Sicilian Blood Orange Tea Cake

Photo and recipe cred goes to Annie’s Eats.

Hey there!

This cake initially caught my eye because of its pretty pink frosting with those lovely, glossy blood orange slices on top and of course, the originality of it. You can always find recipes for lemon cakes or lemon loaves but never blood orange – the rare beauty.

I found this where you can find all of the more rare and inspirational recipes – Pinterest! I had pinned this recipe to my “Must Try” board a year ago. My “Must Try” board is where many recipes go to hibernate or die. In this case, I was waiting to find blood oranges in my local grocery store, which never happened of course. West Island :(, we need an Inter-Marché- pronto.  However, the lightbulb went on when I went over to my parent’s house the other day. My dad had just returned from an Italian grocery store with, to our dismay, mortadella, prosciutto, a large block of cheese that he’s not supposed to eat and the only healthy items – freakin’ blood oranges! Eureka! My dad is Sicilian and always buys blood oranges when he comes across them. When I told him about this recipe he, of course, gladly gave me some. I took 3. He said, “You need more?? Take more!!!”. “No, dad its fine” . “Are you sure?? Take more!” …hehe… Thanks Dad. 🙂

When I proudly sent my father the picture of the finished product, the only thing he replied was, “So the oranges were good?”  “Yes“, I replied” *sigh*

So the cake was very delicious! What a treat. Its a little dense, buttery and moist like loaf cakes are meant to be. The glaze and candied orange slices really enhance the overall experience with their beautiful hue and sweet-citrus flavour. It really has that wow-factor. As you will see in this recipe, its all natural with no artificial colours – there’s no need. Just a little bit of that intensely coloured juice goes a long way.

Blood Orange facts: The blood orange is a variety of orange with crimson, almost-blood-colored flesh. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits.  Blood oranges may have originated in either China or the Southern Mediterranean, where they have been grown since the 18th century. They are primarily grown in Italy, most commonly in Sicily. Mandarins, Valencias and navel oranges are also grown in Sicily, but the blood orange is considered particularly Sicilian, perhaps because it is not as widely cultivated in Calabria, Spain or Greece or the US.

Sicilian Blood Orange Loaf Cake

Yield: 1 loaf cake


Note: You will need about 4 blood oranges for this recipe.

For the cake:
¾ cup cake flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour (You can just use all purpose if you don’t have cake flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tbsp. grated blood orange zest
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice
16 tbsp. (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the syrup:
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

For the glaze: 
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

For the candied orange slices:
1 blood orange, preferably organic
½ cup sugar
½ cup water


  • To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, orange zest and orange juice.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the melted butter.  On low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until combined.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, again just until incorporated.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.  Bake 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and reduce the oven temperature to 325˚ F.  Continue baking 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan at least 15-20 minutes.
  • Turn the cake out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack set over a piece of parchment, foil or wax paper to protect your counter from spillage.
  • To make the orange syrup, combine the sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, cooking just until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Poke the top of the warm cake all over with a toothpick or skewer and generously brush the orange syrup over the top. (You may not use it all)
  • To make the candied orange slices, wash and dry the orange thoroughly.  Cut the orange in half lengthwise, then use a sharp serrated knife to make thin slices of orange.  Poke out any seeds in the slices with a toothpick.  Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves.  Add the orange slices to the mixture so that they are in a single layer (none overlapping), reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer about 15 minutes (This will depend on how thin they are). You may want to flip the slices over once so both sides are candied. Remove from the heat.  Store in a container or covered dish with the syrup until ready to use.
  • The Glaze – When the cake is completely cool, combine the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and whisk to blend until smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed with additional juice or confectioners’ sugar.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake and garnish with the candied orange slices.  Let stand briefly until the glaze sets.  Slice and serve.

Original recipe found on :

My photos:

Blood oranges candied simmer

Blood orange syrup , slices , frosting

Blood orange insta
I will confess that I applied my glaze while the cake was still warm and then proceeded to place the slices willy-nilly on the cake. I didn’t like the look so I kept moving them around. That’s why my cake isn’t that pretty

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