magic begins. The flavor and aroma of this blend put me in a very merry holiday mood every time.

In this version, I used my whole wheat Sourdough Starter discard to add even more flavor to the cake and use up the starter I save after every feeding so I can re-use it in other recipes instead of throwing it out. Besides cranberries and walnuts, I also added golden raisins for more sweetness. I tried the same mix before while making cookies one time and realizing I didn't have enough cranberries, so I added raisins and the cookies turned out even better.

To make the cake more moist, I added a cup of sour cream. Depending on the thickness of the sour cream used, you might need more or less flour. In this recipe, I used Daisy Sour Cream, which is pretty thick and has 18% fat, but if yours is more liquid, add a little bit more flour so that the consistency of the final batter looks like a thick sour cream at room temperature.

After baking this Cranberry Orange Cake four times, my efforts definitely paid off. Each time I baked I tweaked the recipe, and, while the 3rd version was really good, I still haven't achieved everything I wanted in it, and thus I had to keep going and work on the density and flavor. In the last version, I decided to add an extra egg as well as 1/2 cup of sugar for more sweetness and substituted 1 tsp of baking powder with 1/4 tsp of baking soda. And I am so happy with how this cake turned out: just the right consistency and sweetness - very flavorful, super soft and moist inside, with a little bit of crispness to the crust, and with cranberries, raisins, and walnuts in every bite.

My family and friends' test group all voted for this version as the winner. This recipe will be a new delicious addition to our holiday baking tradition where I bake, and they eat :)

I hope you will love this Orange Cranberry Cake as much as we did and add it to your Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes. Please let me know in the comments below if you tried this recipe and how yours turned out - it brightens my day every time I read about it!

Useful Tips:

  • When adding a sourdough starter to a recipe, remember to adjust the flour and liquids quantity accordingly since the starter is 50% flour and 50% water.

  • Soak the cranberries and raisins in boiling water to make them softer. After draining the water, coat them with a little bit of flour to prevent them from sticking together and sinking to the bottom of the cake.

  • For an extra smooth and fluffy batter, bring all cold ingredients up to room temperature before making the batter. When mixed together at room temperature, the ingredients incorporate easier and trap the air that expands in the oven, making the cake fluffier.

Check out my other delicious Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes to add unique flavor to your baked goods and save your starter.

As usual, I simplify my recipes, so they are easy to follow for beginners. I avoid using complex numbers and ingredients, so the recipe is less intimidating for new bakers.

Holiday Cranberry Orange Cake made with Sourdough Starter Discard




  • 1/2 cup Sourdough Starter Discard

  • 3 Eggs

  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter

  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

  • 1 Large Orange - juice and zest

  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda

  • 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries

  • 1/2 cup Golden Raisins

  • 1/2 cup Walnuts


  • Melted White Chocolate (for decoration)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Place raisins and cranberries in a bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside to soften.

  3. Using a citrus grater, lightly grate off the orange peel, and in a separate bowl, squeeze the juice out of the orange (about 1/2 cup) and set the bowl aside.

  4. Add eggs and sugar and beat with a mixer until fluffy and light in color.

  5. Add sour cream, sourdough starter discard, vanilla, and melted butter, and mix again with a mixer until combined well.

  6. Pour squeezed orange juice over the baking soda and mix well with a whisk.

  7. Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder together and mix.

  8. Drain the water and coat the cranberries and raisins in flour so they don't stick together. Stir them in along with walnuts and carefully mix everything with a spatula.

  9. Pour the mixture into a 9" springform bundt pan greased with oil or butter. Distribute the batter evenly with a spatula.

  10. Bake at 350°F for 60 min, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  11. Let the cake cool completely before serving.

  12. Decorate the top of the cake with melted white chocolate.

Enjoy Baking!


Tools for Sourdough Bread Baking:

Endless Loaf Banneton Bread Proofing Basket Set with 2 Embroidered Linen Liners and 3 Linen Bags


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