A Vegan Orange Cranberry Coriander Pound Cake recipe that is well-suited for serving as a baked treat for the holidays or any time of the year!
* Hello readers! I’ve been away from blogging for the past two months but I am finally back from my break! A series of unforeseen/time-consuming/annoying events like shifting schedules at my day job, Thanksgiving preparation and cooking, my computer kicking the bucket, and having company visit from overseas led me to go dark for a while. I haven’t even checked my emails or messages, so I’m sorry if you had a question and I didn’t respond in time. I will be going over all of my emails in the next couple days, however, and intend to reply to them all. I know it’s a little late for holiday recipes but I wanted to get this one out before Christmas!
The traditional recipe for pound cake, as you may know, included a pound of each ingredient (flour, butter, eggs, sugar) to create a rich, dense cake. I’ve never actually made the original version, as I can’t imagine that it would come out great. Indeed, I’ve seen some bakers say that the traditional recipe doesn’t really make that tasty of a pound cake after all.
Most recipes are still heavy on the fat and use a lot of eggs to provide structure and leavening. The thing that differentiates a pound cake, I think, is the dense, yet moist, crumb which stands in contrast to the fluffy open structure of something like a genoise cake.
For the vegan baker, the eggs and butter need to be replaced with something that will create an appropriate texture. Many vegan pound cakes include blended tofu as the essential ingredient. I’ve tried it and it works great and you cannot detect the tofu. Since I know some people may be hesitant about adding blended tofu to a cake, I thought of an alternative that is equally neutral and creates a great texture without causing as many skeptical side-eyes—cashews, of course! Blended cashews add the fat and protein that work to create a nice structure.
I used orange, cranberry, and whole coriander seeds in this cake to give it a flavor that reminds me a bit of German Christmastime treats which often include the winning combination of orange and coriander, but this cake is adaptable to any flavorings or additions. Add raisins, chopped dates, nuts, spices, chocolate chips, seeds, or anything you can think of. For this version, the coriander seeds provide little pops of flavor throughout the cake and I don’t mind their texture, but if you’re not keen on the whole seeds in your cake, add a teaspoon of ground coriander to the batter instead. Or replace it with cinnamon, ground anise, or leave it out entirely and add splash more of vanilla.
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1½ Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup unroasted cashews (soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes)
- ¾ cup nondairy milk
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup oil (I used half coconut oil, half sunflower oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace
- zest of an orange
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peel
- ¼ cup finely chopped dried cranberries
- First make the syrup by adding the orange juice, water, sugar, and coriander seeds to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes on medium-low heat. This is intended to soften the coriander seeds and infuse some of their flavor into the syrup. After simmering for 10 minutes, strain the coriander seeds into a small sieve, and add the ½ teaspoon of orange zest to the syrup and set both aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a loaf pan (I use an 8.5in x 4.5in x 2.5in glass loaf pan). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
- Into a blender jar, add the cashews, nondairy milk, orange juice, sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and orange zest and blend on high until completely smooth (the length of blending time depends on the power of your blender). Once it is completely smooth, pour all of this mixture into the large mixing bowl of dry ingredients along with the strained coriander seeds, chopped orange peel, and chopped dried cranberries and stir with a spoon or spatula until just combined. Pour this thick batter into the greased loaf pan, smooth out the top, and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes. My cake took 55 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake after 50 minutes to see if it needs more time. You don't want to see any batter or gummy crumbs on the toothpick.
- After the cake is done, remove from the oven, spoon the reserved syrup over the top and around the sides and allow to cool until room temperature before slicing and serving.