Blood Orange Cake

This recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Odile’s fresh orange cake in Baking with Chez Moi. Like all things in life, there are so many ways to get to the endpoint. Skinning a cat (metaphorically speaking) or baking a cake, the task at hand. Instead of poaching sliced orange, as Dorie has suggested, I used sliced whole blood oranges, including the peel.

I had a problem. I only had two blood oranges and several Cara Cara oranges. The blood oranges fell apart when I attempted to cut them crosswise for poaching. I love the color of the blood oranges and wanted to get as much out of them as I could. So I had to quickly devise a plan B. In the end, the cake turned into a candied blood orange cake instead of Odile’s version as I set out to do.

Sliced blood oranges were simmered in syrup (by boiling granulated sugar and water in equal amount in a saucepan) until the orange peel became soft and translucent. The orange peels taste more like candied than poached fruit. Believe it or not, the skin of the orange developed into something quite transcending. Sweet and tangy, and with a soft bite. The after taste lingered. I went for a second piece of cake.

The idea of using the whole orange was not new. I borrowed it. The original idea came from Claudia Roden‘s orange and almond cake. A whole orange is cooked for two hours, seeded and pureed. Then the orange puree goes into the cake batter. The result is one of the most moist and deeply flavored orange cakes I’ve ever eaten. You’ll never forget the experience how you put pureed whole oranges, peel and pith and all, in a cake. Radical, different with unexpected results. And it works.

Odile’s orange cake batter is similar to a classic pound cake formula: equal weight in flour, sugar, butter and egg. Sugar (with orange zest from one Cara Cara) and butter (one stick) were creamed together until smooth. Then eggs were beaten into the batter. Juice from one orange (Cara Cara) and all the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) were incorporated last.

I put the batter in a parchment lined 9-inch pan and baked it for 20 minutes in a 350°F oven. The candied blood orange slices were arranged on top of the cake. Brushed them with some orange syrup for the final finishing touch. An eye-candy of a cake too beautiful to eat! But someone has to do it.

Candied blood orange slice has a sweet, tangy and soft bite

Home bakers at Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) are making Odile’s fresh orange cake this week. Please go to the blogroll to see what other bakers have whipped up. You’ll always find some interesting surprises.

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Cakelaw
    March 8, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Your cake looks lovely, and the candied blood orange sounds devine.

  • Reply
    sanyaliving.com
    March 8, 2016 at 6:38 am

    This looks so delicious! I'm glad to hear it tastes as good as it looks.
    The oranges look amazing, I like the whole orange look.

  • Reply
    Nicole
    March 8, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Ooh.. candied oranges… what a great idea!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    March 8, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Ooh.. candied oranges… what a great idea!

  • Reply
    Ryan
    March 8, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Your cake looks great! I like your candied orange topping!

  • Reply
    Nana
    March 8, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Your cake turned out beautiful, love the candied oranges. I used Cara-Cara oranges in mine instead of the blood, that's all I could
    find this week.

  • Reply
    tricia s.
    March 9, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Just gorgeous ! I had no idea about cooking the oranges whole like that so am delighted to read about your results. The finished dessert is gorgeous and now I am really curious to try the taste and texture- it sounds divine. Thanks for sharing the backstory about Claudia Roden's recipe- very interesting.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 9, 2016 at 5:57 am

    It is one of those recipes that you have to try it to believe it.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 9, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Who knows that whole orange can taste so good? Glad to have found that out.

  • Reply
    Teresa
    March 9, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Your cake looks gorgeous and I enjoyed reading about your process with this recipe. I'm also really curious about Claudia Roden's recipe – your description was mouth-watering.

  • Reply
    Zosia
    March 9, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    So pretty and it must taste as good as it looks with the candied fruit. I love that you were inspired by Claudia Roden's orange cake – it's one of my favourites (along with Nigella's clementine cake).

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 9, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I have bookmarked Nigella's clementine cake to bake sometime. Thanks for telling me about it. If and when you make the Odile's version, I'd love to hear your take comparing the three cakes.

  • Reply
    Diane Zwang
    March 10, 2016 at 1:01 am

    It looks like your plan B turned out well. It is nice to see those of you that used blood oranges.

  • Reply
    Approaching Food
    March 10, 2016 at 5:17 am

    I love your idea of using the whole slice orange. It was soooo frustrating to have the oranges slices fall apart while slicing or poaching, so I think your idea is great. And it looks absolutely fabulous!

  • Reply
    isthisakeeper
    March 10, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Very pretty…and way to go with trying something different. 🙂

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