It’s quite funny how seasonal fruit works sometimes – citrus is a major fruit I crave during the warmer months, but yet it’s only at its peak during winter. While this is great for a Vitamin C boost in the midst of cold and flu season, lemons are dear when squeezed over fresh seafood and salads, and limes are precious when added to iced drinks.
I have never really dealt much with blood oranges until recently, where I made a blood orange sauce to go with my second-round audition dish for Masterchef Australia a couple of weeks ago, and when I made this rather spectacular cake. The Sister had been grocery shopping one weekend and presented me with a couple of blood oranges to experiment with. I was enchanted when I sliced into them – some completely uniform in their ruby-rich colour, and some more orange (heh) but with bruise-like spots and patches of purple hue interspersed throughout the flesh.
After having a look online, I found this recipe by Not Quite Nigella and immediately fell in love with how it looked. Thin slices of blood orange laid out over the base of a springform pan, followed by a moist, almond meal cake and then brushed with a blood orange sugar syrup to give it a beautiful hue and gloss. The almond meal cake is particularly fluffy and buttery,but unfortunately not gluten-free – however if you wanted to make a gluten-free almond meal batter, it would be quite easy. The addition of some Greek yoghurt to the batter gives the cake a deliciously moist texture, balancing out the richness of the butter creamed into it.
For the oranges, you will need:
- 2 blood oranges, sliced thinly using a mandolin or a sharp knife;
- 1 cup caster sugar;
- 1/2 cup water.
For the cake, you will need:
- 200g unsalted butter;
- 200g caster sugar;
- 3 eggs;
- 200g/2 cups almond meal;
- 1/2 cup plain flour;
- 2 teaspoons baking powder;
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt.
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Line a 25cm springform cake tin with baking paper in one piece folding down the sides.
In a saucepan, place the water and the sugar and stir on a low to medium heat until dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the blood orange slices. Once boiling, simmer for 10-15 minutes until the peels become sem-translucent. Remove the orange slices with a slotted spoon and boil the syrup until it becomes slightly thicker. Cool the oranges on a sheet of baking paper until they are fine to handle by hand.
Brush the sides of the prepared tin using some of the syrup to help the baking paper stick to it. Lay down a layer of orange slices on the base of the pan and then around the sides, brushing with more syrup to help them stick. You may want to cut a slice or two into segments to form a line around what will be the bottom edge of the cake. Reserve the syrup to brush over the cake once baked.
Using a handheld or standing electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy and add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the almond meal, flour, baking powder, and yoghurt and mix until just combined.
Carefully spoon into the prepared tin, making sure that you don’t dislodge the orange slices. Smooth the top and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes; the longer you leave it in the tin, the more stable the cake will hold.
Time for the reveal…. place a plate over the top of the cake pan and carefully flip….
Success!! It was dinnertime by the time I finished making the cake (as I started around 5pm or so), so I waited until the next morning so that I’d have a good amount of natural daylight to photograph the cake with. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the reserved glaze, and serve with double cream or thick yoghurt. So delish on its own too 🙂
Night Owl had two slices for her breakfast when I took it over on Sunday. Bless xx