I'm a big fan of citrus, whether on its own or in baked goods - and it's always a bit of a disappointment when citrus season ends each year. The best time for many types of oranges and grapefruits ends in February or March, but I'm writing this in April - and luckily, blood oranges are in season through April.
If you've never had a blood orange before, you've been missing out. Compared to most oranges, they're darker on the inside, sweeter to the taste, and a bit easier to peel. Because of their natural sweetness, I thought they'd be the ideal type of orange to use in a dessert.
This recipe makes a blood orange pound cake with a matching blood orange icing. You can really taste the fruit in both the cake and icing individually, and the final dessert is beautifully balanced without being too sweet (but it's still plenty sweet for those of you with a serious sweet tooth). This elevated version of a classic dessert is easy to make and sure to impress friends and family at your next gathering - no one will expect a pound cake to be quite so delicious.
- 150 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 250 grams granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons blood orange zest
- 3 large eggs. room temperature
- 100 grams sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
- 225 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon diamond kosher salt
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 50 grams orange liqueur
- 150 grams powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 - 3 tablespoons blood orange juice
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350°F. Grease and line a 1-pound aluminum pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl - set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy - about 8 minutes. Add all of the blood orange zest to the creamed sugar and begin gradually mixing in the eggs one at a time. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of blood orange juice and the sour cream. Fold in about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the batter, alternating with 1/3 of the sour cream and juice mixture. Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 minutes.
While the cake bakes, make the drizzle. In a small sauce pan, combine 50 grams of sugar and 50 grams of orange liqueur - heat until the sugar dissolves. After about 55 minutes, the cake should be golden brown with slightly pale cracks on top. The internal temperature should read 200°F. Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath. Set the cake right side up and pierce all over with a long skewer. Slowly pour the syrup over the cake while it's still warm, and let cool for several hours.
Once the cake completely cools, make the icing. Gradually mix the blood orange juice, one tablespoon at a time, into the sifted powdered sugar. Combine until just smooth, and spoon over the cake. Allow the icing to set for 20 minutes and serve.