blood orange and olive oil upside down cake

It's blood orange season here in Sydney so inspired by the cover recipe from Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz I decided it was time to make an upside down blood orange cake. I'm no stranger to olive oil cakes and I already have a few upside down blood orange cakes on my blog, so I was confident I could make some changes to Claire's recipe and things would turn out okay. 

When I made the cake we were still in lockdown and the olive oil bottle was looking a bit empty. I really couldn't justify the full quantity of olive oil needed for the cake, not when I knew I could safely swap some of the oil for yoghurt and the cake would taste fine. I also don't own have any Grand Marnier in the house so I used orange juice instead. The third change? I really don't like the flavour of orange pith, so I removed all the rind from the blood oranges before thinly slicing. Don't worry, I used the rind in the cake batter but threw away the bitter pith. 

The fourth tweak? I simplified the recipe. I've  made the recipe twice now and I wasn't convinced whisking the eggs and drizzling in the oil as per Claire's recipe improved the cake's texture, so I left that step out. After the cake was cooked my blood orange slices lost much of their vibrancy. I helped things along with a quick glaze of thinned down home made blood orange marmalade I had in my fridge. Despite all these changes, the cake turned out really well. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. Although it was inspired by a Claire Saffitz recipe, I made so many changes to the recipe you may want to consult the link to her original recipe if you'd like to make a larger cake. She also suggests using a springform pan but I'm not so sure. They leak so if you do use one, make sure you bake the cake on a tray or perhaps wrap foil around the base of the tin to stop the slurry from leaking everywhere.
For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C.

Blood Orange and Olive Oil Upside-Down Cake – adapted from Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz
Extra-virgin olive oil for the pan
3-4 medium blood oranges
1 tbs blood orange juice
2 tbs (38g) caster sugar 
75g (½ cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt 
40g cup) fine semolina
20mls blood orange juice or Grand Marnier
3 tsp finely grated blood orange rind
1 tsp vanilla extract 
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
100mls extra-virgin olive oil 
1 egg
¼ cup plain full fat yoghurt 
To serve
1-2 tbs orange marmalade or apricot jam, warmed
Plain whole-milk yoghurt or labne for serving 

Preheat the oven to 200°C conventional. Grease the base and sides of a 17cm tin. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of baking paper and smooth it to eliminate air bubbles. Lightly flour the side of the cake tin and set the pan aside.
Prepare the blood oranges 
Grate the rind from 2 of the blood oranges and set aside. Use a sharp knife to cut off all the pith exposing a colorful round of fruit. Place the orange on its side then slice the fruit as thinly as possible. Remove and discard any seeds from the slices and repeat until both oranges are sliced. If you don’t have enough slices to cover the base then use the third orange. 
Squeeze the remaining blood orange until you have at least 2 tablespoons of juice. Place 1 tbs of the blood orange juice into a small bowl. Add the 2 tbs of sugar to the bowl and whisk to make a smooth slurry. Pour the slurry into the bottom of the prepared pan and tilt in all directions to spread across the parchment. Arrange the orange slices in an overlapping pattern across the bottom of the pan and set aside. Make sure the base of the tin is completely covered with orange slices.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl then stir through the semolina to combine and eliminate any lumps. In a separate small bowl, stir together 1 tbs orange juice, the orange rind, the vanilla and set aside. 

In a large bowl mix together the sugar and the oil. Add the egg and beat for a few minutes until thickened and smooth. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the orange mixture and the yoghurt, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Use a large flexible spatula to fold the batter several times, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure it’s evenly mixed.

Gently pour the batter over the blood orange slices, making sure not to disturb them, and smooth the top. Transfer the cake to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 180°C, conventional. Bake until the top is golden brown, the centre is firm to the touch, and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. 
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake and remove the outer ring (be careful, as some of the juices from the cake might run). Invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the circular base. Carefully peel away the baking paper and let the cake cool completely. 
For the best flavour and texture, store the cake in an airtight container and let it sit at room temperature for at least a day before serving. If desired, you can re-glaze the top of the cake by brushing over some warmed jam or marmalade just before serving. Slice and serve with yoghurt if desired. 
Simplified recipe indeed but still so delicious! 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,

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