I love that cold, cloudy January in Ottawa is also the start of blood orange season in warm, sunny, faraway climates. I get a little cheerier just seeing these oranges and thinking about the vibrant color and fresh taste inside them. While olive oil cake is super moist and fragrant on its own, blood oranges add a burst of color and freshness to the cake and to my (currently) greyish Canadian winter.
UNIQUE ORANGES AND CAKE
This cake will be fun to bring for my family next time I visit. I can’t wait to see my mom’s reaction when she sees the gorgeous pinkish-reddish-purplish blood orange slices on top.
You know those toys that are popular with kids these days? The ones where they don’t know exactly what they get until they open it? I feel like blood oranges are the natural version of those toys for people who love food. You don’t know what color or shade the orange will be until you cut into it! Whether it’s more orange, red or purple, you can be sure the flesh will be vibrant and gorgeous.
I’m also excited for my mom to hear that the cake is made with olive oil. A lot of people (I’m pretty sure my mom included) don’t know that you can bake with olive oil. The olive oil is this cake makes it flavorful, moist and tender.
I love finding and creating different cakes. I first discovered olive oil cakes in an old Italian cookbook in the library of my hometown. I loved the idea and have tried a few different citrus olive oil cakes.
While searching olive oil cakes, I came across a blood orange olive oil recipe from The Smitten Kitchen and loved the idea! I took inspiration from this cake and had fun creating my own blood orange olive oil cake!
BAKING WITH BLOOD ORANGES
This cake uses the zest, juice and fruit of three blood oranges (plus the juice of a fourth orange in the whipped cream). Since we’re using the zest of two of the oranges, it’s a good idea to buy organic oranges.
I love my microplane for zesting. There’s really nothing like it and it’s definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools.
After zesting the two oranges, I juiced one and got the most gorgeous ruby red juice! This juice along with a couple of tablespoons of milk and 1/2 cup of olive oil make the cake super moist.
For the other zested orange, peel it then chop it as finely as you like. I chopped mine into pretty small 1/4″ pieces. It’ll get added to the batter and you’ll get little bites of the fruit in the cake. So nice.
I cut the peel off the third orange and cut it into 1/4″ rounds then baked it on top of the cake. The blood orange rounds on top let people know what’s in the cake. They also manage to retain some of their juice even though they’re baked.
I noticed a lot of recipes for orange rounds with the peel on that get baked on the bottom (top?!) of an upside down cake. They look gorgeous, but I find the peeled rounds easier to eat.
To make sure the rounds don’t sink into the cake, bake it for about ten minutes then take it out and add the rounds. They can be arranged in any design. I just felt like spreading them out all over the cake. However you arrange it, it’ll look rustic and SO pretty!
BLOOD ORANGE WHIPPED CREAM
I thought about making a glaze for a little extra sweetness, but didn’t want to cover the pretty top of the cake. Whipped cream is the perfect topping since it can be plopped on top of or next to individual slices.
The whipped cream in this recipe is made with just three ingredients and only takes a few minutes to make. I added the juice of another blood orange to the whipped cream. The juice gives it a subtle fruity flavor and a light pink color. It just makes the cake extra pretty and delicious.
One other finishing touch is a little bit of olive oil. I brushed the top of my cake right before serving. It gives it a little extra shine and flavor.
Let me see…I think that was all I wanted to explain. The rest of the recipe is straightforward. It’s an easy cake that makes a stunning, unique looking and tasting dessert. I can’t wait for you to make it and I hope you love it!
FOR MORE BAKED IN FRUIT DESSERT RECIPES, TRY MY:
- Pear and Peach Upside Down Cake
- Blackberry White Chocolate Coffee Cake
- Apple Cinnamon Quick Bread
- Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips
On a final note, as soon as I finished baking the cake, the sun came out here in Ottawa!Print
This gorgeous Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake makes a super moist, colorful, flavorful dessert. Easy to make and delicious with homemade whipped cream!
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 blood oranges
- Olive oil for brushing
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- the juice of one blood orange
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter or lightly oil an 8″ pan.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Two of the blood oranges will be added to the batter while the remaining orange will be added to the top of the cake as decoration while baking. Zest two oranges. Set the zest aside. Juice one of the zested oranges and set the juice aside. Peel the remaining orange then finely chop it into 1/4″ pieces. Set aside. For the third orange, chop off both the bottom and top. Use a small knife to cut the peel off in pieces from top to bottom. Cut closely to the fruit so as to remove both the peel and the pith. Follow the curve of the fruit so that you do not cut off much of the juicy flesh. Turn the orange on its side and slice it into 1/4″ rounds. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer using a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar for 30 seconds on medium high speed. Gradually pour the olive oil into the bowl in a slow but steady stream followed by the milk and the blood orange juice and zest.
- Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped blood orange fruit.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake 10 minutes then remove cake from oven and quickly and carefully add the orange slices on top of the cake. Return the cake to the oven and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake (a few crumbs are okay).
- Place the pan on a rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and allow to cool completely on the rack. Once cooled or before serving, brush cake lightly with olive oil.
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
- For best results, chill the bowl and beaters in the fridge or freezer for 15- 20 minutes before using. Beat the whipping cream on medium-high speed. Let the cream mix for a few minutes while watching carefully. When you have soft peaks, gently pour the sugar in followed by the blood orange juice. Continue mixing until you have medium peaks. Serve alongside or on top of the cake or individual slices.
Keywords: blood orange olive oil cake, citrus olive oil cake, blood orange cake