Blood Orange Cake

Blood Orange Cake (3)

Whenever March rolls around, my kitchen tends to go a little blood orange mad. They are a fascinating fruit, equally delicious in a salad as they are on their own or in a sweet bake. Largely a result of their tart quality, their versatility is almost unparalleled – a statement my recipe for Blood Orange Cake will hopefully bear testament to.

Adding fresh fruit to a cake can be a difficult decision. The one thing you always want to avoid when making a cake is jeopardising a light, airy sponge. Juice is therefore inherently counter-productive. It makes things soggy. Strawberries make a great filling because they aren’t juicy in the same way oranges are – there’s no drip.

By layering the oranges on top of cream cheese any problems concerning excess moisture immediately evaporate. It forms a makeshift protective layer, which counteracts the effects of gravity and seals in the refreshing juice of the fruit. For me, this blood orange cake with its light sponge and fresh filling captures the very essence of spring.

Blood Orange Cake

Blood Orange Cake

Makes 1 20cm Sandwich Cake


  • 3 large eggs

  • salted butter*

  • caster sugar*

  • self-raising flour*

  • the zest and flesh of 1 blood orange

  • 300g full-fat cream cheese

  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

* The quantity of butter, sugar and flour should each be the same as the weight of the eggs.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C(fan) and line your 20cm sandwich tins. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  2. Beat in the eggs one by one and fold in the flour and most of the orange zest. Spoon equal amounts of the cake batter into each sandwich tin.

  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  4. Prepare your icing by quickly beating together the cream cheese and icing sugar. Spread half the icing on the lower half of the cake and layer with slices of blood orange.

  5. Coat the top half of your cake with the remaining cream cheese icing and place gently atop the bottom half. Sprinkle over the remaining orange zest for decoration and serve in only large portions.

Blood Orange Cake (1) Blood Orange Cake (2)

Cost: Blood oranges aren’t an expensive fruit; at this time of year a bag of 4 should set you back around £1. As such, my divine recipe for Blood Orange Cake should set you back no more than £3.50. Cake needn’t be expensive!

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37 comments on “Blood Orange Cake

  1. cookinginsens
    March 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    No cake for me but this sounds and looks fabulous!

  2. Chad
    March 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Looks great. Glad to see someone else with the fondness for blood oranges; most of the time I use them for reductions- can’t go wrong with cake though 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you – I’ll have to give them a go in other ways too!

  3. Karla @ Foodologie
    March 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Love this. I don’t come around blood oranges too often around here and when I do they’re far more expensive than naval oranges (probably bc we grow so many here in California). But when I lived in Rome blood oranges were everywhere! They’re absolutely amazing.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      That’s a shame. You could definitely just make this with normal oranges.

  4. Fiona
    March 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    This cake looks terrific! Can I ask what sort of cream cheese you used, I’ve not had a lot of luck with cream/soft cheese as a filling or topping, it always goes wet and sloppy and ends up more of a pouring consistency once beatten and mixed with anything else??

    • frugalfeeding
      March 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you! It was full fat from Aldi (really tasty cream cheese). Definitely make sure it’s full fat.

  5. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    March 12, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    So pretty! That’s the sort of cake to make nanna proud! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 16, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Haha indeed! MY Gran made such great cakes too.

  6. cheri
    March 13, 2014 at 3:46 am

    What a gorgeous cake, looks like spring!

  7. myfangalicious
    March 13, 2014 at 5:28 am

    beautiful! love this

  8. cheergerm
    March 13, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Love blood oranges, for the short time we see them. Would love to try baking this gluten free one day. (Or maybe I will bake it for myself and scoff the whole lot….)

  9. Korena in the Kitchen
    March 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    This looks wonderful! I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’ve never had a blood orange – I see them in the store and think, “Oh, cool,” but never know what to do with them… now I know!

  10. Conor Bofin
    March 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I am far too fond of cake. This looks delicious.

  11. Gabby @ the veggie nook
    March 13, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    I have a blood orange in my fridge right now…I feel inspired!

  12. Gillie
    March 16, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Blood oranges are a family favourite. I’ve just made a yoghurt cake to use up a failed batch of yoghurt so this will have to wait until the hordes have gobbled up the current cake. Have you made blood orange marmalade? It tastes delicious and the colour is just divine.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      I’ll definitely add blood orange marmalade to the list, but it might have to wait until next year 😀

  13. movita beaucoup
    March 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Cream cheese as a moisture barrier = brilliant.

    It’s raining here today, so…

    • frugalfeeding
      March 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Kind of obvious I guess, but it worked. 😀 – I’ve been enjoying the sun here for once…

  14. Michelle
    March 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    What a lovely cake. I can’t resist the blood oranges either.

  15. Chica Andaluza
    March 17, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Looks and sounds absolutely amazing – love oranges and it’s now orange season in Andalucia!

  16. DellaCucinaPovera
    May 21, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    This looks like the perfect afternoon snack – I love the layers of icing here!

  17. odelleasmith
    February 2, 2015 at 5:04 am

    The beauty of blood oranges they’re so very appealing, pretty, with their unmistakable red coloring shining through, reminding us all that Spring has arrived (or should have).
    I’m loving your cake, it’s sweetness & light, even better with the cream-cheese icing that I do like very much.
    Made two, froze one of them with out icing for later, not that cake lasts for very long in our house.
    Gorgeous cake, we all enjoyed it, as we always do, many thanks for a great post Nick.
    Odelle Smith. (U.K.)

    • frugalfeeding
      February 2, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      I can forgive winter in February. Looking forward to March though. Thank you!

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