Simple Blush Orange & Vanilla Cake & What Are Blood Oranges

Blush oranges or blood oranges are natural mutation of the oranges and can vary in colours from just a little streaks of red pigmentation in the flesh to almost black, full blooded flesh. Blood oranges have distinctive flavour, different to regular oranges, and resemble a bit raspberries in taste.

The red / maroon colouring in the oranges is caused by anthocyanin (an antioxidant) and for this reason  blood orange contain greater amounts of antioxidants than other oranges. They are grown mostly in Italy and USA as blood oranges need warmth during the day and lower temperatures at night to develop the anthocyanins.

Blood oranges are in season at different times of the year, depending on location, for instance from December to March in Texas, November to May in California or February to April in Italy.

when are blush oranges in season blood orange season


  • 2½ cups plain flour
  • 250 g of melted butter
  • 1½ cups golden caster sugar
  • 3 large – 4 small eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 700 g / 6 blood or blush oranges (about 2 cups of fresh with as much as possible membrane removed)
  • seeds from 1 vanilla pod (do not discard the pod, use it to make home-made vanilla sugar)

blood orange recipes blood orange season


  • mixer
  • silicone pastry brush
  • 2 baking dishes (we have used two round cake tins lined with baking paper)
  • wooden skewer
  • microwavable jug

blush orange fruit cake recipe


  1. Place butter bar in a jug and microwave for about 50 seconds, until completely melted.
  2. With a pastry brush grease baking trays, using a bit of melted butter, leave aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl combine all dry ingredients: flour, vanilla seeds, sugar an baking powder.
  4. Add also milk and eggs and turn the mixer on.
  5. Gradually pour in melted butter and mix a while longer.
  6. Share dough to the baking tins.
  7. Top with orange segments.
  8. Bake in the the oven preheated to 160°C  (320°F) for about 50 – 60 minutes.
  9. Let the cakes to cool down before sharing.

Makes about 18 – 20 servings.


This would be also great recipe to make tray bake, if you have large enough baking tray on hand.

Ready cake should be moist but not sticky inside, use skewer to check.

This cake is soft and fluffy inside but sturdy on the outside so would make great dessert for lunch boxes and picnics as well.

If you are looking for more blood orange recipes, then try: Blueberry and Blood Orange Smoothie by Bintu, Creamy Blood Orange and Berry Smoothie (Vegan) by Kellie, Blood Orange Curd Muffins by Helen or Blood Orange Posset by Jeanne.

Your thoughts…

  1. Oh my. I love how simple this is and how you are guaranteed to get a mouthful of blood orange with almost every bite.

  2. Beautiful – I love fruit in cake and can’t remember having whole orange segments in a bake ever. Didn’t know that about the increased anti-oxidants.

  3. A beautiful cake and simple to make, similar to my Mama’s Polish recipe only she uses light oil instead of butter. The perfect batter to sink some seasonal fruit into!

  4. Bintu – I wasn’t really sure if that would be not too much orange but the cake turned out balanced, not too sweet and not to sour ;)

    Sally – I had no clue about the antioxidants until I did some research to find out about the red pigmentation… now I will be definitely using them more often ;)

    Ren – I guess all Polish mamas make similar fruit cake. My mum would probably top it with some plums and used Kasia (vegetable shortening) instead of the real butter ;)

  5. What a fabulous cake! I am such a huge fan of blood oranges but finding them in the last few years seems to be a really difficult quest! Would never have though to top a cake with them, so thank you for the inspiration:-)

  6. Camilla – I have never baked with blood / blush oranges before at all, it was very first time for me, so I’m double proud of the outcome ;)

  7. How interesting, I had no idea about the anti-oxident levels being increased in blood oranges. Surely another reason to eat this cake? Practically health food ;)

  8. I like your way of thinking Sarah ;)

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