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Make This Orange Five-Spice Bundt Cake with Zest, Pith, and All

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We partnered up with our friends at Miele for our latest contest—The Recipe You're Most Proud Ofand we're featuring some of the community members behind the recipes. We'll feature this dish, and others from the contest, at upcoming Food52 demos.

Wait, wait, wait: hardlikearmour's saying that you don't have to peel or juice the oranges that go into this cake? That there's none of this zesting business, that you just chop them into chunks, toss them into a food processor, and... that's it? Yes, that's what she's saying, and that's not all.

Whole Orange Bundt Cake with Five-Spice Streusel
Whole Orange Bundt Cake with Five-Spice Streusel

She throws a five-spice streusel curveball into the mix, all before things really get going in the oven, and then uses leftover orange juice for the cake's orange-vanilla glaze. A smart cake, one that takes advantage of whole ingredients, is a good cake. It's also the kind of cake that gets chosen as a Community Pick in our contests!

But it didn't come together for her in a snap. As soon as she saw a recipe for a cake using a whole orange in Sunset Magazine, she knew she wanted to play with it by adding some spice like anise, one of her favorites. The whole orange component intrigued her (as it did us!) but after experimenting several times with the original batter and some cracked anise, it still wasn't exactly what she was hoping for—so down the rabbit hole she went.

How to Use Up a Windfall of Star Anise
How to Use Up a Windfall of Star Anise

"Sometimes a recipe works the first or second time. Not so with this cake. It took multiple iterations, and a fair amount of frustration, to have the cake, from imagination, become reality," hardlikearmour explains. "I'm proud of my perseverance!"

A breakthrough came when she swapped in the batter of a Cook's Illustrated sour cream coffee cake with streusel filling to stand in for the orange cake's base. She substituted food processor-puréed whole oranges for the sour cream, and increased the butter to account for the lost fat. A bit more tinkering with the streusel—where the five-spice comes in—brought out all the right notes.

Photo by James Ransom

This recipe is full of tips to up your baking game: In addition to using whole oranges, spinning your sugar in a food processor for finer grain, and pairing citrus with five-spice powder, EmilyC points out another new trick for baking that she learned when she tested the recipe: When baking with Bundt pans, brush the pan with a combination of melted butter and flour for an easy release once the cake's out of the oven.

Whole Orange Bundt Cake with Five-Spice Streusel

Whole Orange Bundt Cake with Five-Spice Streusel

hardlikearmour hardlikearmour
Makes one bundt cake


  • 3 ounces (85 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces (85 g) dark brown sugar
  • 3 ounces (85 g) sugar (evaporated cane or granulated)
  • 4 teaspoons (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) Chinese 5-spice powder
  • Pinch salt

Cake and Icing

  • 8.75 ounces (250 g) sugar (evaporated cane or granulated)
  • 11.5 ounces (325 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium organic navel or Cara Cara oranges (about 1 1/4 pounds or 570 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups (~280 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (divided)
  • 4 ounces (115 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • Orange juice, milk, or half-and-half (if needed to thin icing)
Go to Recipe

Miele's been a part of the Food52 family since our first photo shoot (Amanda's mighty Miele dishwasher got us through 3 years of dishes). Learn more about how to update your kitchen with their products, like the range we used to prepare this Whole Orange Bundt Cake with Five-Spice Streusel.

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Bake, Community, Tips & Techniques, Ingredients