Blood Orange Tea Cake

Blood Orange Tea Cake

Hmmm… I stared suspiciously at some oranges at the farm stand down the road… They were simply marked at “Oranges from Italy” but those red splotches told a different story. These couldn’t simply be oranges.. but blood oranges. Highly sought after with a short season, blood oranges have a delicate taste a bit akin to an orange mixed with a raspberry. In short- they are fabulous.

I loaded up on them and started diving into possible recipes.

Something beautiful! Something citrus-y! and oh so tasty! What I ended up with checked all of those boxes and it was so moist… to the point where it lasted 3 days without showing the slightest sign of starting to dry out.

I’ve already added this to my little black book of handwritten go-to recipes as a fabulous tea cake to be pulled out at any time of the year, using blood oranges when available, or interchanging grapefruit, lemon, or orange.

Tips: Use an 8″ cake pan for a thicker cake (obviously make sure it has tall sides), otherwise, go with a 10″ cake pan. Definitely, do not skip the glaze, and don’t skimp on the caradamom.

To make the dried blood orange slices, thinly slice a blood orange and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Heavily sprinkle with powdered sugar on both sides, then bake at 220F/150C for 2 hours or until dry. I got tired of waiting and took mine out after about 45 minutes, not exactly the same effect but looked beautiful all the same.


Blood Orange Tea Cake

Perfect for an afternoon cup of tea, this cake is beautifully moist with delicate citrus notes. The citrus can be changed to another to make a grapefruit, orange, or lemon cake. Adapted from The Sweet and Simple Kitchen.



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • zest of one blood orange
  • 2 tbsp blood orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • remaining blood orange juice
  • 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar


  1. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add in the zest and beat until it smells wonderful.

  2. Add the eggs, beating to combine. Then the vanilla and blood orange juice.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dried ingredients. Then alternate adding a portion of this to the butter/egg mixture, with the creme fraiche.

  4. Pour into a greased and floured 8" or 10" cake pan and bake 35-40 minutes at 350F/175C until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cake springs back to touch.

  5. Allow to cool and make the glaze by combining the remaining blood orange juice with powdered sugar. Start with 1/2 cup and then add more until it is pourable but not too thin.

  6. Pour over the cooled cake and decorated with dried blood orange slices if desired.

  7. Enjoy! This cake will last 3-4 days easily at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic.

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