Blood oranges, for some reason, are so much more exciting than regular oranges. I always find the vermilion flesh a surprise – somehow I’m never really expecting it to be so bright. Blood oranges live up to their name by spurting out copious amounts of red liquid when squeezed. They have a pleasant grapefruit-like tartness, and seem to deserve much more of a fanfare than the common orange.
Sometimes I get a real hankering for cake. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I need to do something. What I love about syrupy drizzle cakes like this one is that there’s no tedious wait for the cake to cool: you can just tip the syrup over and dig in. There might be people who would suggest waiting until even this cake has cooled before you eat it, but i’m going to choose to ignore them, in favour of the nirvana that is oven-warm cake. Luckily, I had some willing volunteers to help me eat it, so I didn’t end up eating the whole thing myself, which would have been entirely possible.
I decided to go down the same route as lemon drizzle, but with blood oranges and honey, simmering down a syrup of blood orange juice and honey to pour over the warm cake. I added an extra sliced orange to the syrup, which goes marmalade-y and sweet when simmered with the honey. Using ground almonds in the cake as well as plain flour helps the cake soak up the flood of syrup that is poured over it.
For the cake:
150g butter, softened
150g light brown soft sugar
100g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 blood oranges
For the topping:
Juice of 2 blood oranges, plus one whole
2 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line the base of a 20cm cake tin with baking paper. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix together the ground almonds, plain flour and baking powder. Beat eggs, and stir in alternating amounts of the eggs and flour mixture. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Scrape into the lined tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden, and the top is springy to the touch.
While the cake is cooking, make the topping. Slice the whole orange, and put into a pan with the orange juice, 100ml water and 2 tbsp honey. Simmer for about ten minutes until the orange is soft and the liquid is syrupy.
Take the cake out of the oven, prick with a fork in several places and pour the syrup over the top. Top with the orange slices.