blood orange drizzle cake sliced

About This Blood Orange Drizzle Cake

This blood orange drizzle cake is extremely moist, thanks to LOTS of freshly-squeezed blood orange juice! It’s a triple threat in terms of flavor, with blood orange in the loaf cake batter, drizzle, AND glaze.

The best part? The blood orange cake comes together quickly. All you need is one bowl and a whisk. There’s no need for a stand mixer!

Why You Should Make The Recipe

Now let’s talk about all the reasons why you should make this blood orange drizzle cake recipe:

Blood orange drizzle cake is a unique twist on a classic, British baking flavor.

One of my favorite cooking shows is The Great British Bake Off, an annual competition to determine the U.K.’s best home baker. Every season on the show, contestants always bake lemon drizzle cakes, biscuits, and more.

Years ago, I looked up the flavor (since it isn’t as commonly available in the United States). It sounded delicious! Lemon drizzle cakes are lemon-flavored sponge cakes soaked in lemon syrup. Typically, the lemon syrup is drizzled immediately over the cake after baking. It makes the cake extra moist and flavorful. You can learn more in my recipe for lemon drizzle cake.

Since then, I’ve been daydreaming of updating the lemon drizzle idea with different citrus fruits and new flavors. Like this blood orange cake! Instead of lemon juice, I soak the cake in freshly squeezed blood orange juice. Because blood orange juice is subtly sweet, I used a generous amount in both the cake batter and drizzle. I also topped everything off with a blood orange glaze—and yes, that vibrant pink is blood orange juice’s natural color!

The cake comes together quickly.

Real Talk: I am always wary of citrus dessert recipes. Prep Time for these recipes usually takes twice as long as other recipes. Why? It takes time to squeeze juice from the citrus fruits. As a result, I deliberately made sure the cake batter comes together quickly! Unlike my other loaf cake recipes, this recipe does not require a stand mixer. All you need to do is whisk together the dry ingredients, then the wet ones, and fold everything together. That’s it!

The cake stores well.

I love making loaf cakes because their shape and size is perfect for retaining moisture and flavor. And because this blood orange drizzle cake is soaked in blood orange syrup, this cake stays EXTRA moist and fresh for days! The best part? The flavors intensify overnight. Because blood orange is a subtle flavor, this cake actually tastes better the next day!

blood orange drizzle cake

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make blood orange drizzle cake, here’s everything you need for the recipe:

Shopping List for Blood Orange Drizzle Cake

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • granulated sugar
  • blood oranges
  • large eggs
  • plain whole milk yogurt
  • canola oil
  • orange extract or oil
  • confectioners’ sugar

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and potential substitutions:

Common Ingredient Substitutions For The Recipe

Here are common substitutions for the ingredients in the yellow sheet cake recipe:

  • All-Purpose Flour. Substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite 1-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I like the ones by Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Baking Company) to make the cake gluten-free!

  • Kosher Salt. Replace the ¼ teaspoon kosher salt in the recipe with a pinch of table salt.

  • Plain Whole Milk Yogurt. Feel free to sub with sour cream or creme fraiche! Although you can technically use low- or no-fat yogurt, full-fat products will make the cake taste more flavorful.

  • Canola Oil. You can replace the canola oil with any other neutral flavored oil like grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, and more.

Orange Extract OR Oil

You need 2 teaspoons orange extract OR oil to make this blood orange drizzle cake.

What is orange extract?

Orange extract is similar to vanilla extract. However, instead of flavoring baked goods with vanilla bean flavor, orange extract flavors baked goods with orange! Most major grocery stores sell orange extract. Check the baking aisle near the vanilla extract.

Just note that, unlike pure vanilla extract (which is made from natural ingredients like vanilla beans), most orange extracts are made from artificial flavors made in a lab. If you want to go the all natural route, I recommend splurging for food-grade orange oil (see below).

What is orange oil?

In a fancy gourmet ingredient shop, you’ll see bottles of citrus oil alongside bottles of citrus extract. Here’s the difference between the two: extracts are made by extracting the flavor of the source ingredient into alcohol. For instance, manufacturers typically make vanilla extract by steeping vanilla beans in alcohol for an extended period of time. Similarly, manufacturers sometimes make orange extract by steeping orange rinds in alcohol. More likely, however, manufacturers artificially recreate orange flavor for extract in a food lab.

On the other hand, manufacturers make flavoring oils by squeezing essential oils from the ingredient itself. That means that orange oil is actually made from oils squeezed out of orange rinds and zest. As a result, orange oil is much more concentrated and intense than orange extract. Its flavor is much purer and clearer, without any of the sharp alcohol taste you can sometimes get from extract.

You can learn more about the differences between flavoring extracts and oils in this Kitchn article.

The Best Orange Extract and Orange Oil

What orange extract do I recommend? Honestly, I don’t have a favorite. I’ve used generic orange extract from Safeway, and fancy orange extract from Frontier Co-Op and Nielsen-Massey. Maybe I’m a bad baker, but I couldn’t taste the difference! So just use whatever you have on hand or personally like best.

That being said, I do have a recommendation for orange oil: Boyajian Pure Orange Oil. I use their lemon oil too (see: these Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins) and love it! Just watch out—it’s on the pricey side. You can definitely find other orange oils on Amazon for cheaper. Just make sure they are food-grade. Orange oil for essential oils is NOT safe for consumption!

I don’t want to buy orange extract or oil. Can I skip it in this blood orange drizzle cake recipe?

Although you can technically skip the orange extract/oil in this recipe, I don’t recommend it. Why? Your cranberry orange muffins won’t taste very orangey! Orange zest can only take you so far. You need the extract/oil for additional flavor.

Can I use fresh blood orange juice instead?

Yes, but again, I don’t recommend it. Orange extract/oil is concentrated orange flavor. You’d need to use a LOT of orange juice to match the extract/oil’s flavor. And then to compensate for the additional juice, you’d need to alter the amounts of flour, sugar, and eggs. I don’t know the exact measures for everything since I’ve never done it myself.

slices of blood orange drizzle cake

How To Make Blood Orange Drizzle Cake

Here are the basic steps to make this blood orange drizzle cake from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients for the blood orange cake batter, soak, and glaze. (Prep Time: 10 minutes)

  2. Make the cake. (Work Time: 10 minutes)

  3. Bake the cake. (Bake Time: 1 hour)

  4. Make the blood orange soak and soak the cake as it cools slightly. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

  5. Cool the cake completely.

  6. Make the blood orange glaze, then soak the cooled cake. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

  7. Dry the glaze, then serve.

Best Recipe Tips

  • For this recipe, it’s important to use orange extract! Blood orange has a really subtle, delicate flavor. Even with a lot of it in this recipe, it can easily get lost. The orange extract is there to bring it out. In a pinch, you can also use lemon or vanilla extract. Lemon will make the cake taste more tangy, and vanilla will make it more “vanilla orange.”

  • After adding the dry ingredients, the batter will be lumpy, but that’s totally okay, I promise! It will bake up into a light, open crumb.

More (Free!) Blood Orange Recipes

More (Free!) Loaf Cake Recipes

Get the Recipe: Blood Orange Drizzle Cake Recipe

This blood orange drizzle cake is moist and flavorful, thanks to freshly squeezed blood orange juice in the cake batter, soak, and glaze!
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For The Blood Orange Drizzle Cake

  • 2 ¼ cups (10.15 ounces or 288 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (7 ounces or 198 grams) granulated sugar
  • fresh zest from 2 medium-large blood oranges
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) plain whole milk yogurt, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces or 170 grams) canola oil
  • cup (2.65 ounces or 75 grams) freshly squeezed and strained blood orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract or oil

For The Blood Orange Soak

  • ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) freshly squeezed and strained blood orange juice
  • ¼ cup (1.75 ounces or 50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or oil

For The Blood Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted if necessary
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed and strained blood orange juice
  • pinch kosher salt


  • First, make the cake. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
    Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Spray the parchment, too.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Prep the sugar. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and blood orange zest. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar—this will infuse the sugar with oils from the zest.
  • Mix the wet ingredients, then add the sugar. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until the yolks are broken. Add the yogurt, oil, blood orange juice, and orange extract until combined. Add the sugar and zest and continue whisking until smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter will be lumpy, but it’s totally okay, I promise!
  • Bake the cake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Set the loaf pan on a sheet pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf cake comes out with a few crumbs attached.
    Cool on a wire rack.
  • Next, make the blood orange soak. While the cake cools, make the blood orange soak.
    Combine the sugar and blood orange juice for the soak in a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
    Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Once boiling, remove from heat and immediately whisk in the orange extract.
  • Soak the cake. Use a pastry brush to brush the warm syrup over the top of the still warm cake. Use the syrup completely—it will seem like there’s too much for the loaf. You’ll need to wait for a layer of drizzle to absorb before brushing the cake with the syrup again. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Make the glaze. Once the cake is cool, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, blood orange juice, and salt for the glaze until smooth.
    Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread it into a thin layer on top of the cake. Let any excess glaze drip off and transfer to a wire rack to dry for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Serve and store. The blood orange drizzle cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.


  • For this recipe, it’s important to use orange extract! Blood orange has a really subtle, delicate flavor. Even with a lot of it in this recipe, it can easily get lost. The orange extract is there to bring it out. In a pinch, you can also use lemon or vanilla extract. Lemon will make the cake taste more tangy, and vanilla will make it more “vanilla orange.”
  • After adding the dry ingredients, the batter will be lumpy, but that’s totally okay, I promise! It will bake up into a light, open crumb.
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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.