Simple Blood Orange Cake

Dear Reader,

More often than not, I don’t have all of the right ingredients to follow a cake recipe. For this reason, I have come to rely on substitutions (with mixed results). Recently, I found a Blood Orange Cake recipe on the New York Times website and knew just by looking at the ingredients list that I could not comply 100%. If you too would like to enjoy a Blood Orange Cake — check out my adaptation below!

This adaption is healthier because it contains:

  • No white sugar
  • Over 50% less butter

Substitutions in this cake:

  • Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream. For cakes, a 1-to-1 substitution is fine, but Greek yogurt (and especially those with lower fat contents) can impact the texture of the final product.
  • Wheat Flour for Corn Flour. If you don’t have corn flour — no worries — wheat flour works just fine.
  • Honey for Sugar. Because honey is liquid and sugar is solid, a simple 1-to-1 substitution could cause other problems (like a wet batter). So, if you have a recipe that contains another liquid (like milk/ water), it would be good to cut back on these ingredients. A common rule of thumb is that 1 cup of sugar can be substituted for 3/4 cup of honey (note – further adaptations have been made to the below recipe).


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
    • cut off 3 tablespoons – to be melted later
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 medium blood oranges
  • 1 cup wheat flour (or corn flour)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cups plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9” round pan.
  3. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in the brown sugar and lemon juice until all is dissolved. Add mixture to the bottom of the prepared pan.
  4. Grate one of the oranges to collect 1/2 teaspoon of zest.
  5. Slice the oranges thinly (remove seeds, rind, and other nonsense) and then line the pan (with your sugar mixture) with the orange slices in a single layer.
    1. Note — slice the oranges first, then remove the rind by cutting around the edges of each slice

6. Mix together the orange zest, wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

7. In a separate bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, butter, honey, and eggs.

8. Add the wet ingredients and into the large bowl with the dry ingredients.

9. Add the batter to the pan over the oranges and sugar mixture.

10. Bake for 40 – 50 mins until the batter is a medium brown (use the toothpick test — stick a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean, it’s ready!).

11. Cool and enjoy 🙂



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