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Blood Orange Syrup Cake

Blood oranges are one those fruits that only have a very short season in Australia. At the moment we are smack back in the middle of blood orange season and I am making the most of it – stocking up on these crimson fleshed beauties for cakes, Italian-style orange and fennel salads and as a mixer for Campari.

Blood orange cut in half

One of my favourite things to make using blood oranges is a Blood Orange Syrup Cake. This cake is drenched with orange syrup while still warm, resulting in a lovely fragrant and moist cake. Blood oranges can be substituted for whatever citrus fruit you have lying around. I have made this cake with lemons and mandarins with success. I am sure that you could also use limes if you were feeling adventurous.

I like to bake this cake in a German Bundt Pan, as it results in a festive, decorative looking cake – perfect for afternoon tea with friends or a dinner party dessert. I picked up my German Bundt Pan at my local Op Shop for about $4.  A round cake pan would work just as well though.

The recipe below is loosely based on David Herbert’s Lemon Syrup Cake from The Really Useful Cookbook.

Blood Orange Syrup Cake


For the Cake:

  • 250 g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature and diced
  • 1 Blood Orange, finely grate the zest and put aside and then juice the remaining orange
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 275g self raising flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup milk

For the Orange Syrup:

  • 2 Blood Oranges, finely grate the zest and put aside and then juice the remaining oranges
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Slather the  Bundt tin in butter – as you want the cake to turn out cleanly, so you don’t lose any of the decorative effect. (As you will see from the photo below, my cake turned out slightly imperfect – I blame The Brooding Architect being stingy with the butter!)
  2. With a hand held electric mixer, beat the butter, 2 Tablespoons orange zest and sugar until pale and fluffy. This should take about 6 or 7 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour after each addition.
  4. Using a metal spoon or spatula, fold through the remaining flour and baking powder. Once combined, add the juice of one orange juice, yoghurt and milk.
  5. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for about 5o minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top and firm to touch.
  6. While the cake is cooking, prepare the orange syrup. To make the syrup add the zest and juice of 2 oranges, as well as the sugar, cinnamon stick and water to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup begins to thicken. After 15 minutes take off the heat and allow to cool. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  7. Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and poke holes over the top with a skewer or tooth pick. Carefully spoon half of the warm orange syrup on top of the cake and allow to cool in the tin.
  8. Once the cake is cool, turn upside down. Pour the remaining orange syrup on top just before serving.
  9. Serve with large mugs of tea.

Blood Orange Syrup Cake - If you squint, you can just make out the jar of orange syrup on the left. The syrup is poured on the cake just before serving.

2 Comments on “Blood Orange Syrup Cake”

  1. david herbert said at 11:38 pm on April 4, 2011:

    looks great!

  2. The Hungry Lawyer said at 2:02 pm on April 5, 2011:

    David: I am little embarrassed to say that I actually gasped (okay, squealed) when I saw your comment! The Brooding Architect and I are huge fans of your recipes – The Really Useful Cookbook is a regular Christmas / Housewarming present for friends and family (and is always gratefully received!). Cheers, The Hungry Lawyer

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