Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Easy, moist and delicious, this cake has a light citrus taste matched with a rich olive oil flavor. It’s worthy of a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner but is also perfect for afternoon teatime!

With blood oranges at their peak season right now, I’ve been going blood orange crazy and buying pounds every week. 

Of course, their fragrant taste is lovely and their antioxidant powers are wonderful, but as a food photographer, I am particularly drawn to their beautiful flesh. #eatingforinstagram 

Plus, I realized that if you mix the vibrant red juice from the orange with something white, it turns pink. I think that’s how colors work. Hence this beautiful pink frosting, made with just three ingredients.

I thought of combining blood oranges and olive oil after making a super tasty blood orange vinaigrette with blood orange juice and extra virgin olive oil (and, of course, after doing some recipe inspiration searching online). I then found a recipe for a blood orange rosemary cocktail (a recipe from a magazine I found on an airplane and then took a screenshot of on my iPhone) and decided to throw in some fresh rosemary into the batter. 

The combination of olive oil and rosemary sounds like more of a savory cake, and it does have slight grassy, earthy notes, but the sugar in the cake (and in the frosting) make it clear this is a cake above anything else. 

Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

For this cake, I am going to channel by inner Barefoot Contessa and recommend that you use a high-quality, fruity extra virgin olive oil, as you are using a decent quantity and the flavor will come through a bit. A good-quality olive oil will lend this cake a light freshness reminiscent of spring. 

This recipe makes enough batter for 1 9 inch layer cake, so if you want a double decker cake, feel free to double the recipe. Even though the frosting is my favorite part of the cake (hello, look at that color), I must admit that it is totally optional. The cake is pretty delicious on its own and if you’re watching your sugar intake, feel free to omit the frosting. Without the frosting, it makes the perfect slightly sweet afternoon teatime cake. With the frosting, it makes the perfect decadent treat for Valentine’s Day. Or, you know, for an Instagram photo.

Happy almost Valentine’s Day, kids! Hope you enjoy this recipe! 

Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
blood orange cake - updated 2020 (1 of 4).jpg

Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary

  • 3/4 cup organic granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons blood orange zest (roughly 3-4 blood oranges)

  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice

  • 1/4 cup coconut yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 flax eggs (for 1 flax egg, mix together 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 2 1/2 tablespoons water, stir and let sit for 10-15 minutes to thicken)

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Blood Orange Icing (see below)

Directions

  1. Prepare the flax eggs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9 inch cake pan, or line it with parchment paper for easy removal.

  2. In a large bowl, grate the zest from blood oranges until you have 3 tablespoons. Add the sugar and mix together using a fork or your fingers until the zest is evenly mixed into the sugar.

  3. Juice one of the zested oranges until you have 2 tablespoons and pour into a small bowl. Add the coconut yogurt and whisk to combine. Pour into the sugar mixture and whisk well to thoroughly combine.

  4. Then gently whisk in the vanilla extract and the flax eggs.

  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and rosemary.

  6. Gently whisk the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until no large clumps remain.

  7. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the olive oil a little at a time. Scrape the batter into pan and smooth out the surface.

  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, top with Blood Orange Icing.

Blood Orange Icing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar

  • 4-6 tbsp blood orange juice

  • 2-3 tablespoons plant-based milk

Directions

  1. Start with 4 tablespoons of blood orange juice and whisk with the powdered sugar until thick and smooth. If If you want the icing to be darker in color, add more blood orange juice.

  2. Whisk in plant-based milk, one tablespoon at a time until you have a thick yet pourable consistency.

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36 comments on Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

  1. fayaz

    . You can gather some more information on this bloghttps://uscitrus.com/blogs/citrus-simplified/tagged/blood-orange-tree

  2. Archana

    Hi Nisha … this blood orange looks soo stunning.The cake is tempting. We need to meet when I come there as we don’t get that here. Hugs n love 💕

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thank you Archana Foi! I would love to make this cake for you :) Hugs to you!

  3. Cynthia

    Hi Nisha! I’ll be making this beautiful cake this weekend. Question: did you dry out the orange slices at all before putting them on the cake, or are these fresh slices? I’m obsessed with how this looks.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Cynthia! I’m so glad to hear that! The slices on the cake are fresh but just for decoration :) If you want to add slices to the top, I think drying them out would be tastier and easier to eat :)
      Heat oven to 200 F Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the orange slices, dust with a little sugar (brown, granulated or powdered) and let dehydrate in the oven for about 2 hours, flipping once halfway through.

  4. Nicolle

    Do you think this cake would work with gluten free all purpose flour? : )

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Nicolle! Yes, it should work :) It will be a little denser but should still come together :)

  5. Jess @choosingchia

    Wow this cake is stunning Nisha! I can’t believe how beautiful the colour of the blood orange is too!

    1. Nisha Vora

      aww thank you, Jess! Blood oranges have the PRETTIEST color ever!

  6. Dee | Green Smoothie Gourmet

    Oh Nisha, I love what you have done here with olive oil and blood orange, and that pour shot is so very pretty, I want to reach and catch it! Thank you for sharing! Dee xx

    1. Nisha Vora

      thank you so much, Dee! So happy you love the cake and the pour shot. love that description :)

  7. The Vegan 8

    This is such a beautiful cake Nisha! Love, love those oranges and pink icing. Olive oil cakes and rosemary are divine. It’s been years since I’ve had an olive oil cake. Really enjoyed these vibrant photos!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Aww thank you Brandi! You are so sweet! I love the uniqueness of an olive oil cake – it feels more grown up and sophisticated somehow :)

  8. Freja

    I have never tried a cake with olive oil and rosemary before but it sounds delicious! And the frosting is so beautiful!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Freja! Thank you for your comment! It’s a very unique flavor and not too sweet :)

  9. Ela

    OMG, I am so in love with the very first shot! You HAVE to share it on Instagram! It’s seriously perfection. And this cake looks super delicious btw :)

    1. Nisha Vora

      Aww Ela! So kind of you to say. I will share it in the future. Wish I could share this cake with you too!

  10. nadia

    What a stunning cake and so perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other day for that matter :D Love the cute pink frosting :)

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thank you for your lovely words, Nadia! I love the pink frosting too :)

  11. Natalie | Feasting on Fruit

    Contessa…I mean Nisha, this cake is beautiful and you are definitely making the very most of winter citrus season here! I love cakes and desserts with a savory or salty side–so much more interesting (and, not gonna lie, it makes me feel mature to say that lol). And I know you said the frosting is optional, but that epic first shot is saying otherwise😍

    1. Nisha Vora

      Aww thank you for your lovely comment, Natalie! Five years ago, I definitely wouldn’t have been interested in an olive oil cake, but I think you’re right – my more mature palate is ready for this haha. Glad you like the first shot!

  12. Mead Jones

    So I made the cake today for my partner’s birthday this evening 😊 Haven’t made the icing yet and was curious about the pour consistency. How would I ice the sides, or do the sides get icing?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Mead! I’m so happy you made the cake! What a special bday treat :) You can just pour the icing over the cake and let it dribble over. No need to apply the icing to every section of the cake since it’s quite sweet. You can kind of see in the last photo that the icing isn’t evenly distributed around the sides. Hope that helps and enjoy the cake!

  13. Amanda Shaw

    That pour shot of the pink frosting is so good! I didn’t know you could make pink frosting out of blood oranges, that’s so cool.

    1. Nisha Vora

      So happy you like the pour shot – those are always the hardest. Blood oranges have the PRETTIEST color :)

  14. Janet

    I can’t stop staring at this gorgeous cake! I love an olive oil cake, it’s a nice change from heavy butter cakes. Thanks for sharing this, I must try it soon!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hey Janet! Thank you so much for stopping by and so happy you like the cake. The olive oil is such a nice change from traditional cakes, it adds a nice freshness!

  15. Noelle~ Too Precious For Processed

    What a beautiful work of art! I love how you combined the blood oranges with some rosemary. There is just something so special about adding a little savory with something sweet. I’m looking forward to baking this cake for my family :)

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment, Noelle! I totally agree – a little bit of savoriness can really elevate a dessert. Thank you!

  16. Sierra

    umm this cake is incredible! going to make it asap! thanks for the gorgeous recipe.

    1. Nisha Vora

      haha thanks Sierra! I hope you do give it a try :)

  17. Amy C.

    Wowwww! This cake is unbelievably gorgeous, Nisha! I love the blood orange + olive oil combo. You are brilliant!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Amy! So happy you think so. I love the fusion of blood oranges and olive oil :)

  18. Bianca Zapatka

    This is such a beautiful cake! Love the colors and styling so much 😍 and i‘m very sure it also tastes delicious 😋

  19. Bianca Zapatka

    This is such a beautiful cake! Love the colors and styling so much 😍 and i‘m very sure it also tastes delicious 😋

    1. Nisha Vora

      Aww thanks Bianca! I really appreciate it! Big hugs to you!

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