Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

slice of blood orange olive oil cake

I know, I know. Not the Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake, again?! Yep, that’s right. I’m doing it. Every food blogger under the sun has posted this recipe, and I’m posting it here, too. It really all started because I was curious as to what could be so special about this fruity cake. I also just so happened to have New York Times food writer, Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, AND I remembered that I had blood oranges in the fridge—clearly a sign that could not be ignored. Until I went to said refrigerator to dig out those blood oranges. Huh, that is strange. I swear I bought five blood oranges as I distinctly remember the Whole Foods sale, 5 for $5. Am I losing it? Maybe, but in this case, I knew someone had taken them, and Henry the dog didn’t do it; he can’t even open the fridge.

So as any rational individual would do, I immediately picked up the phone to call my dear husband.

Me: “Andrew!! Someone has stolen my blood oranges?!”
Andrew: “What? What are you talking about?”
Me: “Someone stole my blood oranges. The ones in the refrigerator! The ones that are RED inside.”
Andrew: “Well, I’m sure you can buy more oranges.”
Me: “Clearly, you do not understand the gravity of this situation. Did you or did you not eat oranges with a blood red center? Remember, you are under oath.” (Sometimes I like to pretend I am in court, you know, so my lawyer husband can understand. It is absolutely not relevant that he does tax law, never goes to court, and never interrogates people in a courtroom.)
Andrew: ” I don’t know. Maybe…You have lost it.”
Me: “No, you have lost it. Clearly. I have to go to Whole Foods, like, 5 minutes ago. I love you. Goodbye.”

Utterly frustrated by the non-confession from my guilty husband, I raced to Whole Foods, which thankfully still had blood oranges, 5 for $5 (see, I knew I wasn’t crazy). Crisis averted.

Some may say I am dramatic. Others might say I’m just a passionate food blogger. Besides, I just really, really love anything with blood oranges (see Blood Orange Margaritas). I mean the juice is hot pink. What’s not to love? Plus, they have little, if any, seeds, making them super easy for people like me—who seem to always miss those stupid seeds—to juice. No random orange seeds in this cake, thankyouverymuch! Side note: You can swap blood oranges for sweet oranges in any recipe. Did I mention the juice is hot pink?

I also realize that blood oranges may be harder and harder to find these days (the season can last until June in many places, but we are not all so lucky). Don’t despair if you can’t find blood oranges. The standard orange variety will work just fine in this (or any) recipe.

Back to the cake… I had never actually made an olive oil cake before and was sort of amazed by how easy it was; no mixer required! Plus, it’s super fruity from the olive oil (and the oranges but that is rather obvious, isn’t it?). And since I’ve never been one to judge those who eat dessert in the morning (pie needs some love at breakfast too, people), this cake actually makes sense for breakfast. Or your afternoon snack with tea (I’ll have mine green, straight up). Or dessert topped with whipped cream or better yet, vanilla ice cream. Yes, this cake is really that versatile.

Bottom line: You should really try this cake. Like soon. I mean, everybody’s doing it. P.S. Andrew, keep your paws off the blood oranges.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

Note: I am experimenting with new flours thanks to the Flour Queen Kim Boyce. So, in this recipe, I swapped some all-purpose flour for spelt flour. If you don’t want to try new flours or buy a new flour (a perfectly legit reason, no judging), then use 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour only. But if you are feeling adventurous, try spelt. It’s really good!

Butter for greasing pan
3 blood oranges
1 cup (200 grams or 7 ounces) sugar
Scant 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used yogurt)
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (156 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups (219 grams or 7 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (63 grams or?2 1/5 ounces) spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Honey-blood orange compote, for serving (optional, below)
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Grate the zest from 2 blood oranges and place in a large bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until orange zest is evenly distributed in sugar (sugar will be an orange color).

Supreme an orange: Cut off bottom and top so fruit is exposed and orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Cut away peel and pith, following curve of fruit with your knife. Cut orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Repeat with another orange. Break up segments with your fingers to about 1/4-inch pieces. (See {How to} Segment an Orange for step-by-step instructions)

Halve remaining orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you’ll have about 1/4 cup (One orange yielded ¼ cup for me). Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and then olive oil.

In another bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature, right-side up. Serve with whipped cream and honey-blood orange compote (below), if desired.

Honey-Blood Orange Compote: Supreme 3 more blood oranges according to directions above. Drizzle in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently.

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9 thoughts on “Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

  1. Marci

    Beautiful as always. Cute story too. I thought the oranges would make the cake orange and your teeth too. Haven’t tried them! Do you use a food scale to measure?

  2. brooke Post author

    Thanks! Marci – I don’t use a food scale but want to start…I just haven’t done much research on good ones, etc. And no, blood oranges don’t turn your teeth orange – haha! They don’t stain things like beets either. Try one – they sort of have an orange and slightly raspberry taste. And more vitamin C & antioxidants that regular oranges!

  3. Mary Margaret Smith

    Brooke – found you on Honest It seems like your tastes and mine “jive”. The Boozy French Toast did it -I had to contact you!! Your .com address does not work and as I am 70 yrs young, my computer skills are nill so I had to reach out this way (sorry) :-( I have some info that I think you would really like so please contact me thru my alo.
    I am Very sure you will be happy you did!! I AM NOT SELLING ANYTHING. Looking forward to hearing from you. MM

  4. laura

    love this recipe! i bet almond flour would also be delish. a word of friendly advice here, if you start using a high ratio of GF flour then you’ll prob need to add some xanthum gum to hold things together. :) saving this masterpiece to!

    1. brooke Post author

      I bet almond flour would be SO good! I may need to try that next! And thanks for the advice! I am just starting to experiment with different flours so I appreciate any tips :)

  5. Rose

    Hi there! I came across you on while trying to find a recipe to use up the blood oranges my neighbor gave me… I must say, I loved this recipe (as did my friends I shared the cake with). I made it yesterday, and I used a 9×13 pyrex dish because I didn’t have a proper loaf pan. I probably baked it around 35 minutes, and it turned out just about perfect. Thanks for this awesome recipe!

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