Blood orange syrup cake

Nov 27, 2021
This cake recipe is a 'must do' for citrus lovers. Source: Getty Images

There is a lot to like about this blood orange syrup cake recipe. For a start, it is perfect for citrus lovers. It is also incredibly versatile!

Generally speaking, you’ll find blood oranges at your greengrocer between August and October, so if you find yourself faced with this recipe out of season, you can substitute blood oranges for other types of orange. You can also change the cinnamon in the syrup to cardamom or cloves to give it a more exotic flavour, or use vanilla and keep it simple. If you don’t have almond meal, use pistachios.

This cake is delicious served warm, with a dollop of cream and/or ice cream. It is also a lovely treat if being served at room temperature with a cuppa.

Serves 12.


  • 215g softened butter
  • 215g caster sugar
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 4 blood oranges
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 250g fine semolina
  • 155g almond meal
  • 100g polenta


  • 375g caster sugar
  • 3 unpeeled blood oranges, thickly sliced into rounds, seeds reserved
  • 2 unpeeled lemons, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds reserved
  • 2 cinnamon quills


  1. For blood orange syrup, stir ingredients (including seeds) and 250ml water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the simmer and cook until a light syrup forms (50-60 minutes). Pass through a fine sieve, pressing on solids to extract all liquid, transfer half to a container and refrigerate until set (1-2 hours; the syrup will turn into a soft jelly). Set remaining syrup aside in pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C.
  3. Beat butter, sugar and blood orange rind in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (8-10 minutes), then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add baking powder, half the semolina, half the almond meal, half the polenta and half the blood orange juice and mix to just combine.
  4. Add remaining semolina, almond meal, polenta and blood orange juice and mix to just combine.
  5. Spoon into a 22cm-diameter cake tin buttered and lined with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Reduce oven to 150C and bake until cake is golden and a skewer inserted withdraws clean, approximately 25-30 minutes. Pierce cake all over with a skewer, then gradually pour reserved blood orange syrup over (re-warm syrup if it has become too thick), allowing syrup to soak into cake before adding more.
  7. Cool completely in tin, up to 2 hours.


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