Blood Orange Pound Cake

This blood orange pound cake is a fantastic seasonal dessert. The buttery, rich cake is ribboned with a marmalade layer, steeped in a blood orange syrup, and topped with a light blood orange glaze. Irresistible.

A blood orange pound cake on a wire rack with glaze and sugar syrup, three slices cut

Blood oranges have a relatively short season, which is why The One and I try to find as many ways to use them as possible. I created this blood orange pound cake after hearing him moan one too many times, “You never bake for me anymore.” (This is true, but the reason why is because his pleas for baked goods are always followed the next day by, “Please! No more cakes and breads. That damn scale is lying again!”) So goes my life.

What I love about this cake is blood orange zest and juice are in every component: the cake, the soaking syrup, and the glaze. If you can, find the Moro variety of blood orange, as they have a deeper red skin and juice.–David Leite

Blood Orange Swirl Pound Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 2 H
  • Makes 1 loaf

Special Equipment: A 9-by-5-by-3 inch loaf pan (23-by-13-by-8 cm or 8 cups)

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  • For the blood orange pound cake
  • Baking spray, such as Baker's Joy
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 to 5 blood oranges (preferably the more colorful Moro), zested and juiced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz), at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup blood orange marmalade
  • For the blood orange soaking syrup
  • 1/2 cup blood orange juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • For the blood orange icing
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice, more if needed
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar


  • Make the blood orange pound cake
  • 1. Set a rack on the middle of the oven and crank the heat to 350°F (175°C). Cut a piece of parchment paper that’s approximately 9-by-16-inches (23-by-40-cm). Coat a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan lightly with the baking spray and fit the parchment into the pan so that it lines the bottom and sides with ample overhang.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • 3. Mix 3 tablespoons (18 g) zest into a small bowl and, using your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar to release the oils in the zest. Set aside.
  • 4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium-high, beat the butter and zest-infused sugar, scraping down the bowl a few times, until it’s fluffy and pale yellow, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • 5. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. Add in the sour cream and the vanilla extract and continue to beat until everything’s combined.
  • 6. Switch to a spatula and gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until no flour streaks remain.
  • 7. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the batter into a small bowl, add the blood orange marmalade, and stir until smooth.
  • 8. Spoon about 2/3 of the plain batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Gently spoon the marmalade batter on top, spreading it to within 1/2 inch of the pan’s edge. Scrape the rest of the plain batter over the marmalade batter and smooth the top. Stick a table knife into the batter and, using the flat side, crisscross it back and forth to mix the layers together a bit.
  • 9. Bake until the cake is domed and golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 50 to 70 minutes. If the cake begins browning too much, loosely cover the pan with foil, tented in the center so it doesn’t touch the surface of the cake. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
  • Make the blood orange soaking syrup
  • 10. While the cake is cooling, pour the 1/2 cup blood orange juice and the sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, cooking until the sugar has completely dissolved, 5 to 8 minutes. Slide the pan off the heat.
  • 11. Grasp the overhanging edges of parchment and carefully–lift the cake from the pan. Remove the paper and place the cake on the wire rack. Place a rimmed baking sheet beneath the wire rack.
  • 12. Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer. Brush the cake liberally with the soaking syrup, letting it seep in after each coating before adding more. This takes some time. Don’t even consider skimping. Use all the syrup. Let the cake cool completely.

  • Make the blood orange icing
  • 13. When the cake has cooled, stir the 2 tablespoons blood orange juice into the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add another tablespoon of juice is the icing is too thick. Pour the icing over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let the icing on the cake set for 30 minutes before slicing and digging in.

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