Blood Orange + Rosemary Cake

A couple of weeks ago I made this Blood Orange & Rosemary Cake to take to a friends birthday party. The recipes comes from my latest cookbook purchase What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits and Bobs by Katie Quinn Davies. It was a case of 'wishing I had bought this book a few months earlier' as the author obviously has quite a thing for blood oranges - there are several recipes in the book that feature them. I too, love a blood orange, but sadly their fairly short season finished a couple of months ago. 

However, I was determined to make this cake. I simply replaced the blood oranges for regular oranges and hunted down a carton of blood orange juice to use when the juice of an orange was called for. Essentially it hit the spot - the marriage of orange and rosemary was still very much there and it was worth sourcing that carton of blood orange juice to make the natural dusky pink icing - so, so pretty.

I will, of course make a point of re-visiting this recipe when blood oranges are back in season. It just has to be done.

Blood Orange & Rosemary Cake

Serves 8 - 10

225g unsalted butter, softened

220g caster sugar

2 tsps cointreau (absent from my drinks cabinet, I used brandy)

3 free-range eggs, beaten

1 blood orange, peeled, pith removed and cut into segments

3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked

300g plain flour, sifted

2 tsps baking powder, sifted

blood orange syrup:

juice of 2 blood oranges

juice of 2 oranges

1 tbsp caster sugar

blood orange icing:

juice of 1 blood orange

320g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180℃ (fan), 200℃, gas mark 6 and grease a 9cm, 1.4 litre capacity bundt tin, or alternatively, grease and line a regular 22cm springform cake tin.

Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar for 10 mins until light and creamy. Add the Cointreau and the eggs and combine.

Whizz the blood orange, orange and rosemary in a food processor until the rosemary leaves are finely chopped and the oranges are blended to a pulp. Add to the butter and sugar mixture and beat together on low speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, beating between additions, until everything is well incorporated.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Meanwhile, to make the blood orange syrup, place the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 mins or until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has reduced by about a third. Keep warm until the cake is ready.

Leave the cake to cool a little before transferring it to a wire rack. Place a plate underneath the rack to catch any drips, then prick the top of the cake with a skewer and spoon the warm syrup over the cake and leave to be absorbed.

Make the icing by combining the blood orange juice and icing sugar until smooth. Drizzle the icing all over the cooled cake, then chill the iced cake in the fridge for 20 mins before serving.