Adapted from Maialino's Olive Oil cake as part of Recipe Off-Roading, I wanted a cake whose grassy, summertime olive oil flavour would play off of the soft floral sweetness of blood oranges. Already not a particularly kid-friendly cake, I added a good glug of Cointreau to both the cake and the syrup to make it more of an afternoon snack than a breakfast treat. The finished product is a perfect treat for any time you can get your hands on blood oranges, with just the right balance of fragrant, subtle flavours that are better together than the sum of their parts would have you believe. —Blair
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a deep 9-inch round pan, lay a sheet of parchment on the bottom, and artfully lay out your blood orange slices however you'd like them to be on the bottom of the pan.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, milk, eggs, zest, blood orange juice and Cointreau.
Add the dry ingredients in two parts, whisking to combine after each addition. Pour the batter gently into the prepared pan, without disturbing your orange slices on the bottom.
Bake for 1 hour, but start checking for doneness at 50 minutes. Top should be a deep caramel brown, and a cake tester should come out clean but oiled. Allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a rack and cooling fully for at least an hour.
Blood Orange Glaze
While cake is baking, make the glaze. Stir together juice and sugar in a pot over low heat until sugar has dissolved.
Add orange flower water and rose water and allow to simmer very gently until reduced to a syrupy consistency that coats the back of a spoon. Turn off heat, stir in the Cointreau, and set aside.
After cake comes out of oven, allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before glazing. If syrup mixture has thickened too much, warm it up briefly until just loose enough to brush onto cake, then pour slowly onto cake, making sure to cover the orange slices on the top of the finished cake. Cool completely, then serve with a dollop of creme fraiche on each slice.