Blood orange sponge loaf with icing and candied oranges


What can I say? It must be one of the prettiest things I’ve ever baked. I am actually so pleased with the result of this cake, mainly because I stand by the fact that I am not the best baker around, but this loaf is incredible. Honestly one of the best cakes ever made, if I throw modesty out the window 😛


This recipe is adapted from the blood orange cake recipe by Annie’s Eats, combined with the lemon loaf recipe from the first book by the Hummingbird Bakery. The result is a delicious firm sponge-loaf cake hybrid, that’s both firm and creamy, and a little more tart than overwhelmingly sweet despite all the sugar syrup, candied fruit and icing–all thanks to those blood oranges.


This recipe takes a little bit of time to make all its components, but the other steps you can mostly make whilst the cake is in the oven, and it keeps really well in a sealed container — I was perfecting this recipe a week ago, and the cake still tastes like new! What a superhero. 

320g of caster sugar
3 large eggs
zest of 2 blood oranges, unwaxed
350g of plain flour
1 + 1/2 tsp of baking powder
pinch of salt
220ml of whole milk
30ml of blood orange
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
200g unsalted butter, melted

For the syrup:

3 tbsp of blood orange juice
3 tbsp of granulated sugar

For the icing (double as necessary, depending on the size of your loaf tin!):

1 cups of icing sugar
3 tbsp of blood orange juice

The candied orange slices:

1-2 blood oranges, sliced thinly
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade. Grease a loaf tin.

Beat together the sugar, eggs and zest in a freestanding electric mixer, or a bowl with an electric whisk, until well mixed.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl. In yet another bowl, combine the milk, blood orange juice and vanilla extract. Add one third of the flour mixture to the sugar/egg mixture, beating well, and then beat in one third of the milk mixture. Repeat this process twice again until everything has been combined.

Turn the speed up to high, and mix until the batter is fluffy. Turn down the speed to low, and pour in the melted butter. Beat until all is well incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until the sponge is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.

Whilst the loaf is in the oven, prepare the syrup by combining the juice and sugar in a small saucepan on low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and simmer for five minutes. Set aside to cool.

Then, prepare the candied oranges by slicing the blood oranges very finely. In a large saucepan, add the sugar and water and set on medium heat. Add the orange slices in one single layer. Let the slices stew in the mixture for twenty minutes, turning over the slices every few minutes. When done, remove the slices from the sugar mixture and let them cool on a baking sheet. Pour over the sugar mixture to keep them moist, and set aside.

When the loaf is finished, let it cool before flipping it over to remove it from the tin. Brush over the sugar syrup, and let it soak into the sponge. Now create the icing, adding more icing sugar if it needs to be thicker, or more water if it needs to be smoother (a little goes a long way!). It should be somewhat thick, but still run off the spoon.

Brush the icing over the sponge. Add the slices of candied oranges, and serve with ice cream, or sour cream which works well. The cake will keep well for over a week in an airtight container.


8 thoughts on “Blood orange sponge loaf with icing and candied oranges

  1. Jo Brudenell

    This is a great recipe for a special occasion, with those pretty candied oranges! I love lemon drizzle so will be trying this recipe with a twist on that. Your photos look amazing too!

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