What Katie Ate: Blood Orange and Rosemary Cake

What Katie Ate's Blood Orange and Rosemary CakeI love an interesting and unusual combination of flavours that sparks the imagination.  When I saw this cake in What Katie Ate, by Katie Quinn Davies, and it happened to be blood orange season I knew that I should give it a try as part of this month’s The Cookbook Guru.   Using the whole orange as part of the cake and then adding a blood orange syrup and finishing off with a blood orange icing I expected we were in for a moist orange overload of the best kind.  Unfortunately the reality wasn’t quite as impressive as it led me to think with the resulting cake being nice but just okay, not outstanding.

I think that this recipe is a great example where stating 2 of a certain fruit or vegetable is very inaccurate, particularly in the case of baking, and giving an approx liquid measurement would be beneficial. For anyone that is not confident in the kitchen it could potentially be disastrous.  All three components of this recipe would have benefitted from this more specific listing.  I will say the cake had a lovely firm fine and dense crumb, but unfortunately the syrup did not penetrate the cake as much as I would’ve liked it to (I though it would literally soak the entire cake) leading me to think I required larger oranges with more juice.  On the plus side, apart from the texture, the combination of sweet with the savory of the rosemary was definitely something that worked though.  Just the execution or method described was lacking to achieve the desired results.

As a cake it was easy to make and actually not that time consuming even thought you might think so with the different components and equipment asked for.  I thought it was quite easy to make it look sensational without having to fuss for hours in the kitchen.  I honestly just wished that the flavour and texture was as equally successful.

From perusing the What Katie Ate blog, I’ve noticed this recipe based on a lemon version for those times when blood oranges are not available and I think it would be as equally delicious.  It also has a quite different method which has me wondering why it was changed so much for this particular cake. I wouldn’t hesitate to make this recipe with plain oranges if the opportunity arose but the colour of the blood oranges did make the cake look extra special in my mind.

There was one glaring editing error in the recipe, unfortunately something I’m picking up as I’m using this book more, and it was the lack of mention in the method about when to add the eggs.  I’ve added it to my method below for everyone but its something to note when using this book that there may be times when you have to trust your cooking skills over what is specifically given as instructions.  I think this was a simple oversight but disappointing nonetheless.

This cake was baked as part of The Cookbook Guru, an online Cookbook Book Club for food bloggers.  If you love to try new recipes and to talk about what you cook with other bloggers then please join us.


Blood Orange and Rosemary Cake


  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 blood orange, peeled, pith removed and cut into segments
  • 1 orange, peeled, pith removed and cut into segments
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 tsp Cointreau
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 3 eggs


  • juice 2 blood oranges
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 tbl sp castor sugar


  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • juice of 1 blood orange

Pre-heat your oven to 180c.  Grease and flour a bundt tin or alternatively a round 22cm spring form pan.

Cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy in an electric mixer. This should take about 10 minutes.  Add Cointreau and combine  Add the eggs one by one and incorporate well.

Puree the oranges and rosemary in a food processor with a blade until the oranges are finely chopped.  Add to the butter, sugar and eggs and beat together on a low speed until combined.    Then, keeping the mixer on a low speed, add the flour and baking powder in slowly, beating in each time until well incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and baked for approx 45-50 minutes or until you can remove a skewer cleanly from the centre of the cake.

Whilst the cake is baking, prepare the syrup by placing the juice and sugar into a saucepan and bringing to the boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce to a medium heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 mins or until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has reduced by about 1/3.  Keep warm until the cake is ready.

Once the cake is ready to go, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack with a plate or tray underneath.  Prick the top of the cake with a skewer and spoon the warm syrup over it, leaving it to absorb.

What Katie Ate: Blood Orange and Rosemary CakeTo make the icing, combine the juice and sugar until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake, then chill for 20 minutes in the fridge before serving.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. marymtf says:

    I love something orangy Leah burt am not adventurous so will leave out the Rosemary. How is master G?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Leah says:

      Unfortunately not as orange as I would’ve liked. Master G is a dream. Feeling very fortunate to have such a great child 🙂


  2. OldCountryGirl says:

    The combination of the flavors sounds very delicious! What a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leah says:

      Thank you. It does work very well in theory, I just believe the recipe needs some work to bring the flavour to the fore 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. so gorge. Blood oranges are amazing.


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