Oh blood oranges, you really do brighten up a miserable wet London day. Every winter when I effectively become a hermit, locking myself away in the kitchen making bread…and pies…and cookies…and anything else that makes me feel that the cold is bearable and that a life somewhere sunny isn’t more desirable, there are a couple bright spots in a world of grey. I am obviously talking blood oranges and rhubarb. They are the joy of the season and I relish every week they still make an appearance at the market. Over the years I have managed to squeeze blood orange into as many different recipes as I can convince myself they’ll work in, todays recipe is a little more classic, back to basics, easy to make. A slight twist on a classic pound cake, it is flavoured with the zest of the oranges and a little helping of white chocolate. It is a double cream pound cake meaning it is wonderfully tender and moist, keeping fresh for about 3-4 days.
For the decoration I went back on forth on a couple different styles, trying to make it cleaner, more elegant, I tried to make it more striking, more graphic but in the end I went right back to my original version. I embraced the imperfection and the rustic nature of the cake, and ignored my boyfriend’s suggestion about cleaning up the sides, slightly messy and haphazard works fine for me.
If you are reading this out of season and you cant find blood oranges, fear not you can happily whip this up with regular oranges but obviously the colour will be different. Regular oranges just don’t have the vibrance to create as dramatic a design so you might want to help the orange glaze a little with some colouring or if you want to replicate the pink hue, a little splash of pomegranate juice will give a very similar look.
Blood Orange White Chocolate Pound Cake
215g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
Zest of two blood oranges
2 large eggs
150g plain flour
65g ground almonds
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
65g white chocolate, melted and cooled
125ml double cream
120ml blood orange juice
120g caster sugar
2 tbsp blood orange juice
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
400-500g icing sugar
Lightly grease, and line with parchment, a deep 9-inch round cake pan. Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C Fan.
Place the butter, sugar and zest into a large bowl and using an electric mixer beat together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating in until fully combined before adding more. Mix in the cooled white chocolate until evenly combined. In another bowl mix together the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. Starting and finishing with the flour mixture, add in three additions, alternating with the cream.
Scrape the finished batter into the prepared cake pan and gently smooth into an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Pop the pan on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto the rack to cool completely.
Whilst the cake is still warm make a syrup by heating the blood orange juice and sugar together in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture just comes to a simmer. Brush the syrup all over the cake, doing so whilst the cake is still warm allows it to full soak into the cake.
Once the cake is fully cooled make the glaze. In one bowl mix together the blood orange juice and half the sugar mixing to form a thick but just pourable glaze. Do the same with the milk, vanilla and remaining sugar. You want the glazes to be thick enough that they will hold some definition when piped but loose enough that will spread together to form a uniform glaze. If you need a visual guide check out the video of the recipe on my Youtube channel.
Place each glaze into a piping bag and snip off the ends with a pair of scissors. Pipe alternate stripes of the glaze over the cake, allowing a little excess to drip down the sides. Set the cake aside for a couple hours to allow the glaze to set before serving.