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Blood Orange Cake

I have a confession to make… I imagined, long ago, that blood oranges were wounded. You know, bleeding, and that they’d taste (pardon me) the way a cut on your finger would taste; salty and rather bloody, if you know what I mean. It didn’t occur to me that in reality, they taste much like… flowers? Yep flowers… rosy and floral amidst all that citrus. Since my first taste, I had become both fascinated and obsessed with them and their gorgeous marbled red-orange coloured flesh.

The blood oranges in Cairo this season are intense! So red, so rosy, and so succulent that its impossible not to take advantage and make something :)

Now, there are a billion versions of blood orange cake out there. Most use ground cardamom, or almond meal. I don’t like to complicate things, so I’ve stuck to a very simple recipe here, where nothing overpowers the rosy citrus of these oranges! As delicious as it looks, as beautiful as it smells… make this cake while they’re still in season!



  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 3 blood oranges, thinly sliced

  • (reserve syrup)


  • 200g butter

  • 200g sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups corn meal / flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 1/2 cup yogurt


  • Prepare your pan — line with a circle oven dish (preferably non-stick) with parchment paper, and spray generously with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 200.C, and set pan aside.

  • Dissolve sugar in water in a large saucepan over the stove. Once boiled, drop blood orange slices in, and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes until the skin is transluscent, and the water turns pink. Set aside to cool while you make the batter.

  • To make the batter, cream butter and sugar together (hand blender, or a fork will do) until creamy and light.

  • Add eggs, vanilla , yogurt, and baking powder, and mix well.

  • Add yellow corn flour (or corn meal) and mix until the batter is thick. Set aside.

  • Pick out the orange slices from the syrup, and lay them onto the parchment paper, slightly overlapping, until the parchment is completely covered. Reserve the syrup for later.

  • Pour the batter over the top, and spread evenly with a spatular.

  • Place in the oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  • Leave out to cool for 10 minutes, and then invert cake onto a serving plate. Drizzle with syrup, and serve (warm or cold). Enjoy!

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