Make Ahead

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Candied Pistachios

March 16, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 1 9" x 5" loaf
Author Notes

I was inspired to make this cake after being disappointed by the highly regarded olive oil cake at a nearby coffeeshop and also by the plethora of out-of-the-ordinary citrus fruits available in NYC only at this time of year. —raspberryeggplant

Test Kitchen Notes

The cake came out moist, not too sweet, lightly flavored with orange notes, and genuinely original in concept. Note: I only needed two oranges (6 ounces each) to achieve the amount of juice called for, and the instructions for including the reserved zest are missing. I lined the pan with parchment which made it really easy to remove from the pan and eliminated the floury coating on the outside of the cake. I was concerned about trying to cut through a brittle topping into a delicate cake, so I made the candied pistachios, cooled the mixture, then broke it up in a bag with a meat pounder into small pieces, then sprinkled and patted that on top. The little explosions of sugared nuts mingled with moist bites of cake proved that the results are worth the extra effort. Flavor intensifies each day. I would gladly make this cake again. - Amber Olson —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the cake
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • For the candied pistachios
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup shelled raw pistachios
  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9” × 5” loaf pan with a little bit of olive oil and flour and set aside.
  2. Finely grate the zest of two oranges and set aside. Zest the third orange into a separate bowl and save the zest for another use.
  3. Supreme two of the oranges over a large bowl and cut each segment in half, reserving the pieces in a separate small bowl. Squeeze as much juice as possible out of the remaining orange membranes into the bowl. Cut the remaining orange in half and juice it into the bowl. Pour all of the juice into a glass measuring cup – you should have a little more than ¼ cup.
  4. Add whole milk to make ¾ cup of liquid and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil and whisk well to combine.
  5. If using a large measuring cup, add the eggs, sugar, and zest and whisk well to combine. If using a small measuring cup, transfer the juice mixture back to the original bowl before adding the eggs and sugars.
  6. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the wet ingredients and whisk until all the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth.
  7. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 65 minutes.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the cake from the pan after 20 minutes and cool completely on the rack.
  9. Make the candied pistachios: Put the sugar in a small heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and has turned a medium amber color, about 5 minutes.
  10. While the sugar is heating, toast the pistachios by spreading them in a single layer on a large plate and microwaving on high power for 1 minute. [Alternately, you can toast the pistachios in the oven after the cake is done – toast at 325 for about 5 minutes, just until the nuts are fragrant.] When the pistachios are cool, coarsely chop them.
  11. When the sugar has turned amber, remove the pan from the heat, stir in the pistachios, pour the mixture over the cake, and spread with a silicone spatula. You will need to work quickly otherwise the sugar will set. Let the cake rest for at least 20 minutes before serving. [Note: the pistachios will be very crisp the first day, but within a few days, they will soften up from the moisture from the cake – they still taste great and the cake is a bit easier to cut.]

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • raspberryeggplant
  • Amber Olson
    Amber Olson
  • Happygoin
  • Bake Me That
    Bake Me That

8 Reviews

Happygoin February 20, 2016
I'm with c_lynn....why do the instructions make you supreme, segment etc if you're not going to use them?? I just zested the oranges and then reamed them out and used the juice. The cake came out wonderful. Excellent flavor. Great recipe, iffy instructions.
Bake M. July 9, 2014
amber: did you put the candied pistachio pieces on before or after baking the cake?
C_lynn December 11, 2010
Wait so do you ever add the blood orange segments back in ?
raspberryeggplant April 1, 2010
Thanks for the pick!

Also, thanks for pointing out that I left out the instructions for the zest - it should be mixed in with the wet ingredients (but I'm sure you figured that out!).

As for the juice, I've found that one orange isn't *quite* enough for 1/4 cup of juice which is why I also squeeze the remaining membranes after cutting the segments from the 2 oranges.
Amber O. April 2, 2010
You're welcome! Ate the last slice this morning with coffee and it was the tastiest piece of the whole delicious loaf. Congrats!
Amber O. March 26, 2010
Thanks bunches! I could get lost for some time in those videos but will make sure to visit when I need concise answers!
Amber O. March 25, 2010
Please define your concept of "supreme an orange" for me. I thought that term was used for chicken breasts!
raspberryeggplant March 25, 2010
Here's a video on how to supreme citrus and here are step-by-step photos

Hope that helps!