Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

With blood oranges at their peak season right now, I've been going blood orange crazy and buying pounds every week. 

Of course, their fragrant taste is lovely and their antioxidant powers are wonderful, but as a food photographer, I am particularly drawn to their beautiful flesh. #eatingforinstagram 

Plus, I realized that if you mix the vibrant red juice from the orange with something white, it turns pink. I think that's how colors work. Hence this beautiful pink frosting, made with just three ingredients.

blood orange cake drizzling! - lm basecool (1 of 1).jpg

I thought of combining blood oranges and olive oil after making a super tasty blood orange vinaigrette with blood orange juice and extra virgin olive oil (and, of course, after doing some recipe inspiration searching online). I then found a recipe for a blood orange rosemary cocktail (a recipe from a magazine I found on an airplane and then took a screenshot of on my iPhone) and decided to throw in some fresh rosemary into the batter. 

The combination of olive oil and rosemary sounds like more of a savory cake, and it does have slight grassy, earthy notes, but the sugar in the cake (and in the frosting) make it clear this is a cake above anything else. 

Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

For this cake, I am going to channel by inner Barefoot Contessa and recommend that you use a high-quality, fruity extra virgin olive oil, as you are using a decent quantity and the flavor will come through a bit. A good-quality olive oil will lend this cake a light freshness reminiscent of spring. 

This recipe makes enough batter for 1 9 inch layer cake, so if you want a double decker cake, feel free to double the recipe. Even though the frosting is my favorite part of the cake (hello, look at that color), I must admit that it is totally optional. The cake is pretty delicious on its own and if you're watching your sugar intake, feel free to omit the frosting. Without the frosting, it makes the perfect slightly sweet afternoon teatime cake. With the frosting, it makes the perfect decadent treat for Valentine's Day. Or, you know, for an Instagram photo.

Happy almost Valentine's Day, kids! Hope you enjoy this recipe! 

Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Vegan Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Easy, moist and delicious, this cake has a light citrus taste matched with a rich olive oil flavor. It's worthy of a romantic Valentine's Day dinner but is also perfect for afternoon teatime! 


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary

  • 3/4 cup organic granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons blood orange zest (roughly 3-4 blood oranges)

  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice

  • 1/4 cup coconut yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 flax eggs (for 1 flax egg, mix together 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 2 1/2 tablespoons water, stir and let sit for 10-15 minutes to thicken)

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Blood Orange Icing (see below)


  1. Prepare the flax eggs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9 inch cake pan, or line it with parchment paper for easy removal.

  2. In a large bowl, grate the zest from blood oranges until you have 3 tablespoons. Add the sugar and mix together using a fork or your fingers until the zest is evenly mixed into the sugar.

  3. Juice one of the zested oranges until you have 2 tablespoons and pour into a small bowl. Add the coconut yogurt and whisk to combine. Pour into the sugar mixture and whisk well to thoroughly combine.

  4. Then gently whisk in the vanilla extract and the flax eggs.

  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and rosemary.

  6. Gently whisk the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until no large clumps remain.

  7. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the olive oil a little at a time. Scrape the batter into pan and smooth out the surface.

  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, top with Blood Orange Icing.

Blood Orange Icing


  • 1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar

  • 4-6 tbsp blood orange juice

  • 2-3 tablespoons plant-based milk


  1. Start with 4 tablespoons of blood orange juice and whisk with the powdered sugar until thick and smooth. If If you want the icing to be darker in color, add more blood orange juice.

  2. Whisk in plant-based milk, one tablespoon at a time until you have a thick yet pourable consistency.