This picturesque Turmeric Cake with Blood Oranges is an upside down cake that will wow everyone! It's an unexpected dessert that's packed with flavor and buttery goodness.
Simply put, blood orange cakes are stunning. And when you add turmeric, even more so!
This is more or less a soft pound cake with the addition of spices and citrus. It's rich, buttery and you'll taste very subtle notes of the peppery turmeric in every bite.
(I often suggest brands I love and use — these are only suggestions and this is not a sponsored post.)
- butter - I always bake (and cook) with unsalted butter so I can control exactly how much salt is in the recipe.
- blood oranges -The color of the skin is not an indication of the interior color. A bright orange exterior might be a very dark red inside, and an exterior that has a lot of red might be mostly all orange inside. Blood orange fruit can range from orange to a deep, dark burgundy. And sometimes they're a gorgeous blend of the colors.
- fresh turmeric root
- milk - Low or full fat.
- granulated sugar
- pure vanilla extract - I like Nielsen-Massey.
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder - If you don’t bake regularly, it’s a good idea to check to be sure your baking powder is still good. To do so, pour a couple of tablespoons of boiling water over about ¼ teaspoon of the baking powder. If it starts to fizz, it’s still good.
- ground cardamom
- salt - I cook with Kosher salt. I prefer for a few reasons: its larger flake size, it's less refined and usually doesn't contain additives, and it does a great job enhancing the flavor of foods without making them taste salty.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
- Gluten-free? You can use Cup4Cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour to make a gluten free version of this Turmeric Cake.
- Can you use turmeric powder instead of fresh grated turmeric? You can substitute turmeric powder for the fresh turmeric if you’d like. Use about 2 teaspoons of the powder if you’re substituting.
- A non-stick cake pan is best for this Blood Orange Turmeric Cake. No matter what pan you use, be sure to very thoroughly butter the bottom and sides of the pan. If you don't have a non-stick cake pan, in addition to the butter, you should also line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Turmeric stains! If you have cooking gloves, it's a good time to wear them. Otherwise, be careful.
How to Make it
- Coat the bottom and sides of a non-stick 9-inch cake pan with softened butter.
- Use a paring knife to cut about inch off the top and bottom of each blood orange. Cut off the skin and then cut the oranges horizontally into round slices that are about ¼ inch thick.
- Arrange them on the bottom of the buttered cake pan.
* The slices of blood oranges below are a perfect example of how you never know what the color will be when you slice into a blood orange. They are from the same batch as the one sliced in the bowl above. *
- Combine milk with freshly grated turmeric in a pot and bring to a strong simmer. Then turn off the heat, cover, and let the flavor infuse. Strain and use the bottom of a spoon to gently press on the grated turmeric to get as much liquid out as possible.
- Combine the flour with the baking powder, cardamom and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture and the strained turmeric milk into the dry ingredients.
- Once it's blended in, fold in the melted butter.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan with the blood oranges and bake in a 350°F oven until it's golden and set, about 30 minutes.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, and then invert it onto a serving plate.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Turmeric has subtle scents of orange and ginger. The overall flavor is mild, though it can be slightly bitter.
In a cake, all of this is balanced and enhanced with the sugar and rich butter.
More Recipes with Blood Oranges
- Citrus Capraccio with Jalapeños
- Halibut Blood Orange Ceviche Tacos
- Champagne-Blood Orange Crème Brûlée
More Recipes Using Fresh Turmeric
Can you make it ahead?
- You can make this cake a day ahead of time for guests. Lightly cover it with plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature.
- Leftovers can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, or placed in an airtight container and kept refrigerated for about 5 days.
- It's not ideal to freeze a blood orange cake because the citrus slices will become watery when it thaws.
What makes this cake so special?
- Gorgeous color. Blood orange cakes with turmeric are a show-stopping combination of gold and red.
- Comfort food. Cakes with Turmeric are not a comfort food just because they are sweet desserts, it's more because turmeric is a warming spice.
- Delicious flavor. Of course it's incredible delicious!
- Wow factor. Just a quick glace at this cake will wow your friends and family.
Turmeric Cake with Blood Oranges is beautiful inside and out. I hope you love it as much as my family and I do!
Turmeric Cake with Blood Oranges Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter (plus a bit more for the pan)
- 2 to 3 blood oranges
- ¼ cup low or full-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh turmeric, freshly grated
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven and prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and adjust a rack to the center. Use a pastry brush, or a bit of the butter wrapper, to thoroughly coat the bottom and sides of a 9 inch cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Melt the remaining cup of butter and set it aside.
- Cut the blood oranges and line the pan with them. On a clean, dry surface, use a paring knife to cut about ½ inch off the top and bottom of each blood orange. Then to remove the skin, set them down on one of their flat surfaces and use a the knife, moving downwards, just inside the skin, cutting only slightly into the flesh. Now, cutting horizontally into the blood oranges, create round slices that are about ¼ inch thick. Place them on the bottom surface of the buttered cake pan, covering as much of the space as possible. The edges of the orange slices should be touching each other. Set aside.
- Infuse the milk with the turmeric. In a small saucepan, combine the milk with the freshly grated turmeric. (Here's How to Use Fresh Turmeric.) Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a strong simmer. Then turn off the heat, cover, and set aside.
- Begin making the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, cardamom and salt. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Set both aside.
- Strain the turmeric milk. Strain the turmeric milk in a fine mesh strainer. Use the bottom of a spoon to gently press on the grated turmeric to get as much liquid out as possible.
- Finish the batter and bake. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the egg mixture and the strained turmeric milk. Once it's blended in, fold in the melted butter. Continue to fold the batter until it's smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan with the blood oranges and place it on a baking sheet, and then into the preheated 350°F oven. Bake until it's golden and set, about 30 minutes.
- Cool and serve. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, and then invert it onto a serving plate. (The cake is best served at room temperature.)
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