Blood Orange Cake Loaf
A super buttery loaf cake meets citrus notes of blood orange to make a delicious and addicting cake. Topped with a gorgeously vibrant blood orange glaze.
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I've teamed up with Harmons Grocery Store to bring you a delicious and bright citrus treat for the winter. Citrus fruit, in all its varieties, are staple in the winter. Interesting that in the months where we need more vitamin C and D, citrus fruit answers that call.
And at Harmons they are dedicated to selling from local producers, so you sure to be getting produce right from your area.
When I start recipe testing I always think of the feeling or emotion I want to convey through the bake. With this collaboration I wanted to develop a sweet loaf cake that was bright, citrusy and full of color. Enter blood orange from Harmons Grocery. Blood oranges are sweet, a little tart and FULL of color (yay vitamins). We will use the whole orange for this recipe to really capitalize on citrus flavor.
This blood orange loaf cake starts with sugar that has been emulsified with blood orange zest (basically what you are going to do is grate your orange rind directly into granulated sugar and rub the zest and sugar together till you get the consistency of wet sand.) What this does is release the oils in the orange zest creating a fuller and more powerful orange flavor.
"Desserts are the fairytales of the kitchen - a happily-ever-after to supper." - Teri Guillemets
Okay let me take a quick second to say, winter can be very dull, in more ways than one. So I often look for ways to bring a little sunshine or happiness into my life. And sometimes that looks like baking a delicious treat in a beautiful pan. Thank you to my Aunt Kathy for this super thoughtful gift. This pan is by Nordic Ware and it is truly so beautiful.
Okay now back to cake.
From there the cake method is very simple. Cream the butter and emulsified sugar together till light and fluffy. You are looking for this to turn a light pale color and for the sugar to go silent (meaning you no longer hear the sugar granule scrapping the bowl) This take about 3 minutes if your using a hand or stand mixer on medium high speed. Once it's at this fluffy, pale color stage you can add your eggs and mix again, for another 3 minutes until it gets light and fluffy all over again.
This next part is kind of fun. Lets squeeze some blood orange juice into the batter. The color is so vibrant and beautiful, a simple joy again but something that is sure to put a smile on your face. The batter is pretty densely white so it wont change the color much but just wait till we make the glaze and see how pink the blood orange juice makes it.
Lets talk about how to pick out a good blood orange. Like any orange you want it to be tender but not squishy for best taste. For bright color I look for patches of deep red pigment on the skin. This indicates that the flesh will also be deeper color. If you want a deep pink color for the glaze look for red patches.
Now for some baking Science:
Whisk this into the batter with baking powder and salt. There is so much acid in this cake from the blood orange zest and juice it won't need much leavening. Baking soda needs an acidic component to activate it and make the bake rise. However, baking powder already has a acidic element and doesn't need anything more that liquid to get it to rise. If you are at a higher elevation the amount of leavening used may need to be adjusted. If there is too much baking soda/ baking powder it will cause the bake to rise faster than it can set, which will then cause it to sink in the center. Reducing the leavening even by 1/4 tsp will help tremendously.
With a bake like this I like to alternate adding in flour and the liquid. This helps the cake from getting too dense and keeps a very pretty crumb. I advise adding the flour into the batter in sections. After you add the blood orange juice, fold in half of the flour till mostly combined. Then add in milk, folding in till just combined. Finish with the last of the flour and mix just till combined.
Once you add the flour try not to over mix. Flour (regardless the type) is made up of gluten proteins that create strong bonds when mixed with liquid. The more you mix the strong the bonds become making a denser/chewier bake.
With that lets get to the recipe. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. This cake is so bright and flavorful. It was as fun to look at as it was to eat.
Blood Orange Loaf Cake
1 c (2 sticks) soft unsalted butter
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 TBSP blood orange zest (zest of 1 medium orange)
1 c juice of blood orange (2 medium oranges)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 c all purpose flour
1/4 c milk
For the glaze:
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c blood orange juice (juice from 1 orange)
Preheat oven to 350f (180c). Prepare a 9x5 loaf pan by spraying with avocado oil and sprinkling with granulated sugar. Set aside.
To a small mixing bowl add 1 1/2 c sugar and 2 TBSP blood orange zest. using your hands rub the zest into the sugar till it has the consistency of wet sand. This releases oils from the zest creating a more powerful citrus flavor.
To a medium mixing bowl add butter and sugar mixture. Cream together for about 3 minutes till fluffy and turn a light pale color. Add in eggs and mix again for another 3 minutes getting it back to that fluffy texture and pale color. Add in salt and baking powder and mix till combined. Then add in blood orange juice and whisk together.
Add half the flour folding into the batter. Alternate adding in the milk and mix just till combined. Add the rest of the flour and fold in gently being sure not over mix (for more information on this be sure to read the post)
Add batter to your loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Once it is fully baked (poke with a metal prong if soft crumbs come out it is done) take out of the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning the loaf out of the pan. I love this trick for a clean release every time. Let cake cool completely before adding glaze.
While cake cools mix together the powdered sugar and blood orange. You want it to be the consistency of Elmer's glue. Add more powdered sugar to thicken it and more blood orange juice to make it thinner. Por on top of cooled cake. Slice and enjoy. I especially love this recipe for a Sunday brunch or lazy Saturday morning.