I love a loaf cake and this blood orange loaf cake is one of my favourites. It’s absolutely bursting with flavour and incredibly simple to make with the added bonus of a 2 ingredient icing that’s just poured over the cooled cake.

If you love loaf cakes too, try this quick chocolate bread and this coconut and raspberry cake.

Slices of orange loaf cake surrounded by candied oranges.

Why you’ll love it

A sweet, sunshiny orange hit and the prettiest naturally pink icing, this blood orange loaf cake can’t help but make you happy.

  • Sweet but bright
  • Moist and fluffy
  • Perfect for dessert or morning / afternoon tea
  • Easy to make – no layering this cake!
  • A 2 ingredient icing
  • Swap for regular oranges when blood oranges are out of season

With oil and yoghurt in the batter this blood orange loaf cake is moist and stays that way for days. The flavour also tends to intensify by the next day.

Ingredients you’ll need

This gorgeous citrus loaf cake uses simple everyday ingredients. While blood oranges have a short season, you can use normal oranges here and if you want to keep the pink icing, try my pomegranate icing.

Ingredients for blood orange loaf cake on a marble benchtop.

Detailed quantities and directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Oranges: this cake is made using blood oranges. They have a short season but their beautiful colour and flavour are perfect for this cake. Feel free to use regular all-year-round oranges if you can’t get them.
  • Sugar: Use white granulated or caster (superfine) sugar for this cake.  
  • Flour: You just want regular plain or all-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder: This leavens the cake (makes it rise). Don’t confuse this with baking soda as they don’t act the same.
  • Salt: Just a touch of salt is a good way to intensify flavours.
  • Oil: The oil keeps this cake moist. Use a light flavoured extra virgin olive oil or another neutral flavoured vegetable oil, like sunflower or rice bran.
  • Greek yoghurt: The Greek yoghurt in this cake is used to keep the cake moist and tender. You can swap it for sour cream.
  • Eggs: I use large free range eggs in all my baking.
  • Butter: A little butter combined with the oil adds richness and also flavour.
  • Icing sugar: You may know this as powdered sugar. This is used for the 2 ingredient icing.

How to make orange cake (summary)

With no creaming of butter and sugar, this blood orange loaf cake is very easy to make.

A collage of 6 images showing how to make the orange loaf cake.

See the recipe card below for the full recipe details.

  1. The dry ingredients: Start by mixing and pressing together the zest and sugar to bring out the oils (photos 1 & 2). Now add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together to combine evenly.
  2. The wet ingredient: Now combine the wet ingredients in another bowl (photo 3) and whisk well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients (photo 4) and gently mix together with a spatula.
  3. Bake: Pour the batter into the lined tin (photo 5) and level out (photo 6) then bake.
  4. The icing: The simple icing is just a case of mixing together icing sugar and blood orange juice until you have a pourable consistency.

I topped this pretty cake off with my candied orange slices. If you wanted to make it even more special, you could swirl orange curd through the batter the same way I did with raspberries in this coconut raspberry cake.

A hand placing a candied orange slice on a loaf cake

Tips and tricks

  • The right oranges: Pick oranges that are bright and smell ripe. Make sure the skin is unblemished as you will use the zest in this orange loaf cake.
  • Don’t overmix the batter: If you mix it more than needed you may risk ending up with a tough cake. Once you combine the wet and dry ingredients just gently fold together with a silicone spatula until just combined.
  • The right tin: I use an 8×4 inch (6 cup capacity) loaf tin for this recipe. Make sure to grease and line it with baking paper to make removing the cake easy.
  • Let it cool before icing: If you ice the cake while still hot, the icing will run straight off and also start soaking into the cake, so make sure the cake is cool before icing.
  • Check for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out with just a crumb or two attached it’s ready.
  • All ovens vary: This means a cake that takes 50 minutes in my oven might take 45 or 55 in yours. Try to place the pan right in the centre of your oven and turn it at the halfway mark so that it bakes evenly.

Which oranges to use?

For this cake I’ve used blood oranges. They have a short season here in Australia, normally at the end of winter – it’s about 6 weeks running between August and October. In the US, they can be available anywhere from November through to May, depending on your exact location.

If blood oranges aren’t in season, feel free to use navel or valencia oranges.  

Storing orange loaf cake

This blood orange loaf cake is best stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days. It will remain moist and the flavour actually intensifies by day 2.

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Top down view of an orange loaf cake with slices cut from it.

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Top down view of an orange loaf cake with slices cut from it.

Blood Orange Loaf Cake

5 from 2 votes
Light, moist and fluffy, this blood orange loaf cake is bursting with orange flavour and so easy to make. Just two bowls for the cake mix and a simple 2 ingredient blood orange icing, this moist orange cake is always a winner.

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar (200g / 7oz)
  • 2 tablespoons not packed, blood orange zest (3-4 oranges)
  • 260 g plain (all purp) flour (2 cups / 9.1oz)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 113 g unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly (½ cup / 4oz)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (60ml)
  • ½ cup blood orange juice (125ml)
  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt (125ml)

THE ICING

  • 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons blood orange juice, from the reddest ones
  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar (195g / 7oz)

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease then line an 8×4 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, work the sugar and zest together with your fingertips to release the oils from the zest.
  • To the same bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, orange juice, melted butter, oil and yoghurt.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to gently combine just until there are no lumps left.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for around 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out just clean. Watch it carefully towards the end as loaf cakes can have a tendency to over-bake quickly.
  • Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before using the edges of the baking paper on the long sides to lift it out. Finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • Once cooled, mix together the icing sugar and orange juice and drizzle the icing over the top.
  • Top with candied orange slices for a stunning finish.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugarKitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens vary – check for doneness 8-10 minutes before the recipe suggests.
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