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SEASONAL RECIPES

Recipe: Rosy blood orange juice stars in this olive oil loaf cake with pistachios

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake.
Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake.Sally Pasley Vargas

Makes 1 large loaf

A moist, tender cake loaf made with olive oil, blood oranges, and sweet sherry celebrates the dark, rosy-fleshed citrus. In addition to giving the loaf an impressive shelf life, olive oil imparts a subtle depth of flavor when paired with the orange rind and juice. If you miss blood orange season, make this cake with navel oranges all year. Blood oranges tend to have less juice than navels, so count on buying at least three blood oranges for this cake, two if you're using navels. It can be made quickly with little more than a whisk and a bowl. While the cake bakes, prep a simple sugar-citrus-butter glaze and 10 minutes after the loaf comes out of the oven, spoon the glaze over the cake and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. The cake is only mildly sweet, so put it on the breakfast table, have a slice after dinner, or satisfy a craving during a late-afternoon slump. Who doesn't have one of those lately?

CAKE

Canola oil (for the pan)
cups flour
2teaspoons baking powder
¾teaspoon salt
Finely grated rind of 2 blood oranges
cups sugar
3 eggs
¾cup mild olive oil
¼cup blood orange juice
cup sweet sherry

1. Set oven at 350 degrees. Brush a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with a very light layer of olive oil. Line the bottom and 2 long sides of the pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Set a rack inside a baking sheet (to glaze the cake later).

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt until blended.

3. In another bowl that will hold all the ingredients, use your fingers to work the orange rind into the sugar until it is saturated with rind.

4. Add the eggs to the rind and whisk for about 45 seconds, or until mixture lightens in color. Whisk in the olive oil, orange juice, and sherry until incorporated.

5. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.

6. Bake for 1 hour. Check the cake. If the top is already browned, tent it with foil. Continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (Total baking time is 70 to 75 minutes.) Set the pan on the wire rack; cool for 10 minutes.

GLAZE

½cup sugar
¼cup blood orange juice
Pinch of salt
1tablespoon unsalted butter, cut up
¼cup chopped unsalted green pistachios

1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir the sugar, orange juice, salt, and butter. Cook, stirring, until the syrup comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, or until the sugar dissolves and the glaze is clear and syrupy. Cool briefly.

2. Remove the cake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Set the cake right-side up on the rack (inside the baking sheet). Use a spoon to drizzle the cake with the glaze and sprinkle with pistachios. Cool completely before slicing.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Makes 1 large loaf

A moist, tender cake loaf made with olive oil, blood oranges, and sweet sherry celebrates the dark, rosy-fleshed citrus. In addition to giving the loaf an impressive shelf life, olive oil imparts a subtle depth of flavor when paired with the orange rind and juice. If you miss blood orange season, make this cake with navel oranges all year. Blood oranges tend to have less juice than navels, so count on buying at least three blood oranges for this cake, two if you're using navels. It can be made quickly with little more than a whisk and a bowl. While the cake bakes, prep a simple sugar-citrus-butter glaze and 10 minutes after the loaf comes out of the oven, spoon the glaze over the cake and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. The cake is only mildly sweet, so put it on the breakfast table, have a slice after dinner, or satisfy a craving during a late-afternoon slump. Who doesn't have one of those lately?

CAKE

Canola oil (for the pan)
cups flour
2teaspoons baking powder
¾teaspoon salt
Finely grated rind of 2 blood oranges
cups sugar
3 eggs
¾cup mild olive oil
¼cup blood orange juice
cup sweet sherry

1. Set oven at 350 degrees. Brush a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with a very light layer of olive oil. Line the bottom and 2 long sides of the pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Set a rack inside a baking sheet (to glaze the cake later).

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt until blended.

3. In another bowl that will hold all the ingredients, use your fingers to work the orange rind into the sugar until it is saturated with rind.

4. Add the eggs to the rind and whisk for about 45 seconds, or until mixture lightens in color. Whisk in the olive oil, orange juice, and sherry until incorporated.

5. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.

6. Bake for 1 hour. Check the cake. If the top is already browned, tent it with foil. Continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (Total baking time is 70 to 75 minutes.) Set the pan on the wire rack; cool for 10 minutes.

GLAZE

½cup sugar
¼cup blood orange juice
Pinch of salt
1tablespoon unsalted butter, cut up
¼cup chopped unsalted green pistachios

1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir the sugar, orange juice, salt, and butter. Cook, stirring, until the syrup comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, or until the sugar dissolves and the glaze is clear and syrupy. Cool briefly.

2. Remove the cake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Set the cake right-side up on the rack (inside the baking sheet). Use a spoon to drizzle the cake with the glaze and sprinkle with pistachios. Cool completely before slicing.Sally Pasley Vargas