This zesty orange cake features Cushman’s HoneyBells (which are juicy and sweet tangelos) plus the colorful addition of pomegranates. Lauren Grier from The Curious Plate is sharing the perfect holiday dessert featuring some of our favorite flavors of the season.

Is it me, or do cookies get all the attention during the holidays?

Pomegranate Orange Cake Recipe

Yes, it’s hard to resist Grandma’s decorated sugar cookies. Or, snickerdoodles, chocolate crinkles, snowballs, peppermint thumbprints, and macaroons. But somewhere in that holiday circle of love should be a slice of cake.

I have always had an affection for cakes—particularly my mother’s chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting. A slice of cake has so many meanings; whether it’s to celebrate a birthday, acknowledge an accomplishment or bid adieu to life well-lived. Cake is a like a symbol of life. There is no right or wrong way to slice it because a cake brings people together.

If you’re looking to branch out of the holiday baking mold, I can’t recommend this Orange Cake with rum pomegranate enough. First of all, citrus this time of year is off-the-charts flavorful, and rightfully so. December and January are the peak months for the harvest of sweet oranges, tangelos, grapefruit, and lemons.

With old man winter making an appearance, we need all the tropical action we can get. I used Harry & David’s Cushman’s HoneyBells to give this cake its superior status. A juicy slice from one of their tangelos will make you feel like you’re being whisked away to St. Croix.

Speaking of St. Croix, rum is a major export for this tiny island and just so happens to pair well with citrus flavors. So, basically, if you make this cake, with the rum in the frosting and the sweetness of orange, you’ll feel saturated with sunshine flavors. Just make sure to share a slice with Grandma.

Happy Holidays!

Pomegranate Orange Cake with Rum Frosting

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6


For the orange cake:

  • 1 box prepared vanilla white cake mix
  • 3 eggs (whisked)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds (divided)
  • Cushman's HoneyBell slices ( for garnish)

For the rum frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rum (add more if needed)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


For the cake:

  • Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl combine vanilla cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs, orange juice, rum, and 1/4 cup pomegranates. Mix well.
  • Divide the batter between two nine-inch cake pans. Bake for about 25 minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool completely. Once cooled, cover the tops and the cakes with rum frosting. Put one nine-inch frosted cake on top of the other. Then cover the sides of the cake until the whole cake has been covered.
  • Garnish the top of the cake with remaining pomegranates and HoneyBell slices.

For the rum frosting:

  • In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the butter, confectioners sugar, and salt together.
  • Add the rum until well incorporated and the icing is fluffy. If you need to add more rum to make the icing thinner, do so.
  • Set aside until ready to spread onto cake.
Tried this recipe? Snap a pic and share.Mention @harryanddavid or tag #sharemore!

Lauren is a self-proclaimed foodie, recipe developer, photography lover, cookbook author, and world traveler. On her blog The Curious Plate, she shares unique recipes, travel experiences, and local recommendations from her home town in Denver, Colorado. Her style is all about "embracing curiosity," and she likes to treat her kitchen as her playground when creating fresh, flavorful, and adventurous recipes.

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