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Blood orange cake


Prep time: 30 minutes, plus overnight resting Cook time: 1 hour

Serves 10

This cake is very perfumed, due to the blood-orange-scented sugar. I’ve suggested fondant icing sugar for the top. It makes a thicker icing.

INGREDIENT­S For the cake

– 60g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing

– ¾ tbsp grated blood orange zest, plus 4 tbsp blood orange juice

– 200g granulated

sugar – 225g plain flour

– 2 tsp baking powder

– 2 large eggs, lightly


– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 185g Greek-style


– 15g pistachios, chopped, to decorate (some have pinker skin than others – get them if you can as they look gorgeous against the pink of the icing)

For the syrup

– 125ml blood orange


– 150g granulated sugar

For the icing

– 130g fondant icing


– 2½ tbsp blood orange



Heat the oven to 180C / 170C fan/gas mark 4. Butter and line a

12 x 22cm loaf tin, letting the paper hang over the long sides – this gives you something to lift the cake out with.

Put the zest in a mortar and add the sugar. Bash this hard until you can smell the blood orange. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a metal bowl and the end of a rolling pin.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then add a pinch of salt.

Beat the orangescen­ted sugar and eggs together with an electric mixer, until the mixture is thick and leaves a trail as it falls off the beaters. Beat in the butter and the vanilla. Using a large metal spoon, fold in half the flour followed by half the yogurt, then repeat. Stir in the juice.

Scrape the batter into the lined tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out. Remove the paper and put the cake on a plate.

Make the syrup when the cake comes out of the oven. Heat the juice and sugar together in a saucepan and, when the sugar has melted, boil it for three minutes. Pierce the cake all over using a skewer, on the bottom as well as the top. You need some of the holes to be quite open so that the syrup can easily go into the sponge.

Set the cake bottom-side up and slowly spoon half the syrup all over it. Make holes with a larger skewer or a chopstick if the syrup is not penetratin­g. Put a tent of foil over the cake. A few hours later, put the cake the right way up and spoon over as much of the rest of the syrup as can be absorbed. Keep doing this on the bottom and the top until the cake won’t absorb any more syrup. Hold on to any syrup leftover. Put the foil over the cake again and leave it overnight. The next morning, spoon in the rest of the syrup both top and bottom. Put the cake on a serving plate.

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the juice a little at a time, stirring to keep everything smooth. It’s important that you don’t let the icing get too runny. Leave to firm up a little, then pour the icing over the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Decorate with the pistachios.

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