A classic orange loaf taken up a notch, packed with citrus in every bite, topped with sweet, sticky glazed oranges and drenched in a subtle pink icing. If you love citrus as much as I clearly do, this cake is an absolute must bake! Citrus loaves are one of my summer favourites and this time around it felt extra special since I finally managed to get hold of some blood oranges. Trust me, if you haven’t tried them yet, they’re a whole other kind of beautiful, the speckled maroon peel, the deep red flesh and the juice that stains everything it touches with a shade of red, all of it makes baking with oranges so much better!
PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
INGREDIENTS (serves 8-10)
For the loaf:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Zest of 2 small blood oranges
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 tablespoon freshly-squeezed blood orange juice
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 3-4 whole blood oranges, for topping (depends on the size)
For the orange syrup:
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed blood orange juice
You will also need: An 8″X4″ loaf tin
Note: If you can’t get your hands on any blood oranges, you can always substitute with normal oranges!
(Source: Recipe adapted from Ina Garten)
For the cake:
Grease and line an 8″X4″ loaf tin with baking paper.
In a large bowl, start by creaming the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy in texture. Add in the eggs, one at a time whisking in each time until well combined.
Add the blood orange zest and juice to the buttermilk and stir through. Scrape off the vanilla seeds of half a pod into the liquid as well. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the batter and fold through.
Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl, plain flour, baking powder and baking soda and fold through with a spatula. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
This next bit is entirely optional but it’s a lovely way to make your loaf look a lot more elegant!
Take the peel off the oranges and slice into thin rounds. You could use blood oranges or normal ones or a combination of both, it’s entirely upto you.
Transfer the batter into the prepared baking tin and level out the top. Layer the orange slices on top of the batter and place in the oven for about 1 hour or until a skewer when inserted through the centre comes out clean.
Note: Check the cake at 50 minute mark just to be sure!
For the syrup:
While the cake is in the oven, move on to making the syrup! In a small saucepan, combine the blood orange juice and caster sugar on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and it slightly thickens.
Once out the oven, while still warm, poke holes half way through the cake with the help of a toothpick of skewer. Spoon over the orange syrup so it soaks into the cake for that extra punch of citrus!
Set the loaf aside to cool on a wire-rack.
For the glaze:
In a small bowl, sift in the icing sugar and add the blood orange juice. Whisk until theres no lumps in the icing. Once the cake is completely cooled. Spoon the icing over the top and drench it in that citrusy glaze as much or as little as you’d like!
When folding the batter, make sure to do so gently to avoid knocking the air out of the batter.
When layering the orange rounds over the top, gently nudge them into the batter so they don’t fall off while baking.
Looking for more citrus recipes? Here’s some of my other lemony summer favourites:
If you give this recipe a go, I’d love to see how it turned out. Leave a comment below and share your pictures on Instagram using the tag #thecookbooklife!
Have a lovely week ahead!