step-by-step: blood orange olive oil cake

March 2, 2011

I can’t remember a post that I’ve had more fun with than this one. Photographing these blood oranges gave me more pleasure than I should probably admit to. Talk about naturally photogenic. Blood oranges often look like normal oranges on the outside but just wait til you cut into them – the inside¬† colour ranges from a pinky-red blush to a dark, almost black amber.

Oh and the cake? You want to know about the cake? Well, it’s bright and tart and tastes like bursts of summertime in every bite.¬† It’s not overly sweet and it has this tang that sort of lingers on your tongue. It’s also impossibly fluffy and light. I’m pretty sure you should make some as soon as possible.

The recipe is from that American institution, The New York Times. Their food section is so good, isn’t it? I’m always so impressed with their recipes and how they turn out. Yay NYT.

On another note: winter citrus is genius. Right when you’re feeling the absolute worst about how it’s still miles from being spring time and it’s all cold and gross outside (if Minneapolis could stop doing the cold – bit warm/melty – freezing cold/icy thing it would be lovely) winter citrus fruits come into season, ready to cheer you up.

Since I had such fun taking pictures making this recipe, I thought I’d share step-by-step instructions on how it’s done. Also, I don’t know about you but when I see a direction to “supreme an orange” I go a bit cross-eyed, but don’t worry all is revealed in my step-by-step. Enjoy!

Start off by grating orange zest into a bowl with sugar. Rub the ingredients together with your fingers until the orange zest is evenly distributed in the sugar and it looks like this:

Next, supreme an orange (which is just a fancy and efficient way of peeling it) by cutting off the bottom and top of the orange so the fruit is exposed and the orange can stand upright on a cutting board:

Cut away the peel and white pith, following curve of the fruit with your knife:

Cut orange segments out of their connective membranes. Then repeat these steps with another orange.

Break up the segments with your fingers into about 1/4-inch pieces and whack them in a bowl:

Halve another orange and squeeze its juice into a measuring cup:

Add buttermilk or yoghurt to the juice until you have 2/3 cup of liquid and pour the mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well:

Grab three large eggs and whisk ’em in…

…until your mixture looks something like this – beautiful, right? –

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently whisk your dry ingredients into wet ones:

Now it’s olive oil time a.k.a. my favourite time. Fold in the oil a little at a time. It’ll feel like a whole lotta olive oil. That’s because it is. You’ll get over it:

Fold in pieces of orange segments. Pretty:

And finally scrape the batter into a pan and smooth the top and… wait for magic to happen. Et voila! You made a beautiful cake:

Now, eat.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
from The New York Times


  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Grate zest from 2 oranges and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until orange zest is evenly distributed in sugar.

2. Supreme an orange: Cut off bottom and top so fruit is exposed and orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Cut away peel and pith, following curve of fruit with your knife. Cut orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Repeat with another orange. Break up segments with your fingers to about 1/4-inch pieces.

3. Halve remaining orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup. You will have about 1/4 cup or so. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs.

4. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently whisk dry ingredients into wet ones. Switch to a spatula and fold in oil a little at a time. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Scrape batter into pan and smooth top.

5. Bake cake for about 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

brandi March 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

I have YET to make an olive oil cake. I need to fix that.


Angharad March 2, 2011 at 10:08 am

Oh you do, you do, you do! I can’t tell you how much I love them. The texture is so different: so moist and fresh and yet still fluffy and light. Fix it indeed, Ms. Brandi.


minneville March 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

love your knife! Plus, I have never seen a blood orange before, great to see it on your blog!


Angharad March 3, 2011 at 11:43 am

That knife was a birthday present for my boy a year or so ago – he is really into kitchen knives :)


emily (a nutritionist eats) March 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Beautiful pictures Angharad!!!


janetha @ meals and moves March 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Um, yeah, these photos win.


Kristen March 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I just told my friend to “supreme me an orange.” She told me I didn’t sound pretentious at all… Your photos look gorgeous – might I ask what camera you use? They always look so nice.


Angharad January 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

Wow, just looking back at these comments and realized I never responded to you, Kristen! Sorry! Firstly, you’re comment made me howl. Not pretentious at all…
Secondly, my camera is a Panasonic Lumix – not a dslr but has full manual function.


Gary March 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Beautifully photographed, as always! Someday, I must help with the tasting process…


Meghan@travelwinedine March 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm

This looks incredible and perfect for my not-too-sweet dessert palate!


rebecca March 3, 2011 at 11:10 pm

wow what a great cake and your right simple beautiful oranges hope your keeping well



Jessie March 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

I read this post yesterday and had to come back and read it again today because I can’t stop thinking about how good it looks. I love the photos you took- I like that they don’t look staged at all, just like what someone sitting in your kitchen would naturally see while you were baking. Lovely. :)

I’ve only had an olive oil cake once, but it was incredible. I need to try my hand at this.


Angharad March 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm

This is such a lovely comment – thank you so much Jessie! I’m glad that someone else liked the photos – I just loved taking them so much. Please do try the recipe – it’s such a surprising wonderful flavour and texture with all the bursts of blood orange. Wanting more as I type…


Holly March 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm

that is one of the most gorgeous things i’ve ever seen! i also want to taste it. like i am looking at my screen now and trying to pore through it so i can get a bite. you’ve outdone yourself this time lady.

love you!

call/email/talk soon!!! xxx


Angharad March 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Thank you so much love! It was really tasty – super tangy and fresh but still oh-so-sweet – you should make some :)
Talk soon I hope! xx


Lauren March 25, 2011 at 12:42 am

These pictures were so stunning to me that I had to go out and buy blood oranges that day! I finally got around to actually making the cake and oh my, it is (or was, as it’s all gone) delicious! I used an olive oil with some citrus notes, which really worked with the blood orange in various forms. Also, thanks for posting something using pieces of blood orange in it – you don’t see that very often. I’m looking forward to making some more of your recipes soon!


NicoleD January 10, 2012 at 11:27 am

This is gorgeous! I love the pretty bits of blood orange in the cake. I think I have to make this :)


Mary Kay DeSola January 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Wow, that sent me to the market to get blood oranges! Can’t wait to make this…and eat it!


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