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blood orange cake

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Blood orange olive oil cake

Is there a finite number of different cake recipes in the world? I bet not. My knowledge of cakey things is cringingly limited, centred around the western cuisines, and even in those there are new recipes to discover every day.

Whenever it looks like I’ve just about run out, baked it all and iced the lot, one quick Google search or a browse through the recipe books I have at home shows me clearly that there are so many cakes, so little time. There are things I’ve been meaning to make for ages and somehow can’t get round to them: meringue roulade, raspberry cheesecake or the black forest thing - to name only a few. And there are the tried and tested on which I’ve yet to inflict twists or combinations of my own.

That’s fantastic, one might say - every week something new. Ah, but it also means our faithful favourites like browniegateau Breton or the soft fruit variations are not made every couple of months, like they used to be in my private baking times. The Weather Man and I miss them - especially when the new things turn out NOT SO GOOD.

This cake sounded appealing: the olive oil in the mix and the blood orange zest, with chunks of orange baked in the mix. But the chunks made the cake impossibly soggy; the blood oranges lost their blush and turned plain orange colour for some reason; and the olive oil? Meh.

I’ve made corrections to the recipe below so it’s a nice enough cake now. Not a patch on brownie though.

  • INGREDIENTS
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 200g caster sugar
  • buttermilk or plain yogurt, about 100ml
  • 3 large eggs
  • 220g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 160ml extra virgin olive oil

METHOD
Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

Orange zest

Zest two of the oranges and add the zest to a bowl with sugar, rub it into the sugar with your fingers until it disappears into the sugar. Fillet the zested oranges by cutting off top and bottom, running the knife along the sides to remove all skin and pith, then insert the knife close to the membrane to cut out the skinless segments. Place them in a bowl and divide each segment into very small pieces, ½ cm.

Filleting an orange
Juice the third orange (there will be about ¼ cup juice) and top it with buttermilk to get 160ml liquid. Add it to the orange sugar and mix in well. Add the eggs and whisk them in, then add the flour with the baking powder, soda and salt and whisk in until combined. Add the olive oil little by little and whisk it in. Using a spatula, fold in the orange pieces.

Blood orange cake mix
Pour the mixture into the tin – it will be very runny – and bake for 1 hour – 1 ¼ hour until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. It’s good to place the tin on a preheated baking sheet in the oven - to help it bake through from the bottom.  Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then unmould and cool completely on a wire rack.

Iced orange cake
If you’d like to ice it, beat juice of half a blood orange into 80g icing sugar until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake and spread with a palette knife.

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