Blood Orange Tea Cakes

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The cakes get a lacquered, glossy appearance from a marmalade glaze.

I tried blood oranges for the first time this year and they’re one of my new favorite fruits- even though they only stick around for a little while. If you’ve never had one they’re totally worth picking up a few, the flavor is more complex than a navel orange and the colors are gorgeous. I especially like the variation in colors from reddish purple to bright orange.

When I was looking for new recipes so I could try out the blood oranges I’d just bought, I stumbled across Rachel’s blog Ice-cream in the rain.  I adapted her Blood Orange, Almond and Brown Sugar Tea Cakes to what ingredients I had on hand (I swapped ground walnuts in the cakes for ground almonds) and to U.S. measurements.

The result was a moist, dense, not overly sweet cake that is wonderful on a “meh” winter day with a mug of hot tea.Taste tested and approved by people who go out of their way for bittersweet (like me) and those with a major sweet tooth (like my dad), these cakes are a great way to make use of a fruit that becomes widely available only in late winter.

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Blood oranges come in a variety of hues, which makes the fruit topping for these cakes especially pretty.

Blood Orange Tea Cakes

  • 2 blood oranges
  • 10 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1/8 tsp coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 1/3 cups ground walnuts or almonds
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons bittersweet marmalade
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Zest both oranges and set zest aside. Remove peel and pith and slice oranges into ¼” thick rounds.
  3. Place orange slices on baking sheet and bake (at 400°) for 20-23 minutes, or until orange slices begin to caramelize. Allow orange slices to cool fully on baking sheet.
  4. Meanwhile, beat together brown sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time (batter may appear grainy at this point but this is ok.) Fold in four and nuts
  5. Grease 10 standard-size muffin cups and divide batter among them.
  6. Using a plastic or silicone spatula, very carefully remove orange slices from baking sheet and divide fruit among cakes. (Each cake will have 1-2 slices of fruit on top.)
  7. Top each cake with a few sliced almonds and sprinkle with a little bit of brown sugar.
  8. Bake tea cakes at 400° for 13-15 minutes, rotating muffin pans halfway through baking time. The cakes are done when the edges are a deep golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.
  9. During the last few minutes of baking time, combine marmalade with a few drops of water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 15-25 seconds until marmalade is runny but not bubbling.
  10. Immediately after taking cakes out of the oven, brush the tops with marmalade glaze. Allow cakes to cool for about 4 minutes in pan. Run a knife around the edges of each cake then remove from pan. Serve cakes warm or at room temperature.
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