At least in the UK, February marks the beginning of the blood orange craze. While the availability window for this wonderfully sweet fruit is quite extended, lasting from late December well into May, the UK market seems to be pushing it only throughout February, meaning you won’t easily find blood oranges once you’re past that deadline. And 2016 is a leap year, which means even less days at your disposal. Therefore, better to make the most of it while it lasts. The idea behind this recipe comes from the BBC Good Food magazine, where it appeared as ‘Blood orange, blossom and pomegranate cake‘. As I usually do, I fiddled around with the recipe and this is my variation on the theme.
I find that using both sugar and honey in a cake batter makes the final result much denser and less light than it would normally be. Therefore, in my recipe I swapped honey with the same amount of light brown sugar, which still provides sweetness but also lends that slight caramel-y taste. Also, as I could not come across pomegranates and did not want to have to tour shops and markets (my life tends to be pretty hectic nowadays), I used pomegranate juice instead. This cake will keep quite well and, as a matter of fact, the taste will intensify as the days go by. It’s a very easy recipe and you all know I have a soft spot for upside-down cakes!
- 6 blood oranges, 3 whole, juice of 3
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g light brown sugar + 2 tbsp
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 200g plain flour
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 140g full-fat Greek yogurt
- 100ml pomegranate juice
- dried rose petals (optional)
- Place one of the whole oranges in a saucepan and pour in enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes. Drain and allow the fruit to cool down. Once cold, slice it in half to remove any pips, then whiz in a food processor until you have a smooth paste/purée.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Grease the base and sides and line the base of a 23cm round springform tin with baking parchment. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp light brown sugar onto the base.
- Slice the remaining two whole oranges into very thin slices, then arrange them on the base of the tin, following the pattern you most like. This will be the top of your cake once it’s finished.
- To make the batter, cream the butter, the remaining light brown sugar and 200g of the golden caster sugar in a freestanding mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, then slowly add the eggs, flour, baking powder, ground almonds and yogurt. Mix well until combined, then pour in the puréed orange and mix it in with a rubber spatula, trying not to deflate the mixture too much.
- Pour into the prepared tin, onto the orange slices, and bake for about 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool almost completely before removing it from the tin.
- In the meantime, place the orange juice, pomegranate juice and the 100g remaining sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, then cook until reduced to a lovely syrup. Don’t be tempted to leave this and go about the house as it may overflow. Once ready, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Once you are ready, remove the cake from the tin, place a dish over the top (which really is the base) and flip the cake upside down. Gently peel off the base of the tin and the parchment paper, then drizzle the reddish syrup all over the cake, using a brush or a rubber spatula to spread it over. Save the remaining syrup to serve the cake with. Sprinkle some dried rose petals on top (optional), decorate with a few more blood orange slices, serve and enjoy!