Monday, 27 January 2014

Blood Orange Cake

For a cake that uses fruits available in this part of the world during the depths of winter, this is actually a welcoming and cheerfully summery looking cake.

Blood oranges tend to be slightly tarter than other oranges but I think that this is what gives this cake an added sophistication and makes it all the more inviting.

This is the type of cake that could be served as it is ideal for serving as a dessert, still slightly warm from the oven with a dollop of crème fraiche. Alternatively, you could serve it with a scoop of ice-cream, but I think the slight acidity of the crème fraiche is exactly what is called for here, so that is what I would suggest.

As with so many sweet recipes that include citrus fruits, you can interchange the fruits used quite easily. This cake would work equally well with ordinary oranges, with lemons or even with limes. If I were to use limes, I think I would add in a couple of heaped tablespoons of desiccated coconut and would omit the orange flower water substituting the finely grated zest and juice of a couple of limes to give a slightly tropical interpretation to the basic recipe given here. Lime or lemon marmalades could also be used in place of the orange marmalade to complement the chosen fruit.
This cake is extremely moist with a beautiful orange taste. Upside down cakes always seem to invite gasps of appreciation when they are up-turned onto the serving plate and I have to admit that because of this, I tend to make sure I have an audience when the big unveiling happens.


25g butter, for greasing cake tin
1 blood orange, thinly sliced
3-4 tblsp granulated sugar
200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
3tblsp orange marmalade
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
200g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
½tblsp orange flower water


1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 23cm round cake tin with butter and sprinkle in the sugar. Arrange the sliced orange slices on top of the sugar, overlapping to fit them in if necessary.
3. Using a hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy and then beat in the marmalade. Next beat in the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the flour and ground almonds and mix in the orange flower water.
4. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and spread out the mixture evenly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes until a inserted skewer comes out clean.
5. Leave to rest for 5 minutes and then turn out carefully onto a serving plate.
6. Serve warm with a spoonful of crème fraiche.

Serves 8-10.