Blood oranges are in season in California. I never know if I should eat them or just look at them. Beautifully mottled in crimson on the outside, and strikingly hued in magenta, orange and burgundy within, they are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
Native to Sicily, these orange gems have found their way around the world to eager consumers. In the US they grow from December to May, and now is the time to indulge in these citrus wonders. Tart and sweet with a hint of raspberry, their unique flavor complements sweet and savory dishes.
This week we have been in blood orange heaven. I received 2 brimming bags of blood oranges from a friend who has a grove of citrus trees on her property. It’s all she can do to harvest all of her fruit, and is always looking for takers. How could I say no? Aside from eating the fruit straight up and juiced, blood oranges have found their way into salads, salsas, sauces and dressings in our meals of late. Yesterday I made a Blood Orange and Olive Oil Cake, not only with the citrus from my friend’s property, but with the olive oil her family makes from their olive trees. With all this homegrown love, I immediately thought of GYO: Grow Your Own, the foodblogging event created by Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this month by House of Annie. This is my contribution: Happy Spring!
Blood Orange and Olive Oil Cake
Makes one loaf
Finely grated zest of two blood oranges
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fruity olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C. Butter a loaf pan. Add zest to sugar in a large bowl and mix well to incorporate. Stir in buttermilk and juice. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl. Whisk into eggs. Fold in olive oil a little at a time. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until golden on top and center of a knife comes clean when inserted in the middle, about 1 hour. Remove and cool on rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. The flavors will develop if the cake can sit for several hours or overnight.