Sunday, 26 April 2015

Blood oranges

I love blood oranges, I think it's their colour, so rich and exotic but rarely seen in our area. We were in the market a couple of weeks ago and a stallholder was selling eight for £2. How could I resist?

Blood oranges
My first bake was a blood orange and almond cake:

  • 3 medium (or 2 large) blood oranges
  • 6 eggs
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 250g caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
Boil the oranges in a little water, covered, for about 1.5-2 hours until soft. When cool open to remove the pips and roughly chop the oranges.

Preheat oven 190C/170C fan and fully line a 22 cm springform cake tin.

Blend all the ingredients, except the oranges, until you have a nice batter. Add the oranges and pour into the tin.

Bake for about an hour.

Blood orange and almond cake
 This cake is beautifully moist and kept really well. We had small slices with coffee and for dessert with a blob of creme fraiche.

Next was an upside down cake which I thought would really showcase the blood oranges.

Topping (or bottom!)

  • 2-3 oranges
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 75g plain flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
Preheat oven to 160/140C and line a 22/25 cm springform. Use one sheet of baking paper so that there are no gaps for the syrup to leak (a bit like a cup cake liner).

Slice the oranges as finely as you can (use a mandolin if you have one).

Thinly sliced oranges

Gently heat the topping sugar and water on a low heat until the sugar has melted, increase the temperature to a medium high and add the orange slices. Once boiling point has been reached turn down to a simmer and cook until the rinds are semi-transclucent. Remove slices with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Boil the remaining liquid until it thickens a bit more.

This is the tricky bit! Ideally you want to put orange slices along the sides and base of the baking tin, but the sides depend on how neatly you've been with the baking paper. Whichever way a light brushing of the syrup will help them to stick.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat the eggs and add a little at a time whilst still beating. Stir in ground almonds, flour and yoghurt without overworking. Gently spoon the mixture over the orange slices being careful not to dislodge them. Bake for about 60 minutes.

Cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. Carefully upturn onto a serving plate and gently remove the baking paper. Brush the top and sides with the reserved syrup.

Blood orange upside down cake
Andrew decided that he'd like the upside down cake made with the orange and almond cake mix. Maybe next time!


  1. How do you do it? I haven't seen a single blood orange for over 6 weeks now. I shall refrain from making patronising remarks about the backwoods of East Anglia......

    1. Mmmm. So many options to reply… backwoods…Yorkshire…sheep :-)

  2. They're still here, in the markets ... We also got a bargain lot, Sharon - even more of a bargain than yours! I picked up three bags for a euro each - thought they were a kilo each but they turned out to be two, so we ended up with 6 kilos for 3 euros, which was turned rapidly into blood orange curd, blood orange marmalade, a blood orange and olive oil cake, and some small jars of preserved oranges! Gorgeous bloody things :)

  3. We're moving to the Ariege! I love the sound of the blood orange curd :-)