Blood Orange Cake with Honey Syrup

Mar 23, 2016 |

Blood Orange Cake with Honey Syrup

I’ve made this blood orange cake several times over the last few months, but I’ve haven’t gotten around to posting the recipe until now. I wanted to get this recipe out, because I think it would make a perfect pairing for Easter brunch, to go with the Italian Frittata recipe I just published.  Add a Bellini to the mix, and you’ve got the start of a great brunch menu.

Blood orange Cake with Honey Syrup | seasonal muse.comMy inspiration comes from a bag of blood oranges I purchased at Trader Joes. To be honest, I had never used blood oranges before I made this cake! Now, I can’t understand why I waited so long to try them! They are a variety of orange with a crimson, almost blood-colored flesh. The skin can be tougher and harder to peel than other oranges, but it isn’t a problem because they are sliced thinly, and then eaten with skin intact. Blood oranges also have a unique profile, with a subtle, raspberry-like flavor in addition to the usual citrus notes, making them a standout.  Also, blood oranges contain more antioxidants than other varieties due to their pigmentation.

This Blood Orange Cake is a modern interpretation of a traditional pineapple upside-down cake.  Actually, that was the first cake I ever baked as I was learning my way around the kitchen with my sight set on earning a merit badge as a Camp-Fire Girl.  I can still remember how excited I was when I turned that cake over and it came out perfectly!  The recipe for this cake comes from the New York Times, but I have re-worked it to make it lighter and have added my own touches, like olive oil in place of butter, turbinado sugar for crunch, the addition of sliced almonds, and the warm honey-orange syrup that keeps the cake moist.

Make It Gluten Free:

Use almond flour in place of the cornmeal, and gluten free flour (or baking mix) in place of the regular flour.

Blood orange Cake with Honey Syrup | seasonalmuse.comBlood orange Cake with Honey Syrup | seasonal

Bon Appétit!

Learn More About Blood Oranges

PREP TIME - Minutes

BAKE TIME - Minutes


Blood Orange Cake with Honey Syrup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delicious and easy blood orange upside down cake. A light version made with olive oil and greek yogurt. Topped with honey-orange syrup.
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 10
  • 2 blood oranges - thinly sliced with rind, seeds removed
  • 1 Tbs. orange zest
  • 2 Tbs. turbinado sugar (brown sugar can be substituted)
  • 2 Tbs. sliced almonds
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup corn meal
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • Honey Syrup:
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 3 Tbs blood orange Juice
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. Cut off ends of each orange so they are even and flat. Using a sharp knife, cut oranges into thin (1/8-inch thick rounds). Remove and discard any seeds
  3. Combine flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder, combine and set aside.
  4. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. of turbinado sugar on the bottom of the greased can pan, scatter sliced almonds, and arrange orange slices, slightly overlapping, in a concentric circle.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, yogurt, apple sauce and olive oil, beat with an electric mixer to combine well.
  6. Add the egg and whites one at time, beating after each addition. Mix the vanilla and orange zest into the batter.
  7. Add ⅓ of the flour, beating on low until just incorporated. Repeat 2 times to incorporate all flour.
  8. Using a large spoon, drop the batter atop the orange slices. Gently spread the batter to distribute.
  9. Bake 40-45 minutes until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then run a small knife around the cake to loosen. Place platter on top of the pan and using oven mitts, gently invert cake onto platter. Allow the cake to settle on the platter before lifting the pan to remove. Arrange any orange slices that may have come loose.
  11. Prepare Syrup: In a glass bowl cup, mix 2 Tbs. of blood orange juice with 2 Tbs. of honey, microwave on high 1-2 minutes till honey is melted and syrup is hot. Gently spoon the syrup over the top of the cake, the warm cake will absorb.
  12. Cool completely to room temperature. Cut into wedges to serve.
Make It Gluten Free: Use almond flour in place of the cornmeal, and gluten free flour (or baking mix) in place of the regular flour.

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