Blood Orange Cake

This beautifully easy Sicilian blood orange cake recipe is made with whole oranges and it’s gluten-free and dairy-free.

This blood orange cake recipe is super simple to make with the most basic ingredients.

It’s loaded with citrus flavour and it’s made without flour, butter or oil, making it completely gluten-free and dairy-free.  

If you have been following The Petite Cook for a while, you know I love making free-from desserts (such as my magic water cakeflourless Nutella brownies, or these vegan and gluten-free cookies).

This flourless orange cake is no exception, and makes a fantastic allergy-friendly dessert, no matter the occasion!

Jump to:
slice of blood orange cake.

WHOLE ORANGE CAKE

This unique blood orange cake is inspired by a traditional Sicilian dessert called Pan d’arancio, which translates to “orange bread” in Italian.

It has an intense citrus flavour, because the cake batter includes whole oranges.

You boil the oranges, then blitz them in the food processor, rind and all, with the remaining ingredients to make the batter.   

So, you’re basically making a zero-waste cake!

INGREDIENT TIPS

All you need to make this Sicilian blood orange cake is just 5 ingredients:

blood orange cake ingredients: eggs, sugar, almond flour, blood oranges, vanilla, baking powder.
  • Oranges: Since you’re using the rind and all, go for unwaxed organic oranges and wash them well before use. You can use blood oranges, cara cara oranges or normal oranges.
  • Almond flour: You can use almond flour (made with blanched almonds) or almond meal (made with raw almonds).
  • Sugar: muscovado sugar, light raw cane sugar, regular sugar they all work fine here.
  • Eggs: Use Free-range medium-large eggs, they’re about 55 – 60g / 2 oz each.
  • Baking powder: Make sure you’re using gluten-free baking powder if you have dietary restrictions.
  • Vanilla extract: totally optional, you can add a teaspoon of vanilla extra for extra flavour.

DECORATION

Just like many Italian cakes, this is one of those simple cakes that doesn’t really need decorations.

However, if you want to impress your guests, here are a few topping options:

  • Simple glaze: made with confectioner’s sugar and blood orange juice. Cut the sugar in the cake recipe by 1 tablespoon, so that it’s not too sweet.
  • Mascarpone frosting: made with mascarpone cheese, this is my favorite cake frostings and works really well if you want your cake super rich and decadent.
  • Confectioner’s sugar: a little dust of confectioner’s sugar is the most simple way to decorate the cake without affecting its flavour.
  • Almonds: toasted slivered almonds make an excellent topping, to make them stick, brush the surface of the cake with a thin layer of orange jam or greek yogurt.

HOW TO MAKE BLOOD ORANGE CAKE

This super easy citrus dessert is ready in 4 simple steps and with really little effort.

*Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe*

orange cake recipe step by step images: 1 boiled blood oranges, 2 halved oranges in a food processor, 3 pureed oranges in the food processor, 4 cake batter, 5 pureed oranges added into the cake batter, 6 baked cake with glaze on top.

STEP 1 – Place blood oranges in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 50 minutes and drain.

STEP 2 –  Cut the oranges in half, remove any seeds, then place them in a food processor.

STEP 3 –  Blitz the oranges until they’re pureed, about 1 minute.

STEP 4 –  Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

STEP 5 –  Add the pureed oranged into the bowl with the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Add in almond flour, baking powder, sugar, and optional vanilla and whisk until combined.

STEP 6-  Pour the batter into a cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes until the cake is set and the surface is golden.

Once the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool, top it with the glaze and serve.

slice of sicilian blood orange cake.

BAKING TIPS

  • You can boil the oranges the night before, drain them, and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Proceed with the recipe the next day.
  • Orange’s size may vary, so opt for a scale to make sure you have enough. You don’t need to be extra precise, anything between 350g to 400g of oranges is okay.
  • I used a large 25 cm/10” pan, for a taller cake use a 23cm/9″ cake pan or 20cm / 8″ cake pan.
  • Once baked, cool the cake in the pan – it’s too delicate to remove it while it’s warm.
  • Store your prepared cake in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 5 days. If your pantry is warm, then it’s recommended to keep in the fridge.

RECIPE FAQs

CAN I USE CLEMENTINES INSTEAD OF ORANGES?

Yes, absolutely. You can use mandarins, tangerines or clementines, simply follow my clementine cake recipe.

CAN I FREEZE THIS CAKE?

Yes! It freezes beautifully!
Let the baked cake cool completely, and then wrap it in plastic wrap whole or wrap individual slices.
Then store it in an airtight container or in ziplock bags, it keeps well in the freezer for up to 1 month.
To defrost, place it in the fridge overnight. Once it has completely defrosted, pour the glaze (if using) over the top.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE ALMOND FLOUR?

You may substitute blanched almond flour with almond flour (ground raw almonds). Your cake will be a little darker because almond meal has bits of almond skin in it.
Do not substitute almond flour with all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, coconut flour, or any other kind of regular flour, as the recipe won’t work.

italian orange cake.

MORE ITALIAN DESSERT RECIPES TO TRY

Looking for more sweet recipes? Try these traditional Italian desserts:

DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?

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📖 RECIPE

blood orange cake.

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5 from 4 votes

This beautifully easy Sicilian blood orange cake recipe is made with whole oranges and it’s gluten-free and dairy-free.

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time50 mins

Boiling time50 mins

Total Time1 hr 45 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Italian

Serving: 9

Calories: 337kcal

Ingredients

  • 375 g blood oranges, approx. 2 medium-sized ones
  • 6 medium-large eggs
  • 225 g sugar
  • 250 g almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest or vanilla extract, optional

For the glaze:

  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon blood orange juice

Instructions

  • Place theblood oranges in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 50 minutes and drain.

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC/160°C Fan/360ºF. Grease and line with parchment paper a 20cm / 8-inch cake tin. Arrange a baking rack onto the middle shelf of the oven.

  • Once cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any seeds, then place them in the bowl of a food processor and blend until pureed and creamy, about 1 minute.

  • In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and pale, about 3 minutes.

  • Pour the blended oranges into the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Add in the almond flour, baking powder and orange zest or vanilla, if using. Whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes until the surface is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. After 40 minutes, you might need to cover the cake with foil to prevent the surface from browning too much.

  • Remove the pan from the oven and arrange it over a cooling rack, but leave the cake in the pan to cool.

  • Mix the glaze ingredients until you have a thick but spreadable glaze. Pour it over the top of the blood orange cake and serve.

Notes

  • To make things quicker, boil the oranges the night before, drain them, and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Proceed with the recipe the next day.
  • Orange sizes may vary, so opt for a scale to make sure you have enough. You don’t need to be extra precise, anything between 350 g to 400 g of oranges will be okay.
  • You can use a 23cm/9″ cake pan or if you want the cake a bit taller, go for a 20cm / 8″ cake pan.
  • Once baked, cool the cake in the pan – it’s too delicate to remove it while it’s warm.
  • Store your prepared cake in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 5 days, though if your pantry is warm, then it’s recommended to keep it in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 254IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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