‘Tis the season to get fruity people, because the blood oranges are in town!
To me, blood oranges are the crown jewels of the fruit world. Sweeter than her more perennial equivalent, the blood orange (or blush orange if you’re fancy) has a ruby red flesh that graces the world for just a few months of the year. So if you’re eyeing up this recipe then you’d better make it before May – the month that is, not the PM, though I expect the expiry date of both will be pretty similar.
For this cake, I really wanted to show off the natural flavours and colours of the oranges. The topping is made from homemade candied orange slices, laid on top of a crunchy sugar drizzle and a zesty sponge. By all means you can make this cake without the candied slices, but if you do want to make them, be sure to do it the night before as they will need to dry out for at least 12 hours.
Happy drizzling! – ew.
Blood Orange Drizzle Cake
Makes 1 loaf cake
For the candied orange slices:
- 1 – 4 large blood oranges (depending on how many slices you want)
- 450g caster sugar
- 500ml water
For the sponge:
- 170g softened unsalted butter
- 140g caster sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 170g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 blood oranges
- 50g granulated sugar
- To make the candied orange slices, place the sugar and water into a large, wide saucepan on a medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then leave to bring to a gentle boil. Once boiling, turn down to a medium heat so it gently simmers.
- Cut the oranges into 3mm slices, then gently place into the saucepan so they form one layer, and simmer for 30 minutes until the flesh is slightly translucent. You may need to do this in batches if you’ve got a lot of slices. Using tongs, take each slice out and lay flat on a wire cooling rack and leave to dry for at least 12 hours. You can now refrigerate the syrup and use it in drinks – it’s great in a G&T!
- Once the slices have dried, put a tablespoon of caster sugar on a small plate and place the orange slice on top, turning it over to cover it with the sugar. Repeat this with half of the orange slices.
- Now to make the sponge, pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (170ºC fan) and grease and line a 10cm by 20cm loaf tin, being sure to leave an overlap on the sides so you can lift the cake out later.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy – you can do this by hand or with a stand mixer if you’d prefer. Whisk the eggs, then gradually beat them into the mix. Add the flour and baking powder, then gently fold until you can’t see any flecks of flour in the cake batter.
- Zest two of the oranges and fold into the mix. Then pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
- While the cake is baking, make the crunchy sugar top by adding the granulated sugar to the juice of one of the oranges and stirring well. Once the cake is baked, pierce several holes all over the top and spoon over the sugar topping. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then lift the cake out onto a wire rack. Top the cake with the candied orange slices, and serve!