Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

You’re going to love this decadent Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake. No stand mixer required! Blood oranges add a beautiful visual element, but regular oranges can easily be substituted. This olive oil cake recipe is truly an amazing dessert. 

This Olive Oil Cake Recipe is soft and moist with tons of flavor! No stand mixer is required, and regular oranges may be substituted if you can't locate blood oranges.

When I received blood oranges in my farm box last week, I immediately knew I wanted to bake a cake. Lately I’ve been opting for more simple recipes– classics like bread pudding, tomato bisque, and chili.

However, when I see blood oranges, I always love to think outside the box. Why not create something that highlights that gorgeous color as much as possible? For example, check out my Blood Orange Gin and Tonic.

A photo of blood orange cake ingredients in a bowl.

After deciding on a cake, I immediately thought, “let’s make it a blood orange olive oil cake.” Some quick research helped me realize that a recipe by the same name already exists in one of Melissa Clark’s cookbooks.

A photo of olive oil cake ingredients being stirred in a bowl.

I love Melissa’s recipes, so why reinvent the wheel? I’ve adapted her blood orange olive oil cake, and it’s amazing as expected.

The cake is tender, moist, and doesn’t require a stand mixer. It’s not overly sweet, and if you’ll excuse me, I think I need another slice.

Recipe Notes

  • Blood oranges aren’t always available, so don’t worry if you can’t find them. You’ll get almost the exact same results using regular oranges, minus the dramatic color. The flavors are just slightly different, but as far as I’m concerned, regular oranges and blood oranges can always be used interchangeably.
  • If you’re not sure how to supreme citrus fruits, and my recipe instructions are confusing, here’s a tutorial from Martha Stewart with step-by-step photos and a video.
  • Taste your olive oil before using it. I REPEAT. Taste the olive oil first. You want to use something mild, optionally fruity. Make sure you’re not using an olive oil with a strong, bitter, peppery or grassy flavor. Save those for bread dipping. They do not belong in cake! Olive oil can also go rancid with time, so even if the oil was mild when you purchased it, I strongly recommend tasting it first. In fact, I insist. Nobody likes a rancid cake.

A photo showing a slice of blood orange olive oil cake topped with whipped cream and orange segments.

Beautiful blood orange olive oil cake, photographed from above
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Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

5 from 5 votes
This Blood Orange Olive Oil cake is soft, moist and burst with flavor! Blood oranges add a beautiful color, but regular oranges may be substituted.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword olive oil cake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 (approximately)
Calories 385

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 blood oranges (regular oranges may be substituted)
  • 7 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • Buttermilk (see instructions)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Freshly whipped cream (I recommend unsweetened)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan (I used baking spray with flour), and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Grate the zest from two oranges and combine in a small bowl with the sugar. Use your fingers to press the zest into the sugar, removing any clumps, until fragrant and evenly distributed.
  • Supreme both oranges, one at a time, using a sharp knife (I use a chef’s knife, but some prefer a paring knife). Slice off the very top and bottom of the orange, creating flat ends. Place one end on a cutting board, then use your knife to remove the orange peel and white pith in sections, all the way around, maintaining the shape of the fruit.
  • Hold the fruit firmly in the palm of your hand or place it on its side on the cutting board (whichever feels more comfortable). To remove the segments, cut along the membrane toward the center, then slice along the adjacent membrane, until the slices meet and you can remove the segment. Repeat all the way around, placing the segments into a bowl.
  • Once the oranges are supremed, squeeze the membranes over a liquid measuring cup to extract the juice. Discard the membranes. Juice a third orange into the measuring cup, so you have approximately 1/4 cup juice. Add buttermilk until you have 2/3 cup liquid total. Pour into a large bowl along with the sugar and eggs, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the dry ingredients, then switch to a spatula and slowly fold in the olive oil, followed by the orange segments.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing out the top. Bake for 55 minutes, or until golden on top, with a toothpick coming out clean from the center. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.
  • Supreme the remaining 3 oranges and combine with the honey. Serve slices of cake topped with whipped cream, blood orange supremes and a drizzle of the orange honey juice.

Notes

Do not use an olive oil with a strong flavor profile. Make sure to taste it before using! Some olive oils are very bitter, grassy or peppery. It can also go rancid and develop an unpleasant flavor over time. For this cake you want to use a mild or fruity olive oil.
Adapted from In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love by Melissa Clark.

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 135mg | Potassium: 149mg | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 2.5% | Vitamin C: 6.3% | Calcium: 5.1% | Iron: 10%

Recipe Troubleshooting

For help troubleshooting a recipe, please email recipehelp@savorysimple.net. I’ll try to respond to urgent questions as quickly as possible! This email address is only for recipe troubleshooting; Solicitations will be ignored.

This soft, flavorful Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake is a show stopper! Even better, no stand mixer is required! Regular oranges can easily be substituted.

About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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