This deliciously moist and tangy Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake is full of flavor with fresh blood orange zest and juice, with a smooth extra virgin olive oil finish. It's refreshing yet comforting finished with a tart homemade blood orange glaze on top.
You really only need a few things to make this orange olive oil cake – and blood oranges are the star of the show.
- All purpose flour: the standard flour I use when baking
- Baking powder: reacts with the acid from the orange juice and helps make the cake rise
- Cardamom: this gives the cake a nice warm spice flavor but it has a hint of citrus that pairs really well with the blood orange
- Granulated sugar: a standard sugar when baking
- Eggs: large eggs always!
- Blood orange zest and juice: this recipe uses both the zest and the juice of the blood oranges to really get that flavor in there
- Extra virgin olive oil: make sure it's extra virgin olive oil! It has a bolder flavor without being overwhelming, and because the cake is baked at a low temperature it doesn't burn.
- Whole milk: definitely use whole milk! It needs the fat content with not using butter.
Blood oranges vs. oranges
So what's the difference between blood oranges and regular oranges?
From the outside blood oranges look more or less like regular oranges, although sometimes they have some darker splotches. BUT on the inside, blood oranges are this really beautiful deep red color. Flavor wise, they are a bit sweeter (less tart) and have a more "berry" like flavor.
Step by step instructions
To add on to all the great things this blood orange olive oil cake is, it can also be made in one bowl! Yay, we love that.
1. Mix together zest and sugar. In a mixing bowl mix together the orange zest with the granulated sugar with your hands until very fragrant.
2. Add the eggs. Whisk the eggs into the orange sugar until fully combined.
3. Add the rest of the wet ingredients. To the same bowl whisk in the blood orange juice, milk, and extra virgin olive oil until well combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet - the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt, until just combined.
5. Bake. Pour the batter into a lined and greased loaf pan and bake at 325℉ for 60-70 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
6. Make the glaze. Mix together the powdered sugar and blood orange juice to make a smooth glaze. When the cake is cooled to room temperature, pour the glaze evenly over the top.
Tips and tricks
Making this blood orange olive oil cake is pretty straight forward but below are some tips and tricks to help make sure you nail it.
- Use room temperature ingredients: I know this is pretty annoying but it really makes a difference! Using room temperature ingredients when baking helps make sure they combine seamlessly which is key for a consistent and well-baked cake.
- Extra virgin olive oil is a must!! It has a much more robust flavor but still is not overwhelming. It has just enough flavor to come through which is perfect for a citrus olive oil cake.
- Use your fingers to mix the sugar and zest: it seems kind of strange but using your hands (make sure you wash them first!) to mix together the zest and granulated sugar really infuses the sugar with the orange flavor and therefore it gets more evenly infused throughout the cake.
- Don't over mix the batter: you really just want to mix in the dry ingredients until they're just combined. Over mixing can cause the cake to be more dense which is not what we want - especially because olive oil cakes are a bit on the denser side by nature.
- Bang the pan to get air bubbles out: after you pour the batter into the loaf pan (and before baking) carefully bang the the pan on the table and it'll help release some air bubbles.
- Skip the glaze if you want: you can totally skip the glaze if that's not your style. This blood orange cake would be GREAT with just a dusting of powdered sugar or even homemade whipped cream dolloped on top.
- Use a different cake pan: you can make this olive oil loaf cake in a different shape pan if you want - an 8-inch square or round pan would be great.
Store it in an air-tight container either at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
You can! Wrap each individual piece in cling wrap then put in a freezer-safe bag. Can freeze for up to 3 months. Reheating is easiest in the microwave for a minute or two depending on the strength of your microwave.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that, because it is still cake. However, butter is much higher in saturated fats than olive oil, so it is a good swap. More details on butter vs. olive oil here.
No! It's actually nice and mild but provides such a nice earthy-ness and moist texture.
More citrus baking recipes
Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temp
- 1 tablespoon blood orange zest about 1 orange worth
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup blood orange juice about 4 oranges
- ½ cup whole milk room temp
- 1 tablespoon blood orange juice about ½ an orange - 1 orange
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 325℉ and line and grease a loaf pan.
- In a mixing bowl mix together the orange zest with the granulated sugar with your hands until very fragrant.
- Whisk the eggs into the orange sugar until fully combined.
- To the same bowl whisk in the blood orange juice, milk, and extra virgin olive oil until well combined.
- Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet - the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
- Pour the batter into a lined and greased loaf pan and bake at 325℉ for 60-70 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Mix together the powdered sugar and blood orange juice to make a smooth glaze. When the cake is cooled to room temperature, pour the glaze evenly over the top.