Almost-Famous Blood Orange Cake (So Moist + Easy!)

Blood Orange Cake with blood orange glaze. This recipe uses the entire orange, making a very moist cake with wonderful depth of flavour.

Blood oranges are so sweet and juicy and this cake is the perfect blood orange dessert to put them do delicious use.

I think the pretty pink hue and citrus profile are a perfect bright way to bridge the gap between winter and spring. 

This recipe is super easy to put together. Start by simmering orange slices (peel and all!) until tender, then blend them. This puree will be the base of the cake.

Beyond that, all you need is two bowls – not even a standing mixer. So simple!

Here’s What You Need for this Blood Orange Cake Recipe

This blood orange cake recipe uses the whole oranges – the rind, the pith and the fruit itself. They’re sliced and simmered until tender, then pureed. This gives the cake an amazing depth of flavour, and makes for a very moist crumb.

Blood Orange Cake Ingredients

For Cake

  • Blood Orange Puree: Adds moisture and SO much citrus flavor to the cake.
  • Butter: Gives the cake a rich, tender texture.
  • Egg: Works as a binder, giving the cake structure.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The cake’s main building block, providing structure.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the cake.
  • Baking Powder: Helps the cake rise.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

For Glaze

  • Blood Orange Juice: Brings a fresh, citrusy zing to the glaze.
  • Confectioners’ Sugar: Sweetens and thickens the glaze.

Variations and substitutions

  • Different Citrus: Feel free to swap blood oranges for grapefruit, cara cara oranges, regular oranges, tangerines, mandarins or meyer lemons (not regular lemons, which are too sour). Each brings a slightly different citrus flavor and color to the cake.
  • Different Fat: Since we are melting the butter and not creaming it, you can use extra virgin olive oil as a substitute for a different flavor.

Grab these Tools

Having the right equipment makes the process smoother.

  • Blender: For pureeing the blood oranges into a smooth mixture.
  • 9×2″ Round Baking Pan: The perfect size cake pan for for this recipe.
  • Parchment Paper: Helps the cake come out easily without sticking.
  • Mixing Bowls: Needed for mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately.
  • Wire rack: To cook the cake.

How to Make Blood Orange Cake: An Easy Guide

Got two bowls and a spoon? You’re most of the way there. Let’s walk through the steps together.

Making the Blood Orange Puree

First off, let’s create the flavor base for our cake.

Simmer sliced blood oranges in water until they’re soft.

Then, blend them into a smooth puree. This puree is the secret to the cake’s moist texture and bright flavor.

Prepare the Cake Batter

Mix the Wet Ingredients

Start by blending the vibrant blood orange puree with melted butter.

Crack a room temperature egg into this mixture. (Here’s how to quickly bring eggs to room temperature.)

Stir these well until they’re completely combined.

Whisking flour and dry ingredients in a bowl.

Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients

Pour the wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to fold them gently.

It’s about being gentle and not overworking the batter. Overmixing can make the cake tough. We want it tender and airy, with a soft crumb that melts in your mouth.

Each fold blends the ingredients without deflating the air bubbles too much. Those bubbles are precious. They’ll expand in the oven, giving our cake that perfect rise.

Remember, the batter doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth. A few lumps are okay. They’ll disappear during baking, leaving us with a beautifully textured cake.

Bake the Cake

Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake until it’s just right. A bit of patience here pays off with a perfectly bouncy and delicious cake.

My favorite way of checking doneness is with an instant read thermometer (or a meat thermometer). It will be 190ºF when perfectly done, without being underbaked, and without losing excess moisture.

Glazing the Cake

The final touch is a sweet and tangy orange glaze. Mix blood orange juice with confectioners’ sugar to get the consistency you like. Drizzle it over the cooled cake for that extra zing.

I like to finish the cake with very thin orange slices. You could alternatively garnish it with a little orange zest and/or toasted almonds.

Other Citrusy Desserts You’ll Love

Blood orange cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 10
Dessert
Canadian
Keyword blood orange cake, blood orange dessert

Ingredients
  

For blood orange puree

  • 3 medium blood oranges washed well and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 2 cups water

For cake

  • 2 cups blood orange puree
  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

For glaze

  • 1 blood orange juiced
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Instructions
 

For Blood Orange Puree

  • Bring sliced blood oranges and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully transfer to blender and let cool 10 minutes. Blend on high power until completely smooth.
  • Measure out two cups, and discard (or repurpose – smoothie?) any leftover. There won't be much.

For Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9×2″ round baking pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine two cups of the blood orange puree with the melted butter and egg.  
  •  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Pour the orange mixture into the flour mixture and gently fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  • Bake in centre of oven for about 40 minutes, or until centre feels a bit bouncy when lightly pressed.
    Let cool a few minutes in pan, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For Glaze

  • To make glaze, whisk together juice and confectioners' sugar.  If you prefer a runnier glaze, add a bit of water about a half-teaspoon at a time.
  • Spread or pour over cake once it's completely cool. Garnish cake with more thinly-sliced oranges, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 277kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 327mgPotassium: 17mgFiber: 2gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 320IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 1mg
Keyword blood orange cake, blood orange dessert

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

4.5 2 votes
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brinacyl
brinacyl
3 years ago

hi there! may I ask how many grams is each blood orange? many thanks

Melinda
Melinda
3 years ago

5 stars
Awesome recipe and very useful! Everyone needs to have this recipe as there go to.

Monique
Monique
5 years ago

This cake was amazing! Moist and very flavourful, a hint of bitterness (probably from the rind), and just sweet enough. My glaze did not turn out as pretty as yours though, mine was a bit on the runny side. When it set, it reminded me of a donut glaze. Delish! Thank you 🙂 PS I’ve been looking at some of your other recipes and will definitely be giving them a try.

Monique
Monique
5 years ago

This cake was amazing! Moist and very flavourful, a hint of bitterness (probably from the rind), and just sweet enough. My glaze did not turn out as pretty as yours though, mine was a bit on the runny side. When it set, it reminded me of a donut glaze. Delish! Thank you 🙂 PS I’ve been looking at some of your other recipes and will definitely be giving them a try.

Monique
Monique
5 years ago

This cake was amazing! Moist and very flavourful, a hint of bitterness (probably from the rind), and just sweet enough. My glaze did not turn out as pretty as yours though, mine was a bit on the runny side. When it set, it reminded me of a donut glaze. Delish! Thank you 🙂 PS I’ve been looking at some of your other recipes and will definitely be giving them a try.

Monique
Monique
6 years ago

This cake was amazing! Moist and very flavourful, a hint of bitterness (probably from the rind), and just sweet enough. My glaze did not turn out as pretty as yours though, mine was a bit on the runny side. When it set, it reminded me of a donut glaze. Delish! Thank you 🙂 PS I’ve been looking at some of your other recipes and will definitely be giving them a try.

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