This rich and moist Chocolate Blood Orange Cake is infused with fresh blood orange juice and drizzled with homemade blood orange glaze!
Indulge in the exquisite blend of citrus and cocoa with this Chocolate Blood Orange Cake. Each slice of this cake offers a rich chocolate flavor harmoniously complemented by the zesty freshness of blood orange juice, making it an irresistible treat!
With just 12 ingredients and under an hour of baking, you can create this simple yet luxurious cake. Drizzled with a homemade blood orange glaze, this cake is a celebration of flavor.
What is Blood Orange?
Blood oranges are a distinctive variety of oranges, best known for their deep red flesh and a flavor profile that combines the sweetness of regular oranges with a hint of raspberry-like tartness.
Unlike the common navel orange, blood oranges have a unique coloration due to the presence of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. Their vibrant color and rich, slightly berry-like taste make blood oranges a popular choice for culinary creations.
Blood Orange vs. Navel Orange
While both blood oranges and navel oranges are loved for their sweet, juicy flavors, they have some notable differences. Navel oranges are more commonly found and are known for their slightly thicker skin and the absence of seeds. On the other hand, blood oranges are smaller, often with a thinner skin and a deep red to burgundy interior.
The flavor of blood oranges is more complex, with a noticeable raspberry or berry-like undertone, making them a great choice for recipes like our orange chocolate cake. They are typically in season from late fall through spring, making this blood orange chocolate cake recipe perfect for seasonal baking!
Ingredients and Variations
- Flour: Choose either all-purpose flour or cake flour for the perfect cake texture.
- High-Quality Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened): Essential for a deep, rich chocolate flavor.
- Leavening Agents: Baking powder and baking soda for a well-risen cake.
- Salt: Just a pinch to balance the flavors.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter at room temperature to create a smooth and creamy batter.
- Egg: One room-temperature egg for binding the ingredients together and adding structure to your orange chocolate cake.
- Blood Orange Juice and Zest: The star of this recipe, providing a fresh and tangy twist. You'll need the juice of 1-2 blood oranges and the zest of one to infuse the cake with the unique blood orange flavor.
- Sugar: Use granulated or caster sugar for the sponge, and powdered sugar (or icing sugar) for the glaze.
- Milk: You can use semi-skimmed, whole, or plant-based milk, depending on your preference.
- Vanilla Extract (Optional): A dash of vanilla extract to enhance the overall flavor of your cake.
While this recipe calls for blood oranges, feel free to experiment with other orange varieties is blood oranges are not in season.
How to Make Blood Orange Chocolate Loaf Cake
Begin by preheating your oven to 175°C (350F) and line your 8x4" loaf pan with parchment paper.
Sift together flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. This blends the ingredients and introduces air, making your cake lighter.
In a large bowl, preferably of a stand mixer, whip the butter and sugar until they transform into a pale, fluffy mixture.
Add the room-temperature egg, a dash of vanilla, and then the blood orange juice and zest. Don't worry if the batter seems a bit curdled - it's normal at this point.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. This step is important - mix until just combined to keep the cake tender.
Pour your batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top for an even bake.
As it bakes for 45-60 minutes, your kitchen will fill with the beautiful aroma of chocolate and citrus.
To make the glaze, stir in 2-4 tbsp. of blood orange juice into a cup of powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
For a thinner glaze, add more juice. For a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar.
Drizzle over cooled cake, leave to set for 20-30 minutes, slice, and serve!
Tips for the Best Chocolate Blood Orange Cake
- Ensure your egg, milk, butter, and even flour are at room temperature. This helps in achieving a uniform batter that bakes evenly.
- Go for freshly squeezed blood orange juice and freshly grated zest over bottled juice. The fresh ingredients bring out a vibrant, authentic flavor in your chocolate orange cake.
- Use digital kitchen scales for precise measurements, especially for flour and sugar, to avoid common baking mishaps.
- Once you combine the dry ingredients with the wet, mix gently. Overmixing can lead to a dense cake rather than a light, fluffy texture.
- When lining your loaf tin, let the parchment paper overhang the sides. This makes removing your chocolate blood orange cake easier once it's baked.
Common Cake Problems and Solutions
- Dense Cake: A common issue is using too much flour. Weigh your ingredients for accuracy. Also, avoid overmixing after adding the dry ingredients.
- Sunken Cake: If your cake sinks in the middle, it might be undercooked. This blood orange cakes requires 45-60 minutes at 175°C (350F). Use a skewer to test for doneness - it should come out clean.
- Cake Not Rising: Check your leavening agents. Make sure your baking powder isn't old or stale. Also, once the dry and wet ingredients are mixed, get your cake into the oven quickly without delay.
Making Ahead and Storing
- Storage: This chocolate and blood orange cake, once cooled and glazed, can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezing Options: This cake freezes well, either glazed or unglazed. Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. You can also slice the cake and wrap each piece individually before freezing.
- Thawing: Thaw your cake overnight at room temperature.
Absolutely! This chocolate blood orange cake is freezer-friendly. You can freeze it, with or without the glaze, for up to 2 months.
For easy serving, consider slicing the cake before freezing. Thaw it at room temperature overnight for best results.
Yes, you can. Blood orange gives this cake its distinctive flavor and color, but you can experiment with other citrus fruits!
You can use regular oranges, tangerines, or even lemons. Keep in mind that each citrus fruit will slightly alter the flavor profile of the cake.
Other Loaf Cake Recipes
Blood Orange Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Blood Orange Cake Batter
- 152 g flour AP or cake (approx 1¼ cup)
- 20 g cocoa powder (approx. 2 tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 112 g unsalted butter softened (½ cup)
- 200 g granulated sugar 1 cup
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract optional
- 3-4 tbsp. blood orange juice
- zest of one blood orange
- 80 mL milk (⅓ cup) semi-skimmed, whole, or plant-based
Blood Orange Glaze
- 120 g powdered sugar 1 cup
- 2-4 tbsp. blood orange juice fresh
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350F) and line an 8x4" loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Sift and mix the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda) and set aside.
- Place sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix for another 2 minutes until well-combined. Add the blood orange juice and zest and mix for another 30 seconds. The mixture may curdle slightly - this is normal.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with the milk and mix on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minute or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
- To make the glaze, stir in 2-4 tbsp. of blood orange juice into powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached. For a thinner glaze, add more juice. For a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar. Drizzle over cooled cake, leave to set for 20-30 minutes and serve.