This kale and blood orange cake is fluffy and green, naturally! The flavour of the kale fades away beneath the zesty orange in the sponge, leaving behind some green goodness, and it's topped with a pale pink citrus buttercream. I've also given all of the options to make also make it a vegan kale blood orange cake, which I've tested and we loved.
Blood orange season is such a joy. These goth-fruits bleed their crimson tears onto cutting boards and hands as the heady citrus notes awaken dull winter days from their endless slumber.
When you make this cake, I urge you to buy extra blood oranges. As you mix and measure, stir and pour you will need to take breaks to sink your teeth into fresh, fragrant slices, allowing the red juice to stain your lips, like an illicit kiss from a vampire.
The red hue of the blood orange comes when the fruits are exposed to warm days and cold nights, usually in Southern Italy where they're most commonly grown. The extremes of temperature causes the flesh to turn red and make them beautifully tart, but sweet and not too acidic. They steel your body against winter illness - hissing, angry, at germs and filling you with antioxidants and vitamins.
Eaten delicately so as not to spend the afternoon in the sink with one's top and a bar of stain remover, these ruby spheres demand attention - trendy mindfulness, if you will - like no other food. Slow down and savour these beauties. The short winter season won't be around for long.
This kale and blood orange cake is fluffy and green, naturally! The flavour of the kale fades away beneath the zesty orange in the sponge, leaving behind some green goodness, and it's topped with a pale pink citrus buttercream.
I've also given all of the options to make also make it a vegan kale blood orange cake, which I've tested and we loved.
What rhymes with orange? Cake - Kale Cake.
The sudden bounty of blood oranges brings with it a plethora of new season recipes. Suddenly stew loses it's lustre and thoughts return to salads and fresher flavours. But as I spread the red segments onto a bed of kale salad, it was cake that I wanted next. Kale and blood orange cake.
I wanted a zesty sponge with green goodness, I wanted a zingy buttercream.
And I wanted to give you the option of making it a vegan kale cake. I've made a few kale cakes and cupcakes in the past, but I've had a lot of you asking about how to veganise it - so here you go! I've tested both versions of the cake. The pictures are of the standard kale cake, but the vegan kale cake looks very similar. It rises just as much, but is just slightly less green due to the flax 'eggs'.
Get the Blood Orange Kale Cake Recipe
Also, pop down to the comments and let me know how you got on with the recipe. It’s always great to hear from my readers. Your support allows me write this UK food blog and bring you vegetable cake recipes as well as vegan desserts, plus savoury vegetarian and vegan recipes and breakfasts and drinks.
Kale and Blood Orange Cake (with vegan option)
- 150 g kale (2 cups, packed) (woody spines removed)
- 3 eggs [vegan: 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 7 ½ Tbsp water and left to stand for 5 mins to thicken slightly]
- 100 ml vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 100 g applesauce
- 175 g sugar
- juice of ½ a blood orange
- zest of 1 blood orange
- 250 g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the blood orange icing
- 250 g icing sugar (powdered confectioner's sugar)
- 4 tablespoons butter softened [vegan: use vegan spread]
- 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line a 9” square cake tin with parchment paper.
- Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and boil or steam for a few minutes until tender. Drain then refresh in cold water, drain well and puree (it will still be a bit little bit stringy, but persevere as long as you can until well pureed for a greener cake. If necessary, add a teaspoon of water but don’t allow the puree to get too wet. If you add water, squeeze excess moisture out of the resulting puree before adding to the batter). Set aside.
- Beat the eggs (or flax eggs), oil, vanilla, applesauce and sugar together well. Beat in the kale puree and orange zest and juice. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently combine.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack, removing the parchment paper, to cool completely.
For the Blood Orange Icing:
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the other ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Store in the fridge until ready to use. Frost the cooled cake as desired.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.