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Blood Orange Loaf Cake

January 9, 2021

It’s citrus season! So this is the perfect cake for RIGHT NOW!

But there are two things that might worry you about this absolutely delicious treat. The first of course is the use of blood oranges. Yes, you can find them because as I said, it’s citrus season (and if you can’t then just use regular ones- they will be delicious too). But it’s worth looking around for them (ahem. . . sold by the bag at Trader Joes). Also, while there is no actual blood (yes, we all see that vision when hearing the name) in these oranges, the inside of these oranges are the most gorgeous red color.

The second thing that might worry you about this cake is that it uses olive oil. Fear not! You do not taste the olive oil. Yes, you should use a good brand of olive oil (see “ahem” above), and that will make a difference, but you would not know from tasting it what oil was used.

So hopefully you can put your concerns aside. Now I can tell you about the cake, which is a gorgeous yellow color, specked with red flecks of blood orange. Not only is it delicious to eat, it’s lovely to look at. The compote I made is certainly optional, but it is a nice addition to the cake, both in flavor and in presentation.

Don’t let me forget to tell you this cake is all done by hand. No machines in sight. No mixer, no food processor. Just a whisk and a rubber spatula and a couple of bowls. I’m telling you. This is a cake not to be missed.

Note: This recipe calls for you to SUPREME an orange. There is a short video below showing you how to do this. The first one you do might take longer than the second, just because it is a new technique. Use a sharp paring knife and it will be simple. Hey, how hard can it be to cut an orange?!?!


Blood Orange Loaf Cake

Adapted from Melissa Clark

For the Cake:

3 blood oranges

1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar

Buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used buttermilk)

3 large eggs

1 3/4 cups (226 grams) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup (156ml) extra virgin olive oil

For the Honey Blood Orange Compote: (Optional, but worth it!)

3 blood oranges

1-2 teaspoons honey



Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan. Prepare a parchment sling so the cake will be easy to remove.

In a large bowl, grate the zest from 2 oranges with a microplane and place in a bowl with the sugar. Using your fingers, rub the zest and the sugar together until the orange zest is evenly distributed throughout the sugar.

Supreme 2 oranges (see short video): This means with a small, sharp paring knife cut off the bottom and the top so the fruit is exposed and the orange can stand upright on the cutting board. Cut away the peel and the pith (the white part), following the curve of the orange with your knife. Cut orange out of their connective membranes and put them into a bowl. Break up the pieces with your fingers.

Halve the remaining orange and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. You will have about 1/4 cup or so. It doesn’t have to be exact. Pour the buttermilk (or plain yogurt) into the juice until you have 2/3 of liquid all together. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the sugar and whisk well. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and scramble them a bit. Whisk them into the sugar mixture also.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the olive oil, a little at time. The oil may be difficult to incorporate, but keep folding. Fold in the pieces of orange segments. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 60-70 minutes, or until it is golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then lift out of the pan by the parchment flaps. Cool to room temperature.


For the Compote

Supreme 3 more oranges, according to the directions above (and video).

Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of honey onto oranges. Let them sit for 5 minutes and then stir gently.

1 Comment

Charlotte Gordon
Charlotte Gordon
Jan 18, 2021

Blood orange loaf cake was amazing. We didn’t even have blood oranges and used clementines that we had in the back of the crisper drawer. The olive oil brings something special to this cake and it would be perfect to make a dessert for guests with the compote and wow them with using olive oil in dessert. We just sliced it and devoured it over the kitchen counter which worked great also!!

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