Blood Orange Cake with Pistachios

5 from 9 votes
Jump to RecipeJump to Video

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This blood orange cake is filled with the juice and zest of ripe blood oranges and topped with candied blood orange slices and crushed pistachios – for a deliciously moist, tangy, sweet dessert!

An orange pistachio cake with a slice cut off

As soon as blood orange season begins, I find myself picking up as many as I can to make fresh juice, smoothies, and baked treats like this blood orange cake recipe.

The gorgeous reddish-pink-orange unique color and patterns within blood oranges make them an absolute treat to work with and put in any recipe where they’re on display. This orange cake recipe is no different – topped with candied blood orange slices and crushed pistachio nuts for a fluffy, moist cake that looks as good as it tastes.

A close up of a slice of orange pistachio cake

If you already love baking with oranges, then you’ll adore this blood orange drizzle cake. While similar in flavor, blood orange has a raspberry twist, with a slightly tangier flavor than a traditional orange. This makes it fantastic when pairing with sweet desserts – balancing the tangy with sweet flavors.

Best of all, this blood orange cake recipe is super simple and requires just seven ingredients and simple prep. It’s an excellent option for afternoon tea and special occasions. And, if blood oranges aren’t in season, this works just as well with other citrus varieties too!

Want to save this recipe?

Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from me every week!

The Ingredients

Ingredients for orange cake

The Blood Orange Cake

  • All-purpose flour: I haven’t tried this with gluten-free.
  • Sugar: I used cane sugar. White sugar will also work.
  • Butter: unsalted butter – chop it into cubes and soften it to room temperature.
  • Eggs: it’s best to use room-temperature eggs for better lift.
  • Orange: I used blood orange juice and zest for this recipe. However, you can use other oranges for the juice, too (this will avoid any green-color issues).
  • Baking powder & baking soda: to leaven the cake and provide lift.
  • Salt: just a pinch!

The Topping

Toppings for orange cake

How To Make Blood Orange Cake

Step 1: Prepare the blood oranges

First, juice the oranges for 1 cup of juice. Usually, three medium-sized oranges are enough for this. Plus, zest one of the oranges.

Three oranges and orange juice

Also, preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.

Step 2: Mix the orange cake batter

In a large bowl, sift in the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and add the orange zest.

Steps for mixing dry ingredients for orange cake

Then add the softened butter, eggs, and the blood orange juice. Whisk for 3-4 minutes until you obtain a smooth batter.

Steps for mixing orange cake batter

Step 3: Bake the blood orange cake

Pour the batter into an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake tin lined with parchment paper.

Bake in the oven for between 45-50 minutes on the middle shelf. The cake is ready when you insert a toothpick in the center of the cake, and it comes out clean.

Checking doneness of cake with toothpick

If it looks like the top is browning too quickly after about 30 minutes, then cover the top with tin foil for the remaining 15-20 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool down for 5-10 minutes inside the tin before removing it and allowing it to cool entirely.

Step 4: Decorate the blood orange cake

While the cake rests, prepare the crushed pistachios either with a knife, roughly chopped, or using a food processor for a few seconds.

Processing pistachios

Once the cake is cooled, brush with a little of the candied blood orange syrup and then top with the crushed pistachios and a layer of candied (blood) orange slices.

Steps for decorating orange cake

Enjoy the cake alone or with a dollop of whipped cream or whipped coconut cream

How To Store

Store the leftover pistachio orange cake for between 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. 

You could also freeze the undecorated cake for up to 2 months, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or within an airtight container. 

A slice of orange cake on top of the cake

FAQs

Why is my cake slightly green?

This is something that can seem very odd. However, when adding blood orange to this batter, you may find that the beautiful red color instead ends up green.

This is a natural reaction between the anthocyanin pigments in the blood orange juice and any alkaline pH ingredient. In this case, eggs and baking soda are both alkaline. While the blood orange has enough acidity to neutralize the eggs, the baking soda may still cause the egg to become slightly green-ish.

The color doesn’t bother me since I top the cake with crushed pistachios and I think it works well. However, if you want to avoid this, you could try swapping the baking soda for baking powder instead (but you’ll need to use 4x the amount, so it may affect the flavor slightly) and see if that helps.

Orange cake with a piece sliced off

What to do with the remaining orange peel?

There are tons of ways to use the leftover orange peel. You can save the zest for other recipes; use it for candied orange peel. Add it to tea (like this green teaPineapple Skin Tea (Anti-Inflammatory Tea), or ginger tea) and other mulled drinks, or even use it within this DIY non-toxic cleaning spray.

A whole Orange Pistachio Cake

Recipe Notes

  • You can adapt this into an upside-down blood orange cake easily. To do so, place a layer of overlapping candied blood orange slices on the bottom of the cake tin, pressing lightly so they stick to the pan slightly. Pour the batter over the slices and then bake in the oven. Use a toothpick to insert into the center of the cake to test if it’s ready – it should come out clean with just a few crumbs. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for around 15 minutes before inverting it and releasing it from the pan.
  • This can also be adapted to a blood orange loaf cake. I haven’t experimented with this,  but I imagine it will take slightly less time in the oven. 
  • If you want to avoid doming in the cake for any reason, then I suggest baking the cake 10ºC lower than suggested and this may help – though it will take longer to bake (325ºF instead of 350ºF). 
  • You can use any in-season orange variety for this orange cake: Tangerines, mandarins, navel oranges, tangelos, Valencia, etc. 

Other Cake Recipes

If you try this blood orange cake recipe, then let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments. I’d also really appreciate a recipe rating and would love to see your recreations – just tag @AlphaFoodie.

Blood Orange Cake with Crushed Pistachios

5 from 9 votes
By: Samira
This blood orange cake is filled with the juice and zest of ripe blood oranges and topped with candied orange slices and crushed pistachios – for a deliciously moist, tangy, sweet dessert!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 10 slices

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • oz unsalted butter cubed, softened
  • 1 cup blood orange juice about 3 medium-sized oranges (other orange varieties will work too)
  • 1 blood orange zest
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom powder optional

Toppings

  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 15 candied orange slices or more/less depending on how you want to decorate

Instructions 

Step 1: Prepare the blood oranges

  • Juice the oranges for 1 cup of juice. Usually, three medium-sized oranges are enough for this. Zest one of the oranges.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.

Step 2: Mix the orange cake batter

  • In a large bowl, sift in the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and add the orange zest.
  • Add the softened butter, eggs, and the blood orange juice. Whisk for 3-4 minutes until you obtain a smooth batter.

Step 3: Bake the blood orange cake

  • Pour the batter into an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake tin lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in the oven for between 45-50 minutes on the middle shelf. The cake is ready when you insert a toothpick in the center of the cake, and it comes out clean.
    If it looks like the top is browning too quickly after about 30 minutes, then cover the top with tin foil for the remaining 15-20 minutes.
  • Allow the cake to cool down for 5-10 minutes inside the tin before removing it and allowing it to cool entirely.

Step 4: Decorate the blood orange cake

  • While the cake rests, prepare the crushed pistachios either with a knife, roughly chopped, or using a food processor for a few seconds.
  • Once the cake is cooled, brush with a little of the candied blood orange syrup and then top with the crushed pistachio and a layer of candied blood orange slices.

How To Store

  • Store the leftover pistachio orange cake for between 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
    You could also freeze the undecorated cake for up to 2 months, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or within an airtight container.

Video

Notes

  • You can adapt this into an upside-down blood orange cake easily. To do so, place a layer of overlapping candied blood orange slices on the bottom of the cake tin, pressing lightly so they stick to the pan slightly. Pour the batter over the slices and then bake in the oven. Use a toothpick to insert into the center of the cake to test if it’s ready – it should come out clean with just a few crumbs. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for around 15 minutes before inverting it and releasing it from the pan.
  • This can also be adapted to a blood orange loaf cake. I haven’t experimented with this,  but I imagine it will take slightly less time in the oven. 
  • If you want to avoid doming in the cake for any reason, then I suggest baking the cake 10ºC lower than suggested and this may help – though it will take longer to bake (325ºF instead of 350ºF). 
  • You can use any in-season orange variety for this orange cake: Tangerines, mandarins, navel oranges, tangelos, Valencia, etc. 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: 2 Months
Shelf life: 2-3 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1Slice, Calories: 299kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 176mg, Potassium: 194mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 376IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. Miki says:

    5 stars
    Beautiful cake and a super light crumb. Would recommend!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Miki. So happy you tried and enjoyed the cake.