It’s not until January arrives when I realize how much I love citrus fruits. Navel oranges are always great but cara cara oranges, pommelos, meyer lemons, and blood oranges are pretty spectacular citrus fruits. You can do so much with these fruits including juicing, turning them into jams, delicious sauces, and of course, eating them raw. Today I’m paying respect to one of my favorites, blood oranges, by turning them into a glorious dessert. This blood orange poppy seed cake is a twist on the classic lemon and poppy seed pairing. Finish the cake with a lovely blood orange glaze for one stunning dessert.

blood orange poppy seed cake

blood orange poppy seed cake


Blood Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Yields 1 loaf pan

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    Orange poppy seed cake
  • 2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp (18 grams) poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp blood orange zest (about 4-5 oranges)
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) blood orange juice
  • 1/3 cup (90 grams) Greek yogurt, plain
  • Blood orange glaze
  • 1 cup (114 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tbsp blood orange juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients including all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds.
  3. Combine sugar with orange zest. Rub the sugar with the orange zest to release the oils from the zest.
  4. Beat together the infused sugar with softened butter until creamed, light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating the egg before adding the next. Add the blood orange juice and yogurt and mix until well combined.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients just until mixed. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Bake the cake for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Make the blood orange glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar with 2-3 tbsp blood orange juice, adding just enough juice to achieve the right consistency. Pour the glaze over the cake. Slice and serve.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Slice into a blood orange and you just have to stop and take a picture. These oranges have a pleasantly sweet and tart flavor making them the perfect dessert fruit. We’re going to use every part of the fruit including the juice and zest to make the ultimate blood orange poppy seed cake.

Grate the blood oranges and rub them with sugar to release the oils in the zest. I have to say, this is my favorite part of the recipe. Just give the sugar a whiff and you’ll see what I mean. I would take a bath in this blood orange sugar if I could (not a bad spa idea, no?).

mise en place

The technique for making this blood orange poppy seed cake is pretty standard. Cream together the blood orange sugar with softened butter, add the eggs followed by the wet ingredients and stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. Pour the batter into a prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

pour batter into prepared loaf pan

Meanwhile, while the cake cools, make the blood orange glaze. You’ll be using about 4-5 oranges total for this recipe so make sure to save some juice for the glaze. Just whisk together sifted powdered sugar with enough blood orange juice to make a glaze. You don’t want it to be too runny, just thick enough to slowly trickle off the sides of the cake.

blood orange poppy seed cake

Go ahead and cut yourself a thick slice of the cake, you deserve it. I licked my plate clean, including every crumb and drop of icing. This cake is just all-around lovely with a generous amount of poppy seeds, just the way I like it. With just a hint of citrus and a touch of sweetness from the glaze, it hits the spot for an afternoon delight. Thank you blood oranges!

blood orange poppy seed cake


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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