Variations of this cake are known in many Mediterranean countries. It is typically made with orange but I chose blood oranges this time to give it a bit of a twist and since I find the intensely colored fruit (which happens to taste incredibly sweet and juicy at the same time) so utterly irresistible.
Note that like any recipe using the whole fruit, you will taste the distinct bitter notes of the orange skin. Many people do not mind or are even fans, but if you do not like these, I propose using a different recipe that only uses the zest (without the pith which is the source of the bitterness) and/or flesh of the fruit.
Ingredients (for a 28 cm Ø baking pan):
For the dough:
- 3 blood oranges (whole)
- 200 grams of sugar
- 6 eggs
- 125 grams of caster sugar
- zest of 2 blood oranges
- 1 shot Italian orange liqueur, e.g. Rosolio di Arancia or Villa Massa Liquore di Arance (alternatively: 1 shot of Amaretto or 2 tablespoons of orange blossom water)
- 90 grams of flour
- 1 package of baking powder (16 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 150 grams of almond meal (ground blanched almond)
- Optionally: 3-4 tablespoons of blood oranges in syrup (see Blood Oranges in Syrup), well dripped off (use the syrup for the glaze)
For the glaze:
- juice of 2 blood oranges
- 100 grams of sugar
- 1 shot of Italian orange liqueur, e.g. Villa Massa Liquore di Arance (alternatively Grand Marnier)
Preparing the cake:
- Simmer the blood oranges is water and 200 grams of sugar for approximately 1 to 1.5 hours with lid closed. The fruit should be fully covered by water, weigh down to make them submerge.
- Strain and let the fruit cool down completely (give it at least 2 hours).
- Cut in quarters and remove any pips, then puree in a blender. You should obtain approximately 500 grams of pureed fruit.
- Beat the eggs with the caster sugar until light and creamy.
- Fold in the orange puree and the orange zest.
- Add the orange liqueur (or alternative flavoring).
- Sift the flour and the baking powder.
- Gradually fold the flour, baking powder, salt and almond meal into the batter.
- Fill into a greased baking pan (or, optionally, follow step 10).
- Optional: If you wish to use orange fillets in syrup in the cake (I personally love the delicious little bits in my cake), fill approximately 1/3 of the batter into the baking pan. Spread the blood orange fillets over the top. Then cover with the remainder of the batter.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
- Let cool down completely.
Preparing the glaze:
- Bring the orange juice and the sugar to the boil.
- Let simmer for approximately 10 minutes on low heat until reduced to approximately 1/3 to 1/2.
- Take off the heat, let could down completely and then add the orange liqueur.
- Brush the cake with the syrup until fully soaked up.
- Serve fresh!