breakfast citrus loaf cakes

blood orange loaf cake

its officially winter and citrus is having its moment. grab a few blood oranges, some lemons and make this simple and simply stunning quick bread. perfectly balanced between tart, sweet, light with the right amount of crumb, this will be a new winter favorite!

citrus season is finally here and i could not be more excited!! as i venture deeper into the world of food photography and recipe development, its become a beloved routine of mine- waiting on seasonal favorites to make their way to the grocery stores. i’ve been on the hunt for blood oranges for a month or so. sure, there are oranges available year round, but now is when the more beautiful ones come out! this blood orange loaf cake brings all the beauty of this citrus and really let’s it shine!

how this loaf cake became a recipe

as a food blogger, aesthetics matter just as much as how a dish tastes. in my opinion, you can’t ask for a more striking citrus than moro blood and cara cara oranges. they are my absolute favorite! im a sucker for pink and red citrus. as you can imagine, i was incredibly delighted to spot a whole four blood oranges a couple of weeks ago. you can bet i bought them all and felt like I had just won the lottery. 🙂 thankfully, you can now find them in abundance at most grocery stores. no hunting for you lucky ducks.

this recipe came about in a very familiar way- tweaked from several other versions of banana, pumpkin, etc. each time, figuring out what changes lead to different results. for this particular incarnation, my daughter asked to make blueberry bread. with it being the middle of winter and no good blueberries around, I had to let her know that wasn’t happening. then my mind went to the whole four blood oranges we had and after a bit of tweaking, and a few test loaves, we (she helped!) landed on this recipe. i hope you love this loaf cake just as much as we do!

blood orange loaf cake

this loaf cake is best described as

  • moist
  • buttery
  • tart
  • sweet
  • citrusy
  • cake like crumb
  • perfect with a cup of tea or coffee
  • a truly great snacking cake

let’s talk ingredients

a great loaf cake needs minimal ingredients. this blood orange loaf cake uses pantry basics and seasonal favorites. here’s what you need:
  • cake flour (see notes below to make this from AP four and cornstarch)
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • ground cinnamon (an equal amount of ground ginger or 1/2 tsp cardamom would be lovely here, too)
  • unsalted butter
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs
  • blood oranges (any citrus would work, but the pink glaze color will come from the blood orange)
  • vanilla extract
  • orange or lemon extract
  • whole milk greek yogurt
  • powdered sugar

from these ingredients you will make the blood orange loaf cake and fresh blood orange glaze

baking tools

you don’t need any truly special tools for this loaf cake. however, these are the tools I use and love for this recipe
blood orange loaf cake

diy cake flour

cake flour is always stocked in my pantry. but, if yours isn’t it’s super simple to make!
  • measure out 2 c (240g) all purpose flour.
    • use a food scale or the spoon into a measuring cup method
  • measure out 4 tbsp (1/4 c or 50g) flour from the 2 c
  • replace this amount with an equal amount of cornstarch (4tbsp) in the leftover 1 3/4 c (210g) flour
  • sift this new mixture together 4-5 times
    • this ensures a through blend
  • use this new blend of diy cake flour as the cake flour replacement in the recipe

a few tips for the best loaf cake

substitutions for this recipe:
  • blood oranges: use any other orange you like.
    • you could even use lemon and make this a lemon loaf cake
    • the only con: to get the pink glaze, you need to use blood orange juice
  • pan size: this recipe calls for a 9X5 loaf pan. this is the preferred size for this recipe,
    • you could also just an 8X8 or 9X9 and make bars
    • double the recipe and bake in a 9X13
    • baking times will vary of course- the top will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean
  • make sure your baking powder and baking soda are no older than 3 months
    • i know this sounds like a silly reminder, but the cake won’t lift properly without fresh lifting agents.
  • if needed, a foil tent can be added to the top of the loaf around minute 40/45 for the remainder of the baking time
  • pour half the glaze about 5 minutes after the loaf comes out of the oven
    • let this set for 10 minutes
    • pour the remaining half of the glaze and let set while the bread cools
    • after 20 minutes, carefully remove the glazed bread from the loaf pan and continue to cool an additional 15-20 minutes
    • this ensures the glaze is completely set
  • the blood orange glaze is optional, but in my opinion totally makes the bread, so take this as “optional” but not really. plus, it adds such a beautiful pop of color!
blood orange loaf cake
blood orange loaf cake
blood orange loaf cake

don’t miss out on these other delicious citrus recipes!

blood orange loaf cake

its officially winter and citrus is having its moment. grab a few blood oranges, some lemons and make this simple and simply stunning quick bread. perfectly balanced between tart, sweet, light with the right amount of crumb, this will be a new winter favorite!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
cooling 45 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf


  • 9X5 loaf pan
  • stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • parchment paper
  • electronic juicer and zester


blood orange loaf cake

  • 2 c cake flour (240g)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c sugar (200g)
  • zest from 2 medium blood oranges
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (85g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange or lemon extract, optional
  • 1/2 c blood orange juice (~ 2-3 blood oranges)
  • 1/2 c whole milk greek yogurt

blood orange glaze

  • 1 c powdered sugar (120g)
  • 2-3 tbsp blood orange juice


blood orange loaf cake

  • Line 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving 1-2in. overhang on the long sides. Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand add the sugar and blood orange zest. Beat the sugar and zest together on medium high for about 1 minute. The mixture should resemble wet sand. Add the butter, zest and sugar until light and fluffy (~3 minutes). Add eggs, beating well after each one until well combined before adding the next. Add vanilla and orange extracts, beating until well combined. Add blood orange juice. Beat until just combined.
  • In this order (dry, yogurt, dry, yogurt, dry), add dry ingredients to the wet alternating with the yogurt. On lowest setting (or by hand ) mix each time until JUST combined. A few flour streaks is okay! Evenly pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Check the top. If it's browning too quickly, top with a foil tent. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking for doneness every 5 minutes(50-55 minutes total).
    When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, its done. Cool in pan for 20 minutes.
    If topping with glaze, you can pour the glaze directly on top while the bread is in the pan. About 5 minutes after removing from the oven for the first glaze and 5-10 minutes after that for the second glaze.
    Glaze is fully set in about an hour. After 20 minutes, remove loaf from the pan and cool an addtional 20-25 minutes on cooling rack. Slice and enjoy!

blood orange glaze

  • Combine powdered sugar and juice in a bowl. Mix until well combined and desired consistency, adding a tsp more juice as needed. Pour on top of loaf cake while still warm. Allow 45-1 hr to fully set.
Keyword blood orange cake, citrus cake, loaf cake, quick breads, winter baking
did you make this recipe?tag @olivesnthyme on Instagram

love this recipe?!

let others know by leaving a rating in the recipe + comment below


  1. Loved the glaze, it carried the loaf. Two fixes, melting the butter doesn’t allow it to cream with the sugar (maybe this was supposed to read soften) and 200 grams of powdered sugar equaled 2 cups. Depending on how much glaze you want, adjacent sugar or amount of juice.

    1. Hi Christi!

      Thank you for the feedback! Glad to read you loved the glaze. The bread itself isn’t very sweet, so I love the glaze on it as well. You are right about the “cream”. The instructions should read “beat” the melted butter and sugar. Correction on the weights for powdered sugar is right on. It should read 120g. Updating the recipe to reflect these changes.

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