Candied Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

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The farmer’s markets in California have been teeming with gorgeous citrus these past few weeks: tangelos, multiple varieties of oranges, mandarins, pomelos and, of course, beautiful blood oranges. I’d been playing around with a few ideas of what to make with them – their flavor mostly the same as an orange – something that really highlighted the beauty in a blood orange.

Then I remembered I had fancy blood orange olive oil. Olive oil cake. With blood oranges.

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– A rare action shot from A., focusing on sugar and zest.

This is a real crowd pleaser. It’s adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe here, but made in a round cake pan with some topping changes. Instead of an orange compote, I added some candied rounds to the top of the cake, followed by a heavy drizzle of the syrup from candying them. The syrup soaked in and added a nice sweetness to the cake. The extra dollop of fresh whipped cream at the end didn’t hurt either. Give this one a try next time you’re hosting friends or have a need for something different to bring to a potluck. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

For the cake:

  • 4 blood oranges (1 for candied slices, 3 for cake)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ~1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used this one: Il Fustino Blood Orange)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Grease a 9 inch round cake pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

First, combine the sugar with the zest of one whole blood orange. Mix it with your fingers until it is well distributed and there aren’t big hunks of zest. Meanwhile, juice the blood oranges until you have about 1/4 cup of juice. Add buttermilk to that until you have 1/2 cup total liquid.

Take the remaining blood orange, peel it and supreme the fruit from the peel. Here’s a tutorial on how to supreme a citrus fruit. Once you have the fruit, cut into small pieces (1/4 inch or so) and set aside.

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Add the buttermilk/juice mixture to the sugar, and add in the eggs, one at a time – stirring in between each addition. I found using a whisk for this was best. Add the 2/3 cup olive oil and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the dry ingredients and then add to the mix. Stir until combined. Add in the blood orange segment pieces and lightly stir. Pour into greased pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, checking after 30 for doneness by using a toothpick. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go. Otherwise, bake at five minute intervals until done.

For the Candied Blood Orange and syrup:

  • 1 blood orange
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Cut your blood orange into thin slices. In a large skillet, add the water and sugar, and heat until sugar is dissolved and simmering. Add the blood orange slices in a flat layer to the pan and turn the heat to medium low. Simmer for about 40 minutes or until the white part of the peel turns more clear, and then take off the heat. Allow to cool in the pan.

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When you’re about to serve the cake, pour the syrup from the slices over the top of the cake. Arrange the slices atop the cake — as you can tell from the photos below, I had a hard time deciding which way was best. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

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