Blood orange poppy seed cake is a tasty and beautiful dessert that’s sure to please your guests! This is a lovely dessert to make in the winter months.
Are you as fascinated with blood oranges as I am?
They’re just so beautiful with their deep red hue, and the sweet/tart flavor is so nice. I love to make fresh squeezed blood orange juice at this time of year. You can’t find a prettier glass of juice!
Fun fact: when blood oranges were first discovered in China, there were some pretty crazy accusations flying around – people thought the trees were poisoned, or that the oranges were actually injected with blood. Yikes. Thankfully it was just a spontaneous genetic mutation.
Are blood oranges healthier than regular oranges?
All oranges have a good dose of vitamin C, but because of their deep crimson hue, blood oranges have higher amounts of antioxidants. They’re a nice addition to smoothies, desserts, or just plain!
We love citrus poppy seed breads and cakes in our family, so I thought I’d try to make a blood orange poppy seed cake. It was delicious – the cake had a nice bright citrus flavor, and the orange slices on top add a pop of ruby red color.
What do blood oranges taste like?
Blood oranges are sweet and tart, and have a little bit of a berry flavor to them. The flavor of a blood orange is more intense than that of a regular orange.
If I can’t have poppy seeds, what should I use instead in this cake recipe?
You could use chia seeds if you wish, or just go ahead and leave all seeds out. The cake will still be delicious!
This blood orange poppy seed cake is:
- dairy free and vegan
- a great addition to a brunch or party
- a lovely way to use winter citrus fruit
Can I make this cake in a different type of pan?
Yes, you can make this cake in an 8-inch square or round pan. You could also try cupcakes – but the baking time will be less. Try 18-22 minutes for cupcakes. Orange poppy seed cupcakes would be delicious frosted with dairy free buttercream frosting.
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Blood Orange Poppy Seed Cake.
A fun twist on a classic recipe - this blood orange poppy seed cake has a bright citrus flavor!
- 1½ cups white spelt flour or all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup cold water
- ½ cup organic canola oil or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed blood orange juice
- ½ Tablespoon blood orange zest
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 blood orange sliced thin
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
Whisk the spelt flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, orange zest, and poppy seeds together in a large bowl.
Add the canola oil, blood orange juice, and water and mix until blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Lay the blood orange slices on top of the batter.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes until the edges are lightly golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool completely before serving.
Store leftover cake in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It should stay fresh for up to 4 days.
If you can't have poppy seeds, go ahead and leave them out.
I have not made this recipe with gluten free flour, so I'm not sure how well it will work.
This post was originally published in February 2015. It has been updated with new photos and tips.
I am a complete disaster when it comes to baking. I am not vegan nor allergic but I was actually looking for a simple dessert recipe that had a few ingredients so I thought I’d try this one. It was so simple, pretty and yummy!
My cake however got stuck to the bottom of the tin… was I supposed to just grease it more, or is there a way to take the cake out that I don’t know about? Again, I hardly have ANY baking experience so please just tell me how you take a cake out of the tin smoothly? Thank you xx
Sorry your cake got stuck! Next time you could try putting a circle of parchment paper down and then greasing that. If your pan isn’t non-stick, that should help.
made it with coconut sugar (powder) and slightly undercooked the cake, and was really taste!!! did the same with the lemon cake, eveyone adores it at home! finally a vegan cake without cacao.
Wonderful! So glad you liked it!
Hi! I love this recipe! I had all the ingredients except blood oranges, I was completely out. Luckily,I had plenty of organic lemons lying around so I used them instead and made a classic lemon poppy seed cake, came out great! I’ll definitely make this with blood oranges next time, thanks for the great recipe. :-)
Oooh, that sounds really good! Thansk for letting me know you liked it! I appreciate the feedback! :)
Can you eat the peels on the blood oranges that are baked into the top of the cake?
I wouldn’t, because I think they would be kind of bitter. I don’t usually eat orange peel unless it is organic, and it has been candied. :)
Thanks, Kelly. I thought that baking them (and since they are embedded in the top of the cake), they might be edible, unlike with raw oranges. Even if they were, I agree with you about not eating the outside of non-organic produce, and I have not found organic blood oranges, that often.
I don’t use canola oil, any substitutions?
Vegetable oil or refined coconut oil should work just fine!
This cake is so pretty! Love the colors of the blood orange!
Katie @ Produce On Parade
What a beautiful cake! I loved your little factoid about blood oranges! I just had a couple come in my CSA box, but they were totally orange, not red! :(
Thank you, Katie! How did the orange blood oranges taste?
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits
I had no clue that blood oranges came from China! They add such a wonderful pop to this cake!
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely
I just love blood oranges. The color is so pretty! This cake is just perfect Kelly : )
Sarah@Whole and Heavenly Oven
This cake is absolutely gorgeous, Kelly! I love love that you combined both blood oranges and poppyseeds. Soo pretty. :)
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
What a gorgeous cake, Kelly! I’ve never tried blood oranges before, so I need to get on that asap. Sounds delish!
It seems as though we both had poppy seeds on the mind! I like the addition of blood oranges…can’t get enough of em either!
We certainly did! Your bread looks so delicious, too, Caitlin!
Strength and Sunshine
Blood oranges beat normal oranges!
For sure, right?
Oh my … this looks and sounds positively delish! I too adore blood oranges!
Thanks so much!
This cake looks delicious and beautiful! Wish I had some right now!
Wow yum I need to try this out! Thank you looks amazing :)
You should try it! It’s easy to make!
Haha! I didn’t know that about the Chinese…that’s funny. Those cheeky little blood oranges, causing all the confusion….
This cake looks ah-maaaay-zing!! I love the citrus/poppy seed combo too and would love a hunk of this for breakfast!!