Astonishing that these brightly coloured fruit are at their best during the bleakest of months. If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting these little gems, I highly recommend you do. With a tart-sweet flavour and ruby-red juice they are wonderful to cook with too.
There are three main varieties, Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello, which is often juiced. This year I stumbled across Ippolito, a larger, sweeter variety with an intensely coloured flesh. Whichever you choose, try to find organic, or be prepared to spend a little time scrubbing the wax off because the bitterness of the skin is an essential part of this cake’s distinctive flavour profile. I’ve also dowsed this cake with a fruity caramel to make it dazzle.
This variety of blood orange is called Ippolito and originates in Italy. It has a short season with February being the best time to find it in the UK.
Blood Orange & Almond Cake
- 3 blood oranges small
- 3 eggs large
- 140 g golden caster sugar
- 90 g plain flour
- 100 g ground almond
- 1 tsp ginger ground
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50 g butter melted
- Orange Syrup
- 1 blood orange juice of
- 100 g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 155°C fan. Grease the sides of a 20 cm cake tin (not springform) then cut a disc of baking parchment for the bottom. Very finely slice 2 oranges and place them, over-lapping one another in the base of the tin.
- Place one orange in a small saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for approximately one hour or until very soft. Remove from the water and allow to cool a little. Cut in half, remove any pips. Chop it all up very fine, it will be quite mushy. Scoop it all up and place into a bowl.
- For the orange caramel: Juice the remaining orange and have it ready to add to the sugar. Take the sugar and place into a saucepan. Heat until it starts turning to a medium caramel colour, swirling the pan to help dissolve the sugar. Swiftly add the orange juice, it will bubble and spit so be careful. Now bring it back to a boil, to dissolve the caramel that has set, stir as you heat. Once dissolved carefully pour over the sliced oranges.
- Combine all of the dry ingredients, set to one side. Beat the eggs with the sugar in a bowl with an electric whisk or in a free standing mixer until really thick, light and fluffy, takes about 5 minutes. Now fold in the dry ingredients along with the melted butter and finally the orange pulp.
- Pour the batter on top of the oranges in the cake tin and place in the oven immediately. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is firm in the centre and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Transfer the cake to a plate. Serve with Greek yogurt or creme fraiche.