Okay, I’m going to be real.  I am craving this lemon loaf cake almost every single day that I am not actually having it, which sadly is most days.  Recently I was craving it while also thinking about the beauty of blood oranges (as we all do at some point during the day, right?  Anyone? Bueller?) and it hit me.  Combine the two.  Best of both worlds.  Blood orange loaf cake.

I love this cake because of its simple elegance, and the intense orange flavor that comes from three doses of orange – in the cake itself, the soaking syrup and the glaze.  Even more if you add the candied orange slices on top.

My kids…well, they just love it because of the pink icing. Who am I kidding?  I love that too.


For the cake:

  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. grated blood orange zest
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 16 tbsp. (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the syrup:

  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

For the glaze: 

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

For the candied orange slices:

  • 1 blood orange, preferably organic
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water


  • 01

    To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, orange zest and orange juice.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the melted butter.  On low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until combined.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, again just until incorporated.

  • 02

    Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.  Bake 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and reduce the oven temperature to 325˚ F.  Continue baking 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan at least 15-20 minutes.

  • 03

    Turn the cake out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.  To make the orange syrup, combine the sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, cooking just until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Poke the top of the warm cake all over with a toothpick or skewer and pour the orange syrup over the top.

  • 04

    To make the candied orange slices, wash and dry the orange thoroughly.  Cut the orange in half lengthwise, then use a sharp serrated knife to make very thin slices of orange.  Poke out any seeds in the slices with a toothpick.  Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves.  Add the orange slices to the mixture so that they are in a single layer (none overlapping), reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer about 20 minutes, turning the slices at least once so both sides are candied.  Remove from the heat.  Store in a container with the syrup until ready to use.

  • 05

    When the cake is completely cool, combine the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and whisk to blend until smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed with additional juice or confectioners’ sugar.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake and garnish with the candied orange slices.  Let stand briefly until the glaze sets.  Slice and serve.

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    You rocked this recipe! I love the look of the gorgeous icing – and overall, this cake looks perfect. Love!

  • annieseats

    Thank you!

  • Emma

    The beauty of this cake took my breath away! Particularly the third photo down from the top. Just gorgeous. It’s settled — I’m making this cake this weekend!

  • Valerie @ Pursuit of Sweetness

    This loaf takes my breath away! Those candied slices? Gorgeous, Annie! Citrus isn’t something I crave as much as chocolate; but when I go crave it, it’s all I want :)

  • Lisa @ Je suis alimentageuse

    Yum this looks absolutely AMAZING. I’ve always been a little apprehensive about candying citrus. I tried to “dry” them in the past but I don’t think I cooked them enough to harden. Womp. I like that these look soft still =) Gorgeous loaf!!

  • marcie @ flavor the moments

    This is such a gorgeous cake! Those blood oranges and icing are so pretty.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    This is such a beautiful dessert!

  • Angela

    Loving the beautiful colors! I think Ill make this for Valentines Day…

  • Absolutely Gorgeous, Annie! My inner girl is squealing looking at these pictures.

  • You had me with the pink icing :)

  • Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Did you say soaking syrup? I’m trying to think of ways to incorporate this idea into my life…I’m thinking pancakes, scones, maybe my toothbrush? Yum.

  • ellysaysopa

    This cake is insanely gorgeous.

  • The way the orange slices look on the individual slices?! I LOVE IT! Now I’m craving this too!

  • Amelia

    Stunning, Annie. I’m pretty sure that the last photo needs to be submitted to Martha Stewart. It’s perfect! :)

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much!

  • annieseats

    Thanks Elly!

  • Danae

    Exquisite! Wow! We lived in AZ and had a blood orange tree. They are so special and you showcased it so beautifully!

  • Ashley

    Annie, would you recommend storing this cake at room temperature for leftovers or in the refrigerator? Thanks so much!

  • Kelli Z

    Is this the pink cake Rowan had at his sleepover? :) I’m jealous!

  • Jennifer Drummond

    Wow Annie! Your loaf cake looks just amazing!!! I am soooooo making this!!

  • tigerlille

    What a beautiful thing!

  • I have definitely caught the citrus bug lately! Mostly with grapefruit, but also blood oranges. This loaf looks pretty perfectional.

  • this is divine. I hope you will share it at my hop today, Hugs!

  • Rosanna

    I love the colors, Annie!!! The photography is great and I bet the loaf taste delicious as well.

  • annieseats

    It is indeed :)

  • annieseats

    It’s probably fine either way. We have stored it at room temp.

  • anon

    That is gorgeous!

  • Tracy

    Beautiful! The pink frosting is stunning!

  • ElisabethTurner

    I just got some blood oranges, perfect timing!

  • Guest

    would the rind not be bitter? I dont usually eat rind.

  • annieseats

    It would be if it weren’t candied.

  • Annie this is just gorgeous! Pinned! I love the images and of course the recipe!

  • Alice Choi

    this is just spectacular and gorgeous!! love!

  • This has to be the prettiest cake I’ve ever seen. Yeah, I picked up some blood oranges last week even though citrus is literally falling from the sky here in Phoenix just because they are so pretty.

  • Vasu

    What a beautiful looking cake! I agree with another commenter – this would be perfect on Valentine’s day :)

    How many blood oranges did you end up using for it? Also, how can you tell when the orange slices have been candied?

  • This cake is SOOOOO beautiful!!!

  • Kathleen

    Gorgeous cake! I’m snowed in today and am going to attempt.

  • Julie Jones

    ty annie only after my post did i realize what a dummie i am of course its candied!!! cant wait to make this for my next event

  • Laura Dembowski

    Candied orange slices are just awesome! I have never baked with blood oranges, but I need to get on that.

  • Jennifer Sauer

    Mmmmmm. Couldn’t source blood oranges out here on the prairie so I used some Meyer Lemons. Don’t know if I’ll be able to wait until after supper to cut into this. Perhaps I will with a spot of tea and the next installment of Downton. LOL. Thanks for a fun bake!

  • annieseats

    Thank you!

  • annieseats

    I think I used about 2 or 3 total, though I can’t remember for sure. If you make sure your orange slices are very thin and just follow the candying instructions I included, they will be fine. Enjoy!

  • Meg

    I wanted to comment as soon as I had it assembled, but waited until I could comment on the flavor. And oh am I glad I waited. The taste is AMAZING. So moist and flavorful. Sweet but not too sweet. Perfectly bright. The icing is divine. My dad said this is one of the absolute best desserts he’s ever had, and this — coming from a man who has dined all over the world at some of the finest restaurants — is quite a compliment. And I must agree with him. Sooo good. And sooo beautiful! I wasn’t sure about the candied orange slices, but they too were yummy, even though I wasn’t able to get my slices as thin as yours. This was my first time using blood oranges, and certainly won’t be my last. This recipe is a total keeper! Unbelievably delicious, simple enough to prepare, and a total show stopper to look at — perfection!

    P.S. Thanks for liking my Instagram pic! Made my day! (Well, that and eating this for dessert ; )

  • annieseats

    Wow! That is high praise :) So glad it was a hit!

  • MaryLou

    Made this last weekend and it was beautiful! I purchased a bag of blood oranges and found your recipe. It turned out perfectly, down to the candied orange slices for the top. I love the pink glaze; would make the perfect Valentine’s dessert!

  • Shannon Hirstein

    Made this. It was wonderful! Great presentation and fun recipe. The hard part is not eating the entire thing. I made it last night during a snow storm event here in WI and it was great with coffee in the morning! :). Recipe is a keeper. All your recipes are keepers! Thank you for sharing!

  • Hi Annie. I have been following your blog silently for some time and love everything about it… especially the super dessert recipes. My favorite being citrus flavored sweets such as this one. Just wanted to send a virtual high-five and say thanks for the recipes. Amazing =)

  • annieseats

    Thanks Kerri! Much appreciated :)

  • Nicky Bethell

    I’m from the UK and would like to know what per cup size/measurement should I use?


  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page regarding conversions. Thanks!

  • SandraM

    Made this on the weekend and it was delicious! So nice with the blood oranges. Today I had to pull out the Baked cookbook and bake the original lemon loaf recipe.☺

  • AD

    I made this tonight and it tastes delicious. A critical part is the poking scattered holes in the top with a toothpick like it says. Then when you put the drizzle on top it seeps into the first centimeter of the top of the bread and makes it extra moist. You’ll see what I mean ;)
    I think I used 3 medium-large blood oranges total. If you have the chance to just buy a bag of them do that because snacking on rest is the best.