Blood Orange Pound Cake

A blood orange pound cake is one of my favorite ways to pay homage to these delectable exotic oranges. It's light, moist, and flavored with just the right amount of orange zest. The beautiful candied oranges make it a real show-stopper for any special occasion. 

It's also a dessert recipe that can be made in advance and if blood oranges are not in season you could also use Cara Cara oranges or regular oranges too. Or try my Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake or Coconut Pound Cake recipes. 

a blood orange pound cake on a white platter decorated with candied oranges
Blood Orange Pound Cake decorated with candied oranges and citrus blossoms

When are Blood Oranges in Season?

  • The blood orange season is typically December through April.
  • Blood oranges are sweeter and less acidic than regular oranges and they also have fewer pits too!
  • They also make for great juice and will create a pretty cocktail when combined with a splash of champagne!
Blood Oranges Sliced on Board in front of window
Moro blood oranges freshly picked from our trees

Why You Will Love This:

  • Pound cake is a go-to dessert for most holidays, it's moist and buttery and who can resist it? But most of us rely on the standbys like a classic Lemon Pound Cake Recipe.
  • But since pound cake is such a basic recipe, it's easy to switch up the flavors to make it more interesting like my Coconut Pound Cake Recipe.
  • Switching up the flavors makes a "predictable dessert" a little less predictable! 

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How to Get the Best Texture?

  • The best part about this cake is its texture. That's the hallmark of a great pound cake!
  • The secret lies in the beating of the butter and the sugar for at least 5-7 minutes, in order to get enough air whipped into it.
  • The mixture should look like whipped cream when you are done and be a very pale yellow, almost white. 
  • If you've had pound cakes in the past that were too dense, it's typically due to not whipping the butter and sugar long enough. No one should suffer through a dense pound cake! It's completely preventable! 

a slice of blood orange pound cake with a bite taken out showing the texture

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What Delivers the Moisture?

It's the sour cream. This is what will give you a moist pound cake. If you don't have sour cream, the next best substitute would be plain, full-fat Greek yogurt, the same quantity.

Make-Ahead Tip:

The pound cake can be made a day ahead, allow the cake to cool completely, and then cover and refrigerate. Then 1-hour before serving remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. 

a pound cake freshly baked and cooling on a cooktop

Making the Candied Oranges

  • The candied oranges are the crowning glory of this cake and really make it feel extra special.
  • It's best to make them the day you plan to serve them, but they can be done a few hours in advance and left at room temperature before decorating. 

Blood Orange Pound Cake decorated with citrus blossoms

Selecting the Oranges to Candy

  • The beautiful thing about blood oranges is the variance in colors. They can range from light orange and pink to deep red and purple.
  • You'll only need 2 oranges for this garnish, but I always buy a few more so that I can pick the most colorful slices.
  • Then I just pop the rest of the slices in the refrigerator for snacking. 

a display of blood orange slices showing the variance in color

Tips for the Best Candied Oranges

  1. Do not add the oranges until the sugar syrup is bubbling
  2. Do not crowd the oranges, simmer them in batches if needed. This will allow for the best-candied effect if you give them room to "candy"
  3. Transfer them to a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack to drain, this will prevent them from getting soggy and falling apart. 
  4. Use non-stick tongs for transferring the finished oranges to the cooling rack. They will be fragile and non-stick tongs will be more gentle than stainless steel. 

simmering blood oranges in a skillet of sugar syrup to candy them

How Many Orange Slices Do You Need?

  • You'll need about 10-12 slices to cover a 9"x5" loaf.
  • But I always simmer a few extra slices just in case I accidentally damage a few in the simmering and transferring process. Always good to have backups!

a person placing a candied orange on a drying rack

Garnishing the Cake

Once the glaze and oranges have been added, I love to add some citrus blossoms from my blood orange trees to finish it off. But not to worry if you don't have access to citrus trees, fresh mint is a great alternative.

a person garnishing a pound cake with citrus blossoms

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Blood Orange Pound Cake on a white platter

Blood Orange Pound Cake

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

A delicious blood orange pound cake recipe that is light, moist and delicious!

Ingredients

Pound Cake:

  • 1 cup butter, (240g) room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup (250g) sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon (10ml) vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon (10 ml) orange zest (from 2 blood oranges)
  • 1 ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon (10 ml) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of sour cream or plain Greek Yogurt

Candied Orange Garnish:

  • 2 blood oranges
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water

For Glaze:

  • 1 cup (100g) powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoon (45ml) blood orange juice

For Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups (480ml) heavy Cream
  • 2 tablespoon (13g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Butter and flour a 9” x 5” (23cm x 13cm) loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. At least 5-7 minutes, it should look like whipped cream! This will get you the best texture.
  3. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating in between each addition. Add vanilla and orange zest beat to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, in thirds, alternating with the sour cream, until both are incorporated.
  6. Transfer batter to the loaf pan, smooth out the top and bake for 45-50 mins until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely before releasing it from the pan. Place cake on a cooling rack, fitted into a sheet pan, to catch the glaze when the cake is frosted.
  8. For candied oranges:
  9. Slice 2 oranges into 12 orange wheels (¼” thick) each orange should give you 6 wheels.
  10. In a large sauté pan combine sugar and water, simmer mixture until translucent and bubbling. Add oranges in a single layer. Simmer oranges for 3-4 mins each side and then transfer to a cooling rack (with a rimmed sheet pan underneath) to catch the drippings.
  11. For glaze:
  12. Squeeze the oranges that were striped of the zest for the cake, into 3 tablespoons of juice.
  13. In a small bowl add powder sugar through a fine sieve to remove clumps. Then and juice, whisk until smooth.
  14. Spoon glaze over the top of cake, allowing it to drip over the sides of the cake. Garnish with 2 rows of candied oranges, overlapping slightly to create a decorative design (alternate colors too, lighter with darker etc)
  15. Place cake on a platter, garnish either side with fresh mint or orange blossom if you have them, and slice into thick slices. Serve with homemade whipped cream. Enjoy!
  16. For whipped cream, place everything in an electric mixer and whip on high until soft peaks form.

Notes

When baking if the top is beginning to brown too quickly, cover with a sheet of foil on top until fully baked through.

When selecting oranges the ones that are darker on the outside will have more purple in them on the inside.

Whipped cream can be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Tips for the Best Candied Oranges

  1. Do not add the oranges until the sugar syrup is bubbling
  2. Do not crowd the oranges, simmer them in batches if needed. This will allow for the best-candied effect if you give them room to "candy"
  3. Transfer them to a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack to drain, this will prevent them from getting soggy and falling apart. 
  4. Use non-stick tongs for transferring the finished oranges to the cooling rack. They will be fragile and non-stick tongs will be more gentle with them. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 151Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 32mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g

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9 Comments

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  7. Awesome recipe and delicious...this is my first recipe which i save from your web site...thnk you