The blood orange's citrusy, floral, tart flavour is the star in this soft and subtly sweet ricotta cake. Each bite creates a beautiful balance between the tangy fruit and the soft cake texture. Don't have blood oranges? You can use Cara Cara or Navel oranges, even Tangerines!
Make sure your oven rack is placed on the middle shelf and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Brush your 10-inch springform pan with enough melted butter to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Add 3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour and tap flour around the pan to cover the entire surface area. Flip the springform pan over and tap out excess flour into a large bowl or your sink.
Zest 2 of the blood oranges with a Microplane zester (or a small cheese grater) and set aside in a small bowl for now.
Trim the top and bottom of the blood orange with a sharp knife. Then cut off the peel all around the orange including the pith (the white spongy part). This should leave you with just the fruit. Do this for all 5 oranges.
Cut 3 of the oranges into 1-inch cubes and set them aside in a bowl. Slice the remaining 2 oranges into 1/2-inch thick round slices and set them aside in a bowl for now. Remove any seeds that may be present with the tip of your knife.
Make the cake
To release the fragrant aroma from the blood oranges, add the white sugar and orange zest to the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix the sugar and orange zest on low speed with the paddle attachment for 3 minutes until the zest’s oil is infused into the sugar and has tinted the sugar a faint yellow colour.
On low speed, add one egg at a time into the sugar, adding the egg after each one is fully incorporated. Pause your mixer and scrape down the bowl with a spatula in between each addition. Then continue mixing the sugar and egg mix on medium speed for another 2 minutes.
Add ricotta cheese and vanilla sugar (or extract) to the mixer bowl and combine on medium-low speed for 1 minute.
Remove the mixer bowl from your stand mixer and place a largemesh strainer over the mixer bowl. Fill the strainer with all-purpose flour and baking powder. Shake the strainer to filter the dry flour mix into the bowl. Add salt and fold together all of the ingredients with a spatula, until just combined.
Melt cold, cubed butter in the microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time. Stir the butter in between heating until the butter has melted enough and fold it into the batter.
Add the cubed blood oranges and briefly fold them into the batter being careful not to overmix to avoid discolouring the batter. Lastly, add room temperature milk and fold it into the batter until just combined.
Pour cake batter into the pan and smooth it into an even layer with your spatula. Layer blood orange slices 1-inch apart on top and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar all around the cake surface. Skip the turbinado sugar if you do not have any.
Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes until the cake is golden brown or a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes. Then use a wooden skewer to run it along the edge of the cake. Open the springform and carefully remove it from the cake. Cool the cake for another 15 to 20 minutes before sprinkling icing sugar on the cake with a mesh strainer. Serve it with whipped cream or enjoy it as is.
What type of oranges can I use?You can use Cara Cara, Navel, or Blood oranges. Other types you can also try are Tangerines, Clementines, or Kumquats. Since my cake recipe is not sweet, you may need to adjust the amount of sugar added to accommodate the type of orange you are using. Some oranges may be more sour than others.Notes:
Not sure how to zest an orange? I like to use this Microplane zester and 'rub' the orange in a straight line 2 times against the zester before shifting it over and repeating the same step. Do not drag the orange more than 2 times against the zester as that will grate into the orange's spongy white (not to mention bitter) rind, also known as the pith. We only want the outside part of the fragrant peel.