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Blood Orange Banana Cake

Most of the time, when I have overripe bananas, I make banana bread. Simple, tasty and versatile, it is one of my favorite baked goods. Somehow, this week, I decided to turn my overripe bananas into a cake. I know that it was the overabundance of oranges on the trees outside and my desire to use at least a few of them before the squirrels had the chance that made me add oranges to the cake.

Blood oranges are slightly less acidic than other oranges, much in the same way that a meyer lemon is less acidic than a regular lemon. They usually have a bright red interior – hence the name – though the amound of “blood” can vary significantly between varities. If you notice the pinkness of the glaze topping the cake, it is because instead of mixing milk with confectioners sugar to a pourable consistency, I substituted a few tablespoons of blood orange juice.

This cake mixes up quickly and bakes quickly. The flavor is very balanced between the sweet, zesty taste of the blood oranges – though any oranges will work – and the bananas. The cake is very moist and very soft. The crumb is not as tight or light as a non-banana cake, however it is not nearly as dense as a banana bread. It is really excellent for breakfast or a snack, but if you topped it with a citrus-spiked mascarpone frosting, this would make a really standout dessert.
I can only imagine the cupcakes!

Blood Orange Banana Cake
1 cup blood orange sections (2 large, peeled)
2 medium bananas
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, very soft
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350F and butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
In a food processor, combine blood orange sections, bananas, sugar and butter and whizz until fairly smooth. Add in egg and vanilla and pulse to combine.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour in orange mixture and stir just until no lumps remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out dry and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and invert the cake onto a platter. Reinvert the cake onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Serves 8-10

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  • Michele
    December 16, 2005

    I can’t find blood oranges around here… will have to try this with regular oranges… looks delicious!

  • Stefany
    April 7, 2008

    I have these in the oven as cupcakes -can’t wait! I had a question about the flour… is that 1 1/4 cups or 1 1/2 cups? Thanks!

  • Julie
    January 18, 2010

    I followed the recipe exactly and the cake came out looking beautiful, it raises well and doesn’t fall in the middle. The texture is wonderful. I haven’t had anything like this. Frosting isn’t necessary but I served with blood orange syrup made from boiled down water/sugar/juice. I’ll be serving this a lot.

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