Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Citrus and Cardamom Pound Cake with Candied Blood Orange

For the last few weeks, I have been seeing recipes using blood oranges pretty much everywhere on social media. I had only tasted this exotic looking fruit once before, but I was enraptured by all the pictures I saw of these jewel like oranges and vowed to make something myself using them. And that's where the mission began. You may assume, dear readers, that living in London, the metropolitan capital of culture in UK, it wouldn't be too difficult to get your hands on what is simply a red coloured citrus fruit. I've written previously on here about how you can find the most obscure Bengali fish and vegetables in big supermarkets here these days, but finding blood oranges was like looking for a rare and endangered species.

I went to no less than 4 different supermarkets within a several mile radius looking specifically for this fruit. And each time they seemed to have every other fruit under the sun except blood oranges. And when I would ask some poor employee if they had any blood oranges, they would stare at me blankly with a confused expression. I'm pretty sure I scared off a few with the word 'blood' too...

I had just about given up on finding it before the end of the season, when I chanced upon a small selection of blood oranges in a larger supermarket I was shopping in with my cousin. It was one of those light bulb moments and I only just about refrained from fist pumping in the air to celebrate.

 Despite buying a few bags of them, Me and my family gobbled down the blood oranges. I'm not sure if that was to do with the actual taste of them or just the novelty of their appearance. Nonetheless, I began to seek out a recipe to use up the last oranges before my small window of opportunity disappeared.

I've been wanting to make a pound/loaf cake for a while now, and as it didn't seem to complex for a beginner baker like me, I decided to give it a go. The recipe I used as a basis for this cake, used a mix of oil and yoghurt instead of butter and I was surprised at how light and airy the texture of the cake turned out to be.

I also subbed some of the plain flour for half a cup of ground almonds as I seem to love the taste of it in bakes these days.I think I must be turning into an almond nut (get it??).  I used a mix of both lemon and orange zest to add perfume to the cake and then a good pinch of ground cardamom which seems to complement citrus flavours well.

I wavered between decorating the cake with a blood orange royal icing (which comes out a super cute pastel pink, btw) or candied blood orange slices. However, as I'm not too fond of sugary icing, I opted for the latter. To make the candied blood orange slices, you simply let them cook in a hot sugar syrup. While I wasn't altogether sold on the taste of it, it's a pretty way to dress up an otherwise humble pound cake.

The actual taste of the cake however was amazing! I think it is my favourite bake on the blog to date. Like I said, the texture is light and airy and has a range of flavours from the citrus fruit and ground cardamom. I'm just a little bit sad I couldn't get a few more photos of the cake. As I rushed home from work to take a few pictures on another grey and dull London afternoon, I only got a few minutes to photograph before sunset. The odds just seemed to stacked against me from the get go for me on this one, but as they may or may not say, what doesn't kill you, makes you a stronger and more willfully resolved food blogger!

Citrus and Cardamom Pound Cake with Candied Blood Orange

Serves 6-10

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time:35-45 minutes

Adapted from Chili and Tonkaby Abida at The Red Lychee


For the cake:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp grated orange zest
1/2 tbsp grated lemon zesst
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup greek yoghurt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the decoration:
1 blood orange thinly sliced 
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

1) Preheat Oven to 180°C and grease and line loaf tin.

2)Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

3) In a separate bowl, add sugar and citrus zests. Add eggs one at a time and whisk. Then mix in yoghurt and then the oil and vanilla.

4) Slowly add in dry ingredients, a third at a time. Gently fold in using a cutting motion. Do not over mix. 

5) Pour mix into a loaf tin and bake on middle tray of oven for about 35-45 minutes, when a skewer comes out clean from the cake. When baked, leave to cool on a rack. 

6) Whilst waiting for cake to bake, prepare the candied blood orange slices. In a heavy frying pan or skillet, bring sugar and water to a boil. Gently stir sugar to help it to dissolve. 

7) When the sugar has dissolved, arrange the slices of blood oranges on the frying pan/skillet in a single layer. Leave the orange slices to simmer gently on low to medium heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the edges become slightly translucent.  Remove pan from heat, and allow the slices to cool down in the syrup slightly. 

8) Place the blood orange slices on top of pound cake and drizzle some of the remaining syrup over the cake. 


  1. This looks delicious! I might try this soon... but I probably don't have the same resolve as you to hunt down the blood oranges :') do they add a lot to the taste?

    1. Lol, I don't think there is much time left in the season, so I would do it quickly if I were you! And as for taste, I didn't include the blood oranges in anything other than the decoration because I only had the one left and I wanted to save it for the top lol. You can taste it in the candied orange slices, however, I would recommend using the zest of the blood orange in the cake too. You could of course just do this cake without any blood oranges and it would taste just as nice.

  2. This looks BLOODY brilliant (see what I did there - maybe it's just a crude northern expression)

    1. Lol, I'm a Southerner but I do enjoy a good pun as well *wink*

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This looks amazing Abida! I've been thinking about baking with cardamom for a little while now but have been nervous about what it will taste like. You've inspired me to give it a go!

    1. Hi Erika, thanks for the comment! I think there's nothing quite as fun as adding spices and different flavourings to bakes to change things up a little bit. You should definitely try it out!