The sun-kissed hues of winter citrus can turn the dreariest of winter days into a pure ray of sunshine.,,,and blood oranges are the brightest of rays.☀️ January was a loooong dreary month here in Pennsylvania with only 4 days of sun making everyone rather sad and grumpy – but thanks to these little beauties, the sun shone brightly in my kitchen. Blood oranges are in season! Their beautiful vibrant flesh can’t help but bring a smile to your face. (Just look at that photo below – made you smile I hope! 😊)
We have been making blood orange cocktails, roasted salmon with blood oranges, and winter lettuces brightened with blood orange vinaigrette…so it was no surprise that this week when I was tasked with bringing dessert to a winter party, it featured this sunny citrus. Olive oil cakes are also a go-to for me when a dessert is needed and wanting something a little more ‘adult’, I decided to add some Campari to the cake and also pair it with a simple Campari blood orange syrup to up the ante. (The syrup is *completely* optional but adds a nice kick. And super easy to make….go for it!) The olive oil cake had a slight hint of bitterness from the Campari which was the perfect note against the grassy olive oil in the cake and the sweetness of the blood oranges. What a happy dessert!
This cake is super easy to make – not quite one bowl which is always a goal – but close. The most difficult task is cutting the blood orange into slices – and it isn’t that difficult just a tiny bit time-consuming. If you haven’t cut an orange into slices before, I included a few photos below – cut off the ends, slice off the peel and pith, and cut your orange into slices. Easy!
As for that Campari-blood orange syrup, you simply simmer the blood orange juice with a bit of sugar, and in about 15 minutes (depending on the size of your pan), you have a slightly thickened syrup that is delicious drizzled over the slices of cake.
So…. if you need a winter cake to brighten the day, give this one a go and let us know if you do!
Wishing everyone a sunny February – spring is not far behind! 💃🏻
Stay sunny! ☀️
xx Michele ♥️
This sunny and bright blood orange olive oil cake will brighten any winter’s day. The Campari blood orange syrup provides that extra kick!
For the blood orange topping:
- Extra-virgin olive oil for greasing the pan
- 5–6 blood oranges (1 tablespoon zest plus slices for top of cake)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup Campari
- ¼ cup blood orange juice
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup whole milk
For the syrup:
- 1 cup blood orange juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Campari
Equipment: 9-inch springform pan
- Arrange your oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, coat the bottom and the sides of the springform pan with oil. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Coat the paper with oil.
- Prepare the blood orange top: Zest 1 blood orange so you have about 1 tablespoon of orange zest for the cake. Set aside.
- Using a sharp knife, cut about an inch off each end of the orange. You now have two flat ends on the orange. Set the orange on one end and following the curve of the orange, carefully cut off the peel and pith. Set the orange on its side and slice the orange into ¼ inch rounds. Repeat with the remaining oranges. Arrange the oranges in overlapping concentric circles on the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Cover up any gaps by cutting up a slice to fill in the gaps. Sprinkle with the sugar. Place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside while you make the cake. (I like to use a baking sheet underneath just in case there are any drips from the pan.)
- Mix the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate small bowl, stir together the Campari, blood orange juice, and reserved orange zest.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment), beat the eggs and sugar together until light, thick, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the oil in small batches and beat until incorporated another 2 minutes. Add in the Campari-blood orange juice mixture and the milk. Mix until just incorporated.
- Gradually add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan with the orange slices. Transfer the baking sheet and cake to the oven and bake until the center is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
- While the cake is baking, make the syrup: Combine the blood orange juice, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. (WATCH closely so the mixture does not boil over.) Cook until the mixture is reduced to about ½ cup and slightly thickened, about 15 minutes depending on the size of your pan. Stir in the Campari and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
- Let the cake cool for about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Carefully remove the outer ring. Invert the cake onto a serving plate and peel away the parchment paper. Serve with the delicious syrup on the side. Enjoy!