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
If you make this kale cake recipe, please tag it with #veggiedesserts on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I LOVE seeing your recreations of my recipes!
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 tablespoon flaxseed meal mixed with 7 ½ tablespoon 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.
I don't come across blood oranges that often but I'll be in the look out so I can try this!
I didn't even think of using kale in cakes - wow! These look delicious.
I tried this sort of as a joke, but everyone really loved it! It was a little hard to puree the kale, but I added water like you said and it made it easier. I'll make it again. Maybe a monster cake with it!
What a gorgeous cake
This was so good! I would never have thought of using kale in a cake but I'm so glad I tried it. Thanks for the recipe!
So creative! Thanks for the vegan option! Will bookmark for fall, I'll let you know how it goes. 🙂
What a great recipe! Cant wait to give it a go! But I was wondering, where Im at, getting apples, much less applesauce is almost imposible 🙁 *cries eternally* So do you have any suggestions for replacing the applesauce in the recipe?
What a shame not to get apples :(. I haven't tested it, but you could add some yogurt to replace the applesauce or else a bit of cooking oil. I hope it works!
I love blood oranges, they have such a delicious tang to them. These cakes look so good! Popping over from #extraveg x
Blood oranges are just so alluring and yet repelling at the same time. I love them and I love how you've described them. I bet they go superbly with the kale cake.
You always amaze us with your inventive recipes and enticing images. Love this one, Kate. And I am vey impressed that you did it both vegan and "regular" 🙂
How utterly fabulous is this?! Gorgeous photos and mouthwatering cakes!
This looks fabulous! I love adding 'strange' things into cakes. Kale seems like the perfect thing for me!
I adore Blood Oranges but haven't seen any this year, boo hoo! Your cakes look adorable and sound totally scrummy too:-)
Jo of Jo's Kitchen
Gorgeous photos as ever! What a great way to use up blood oranges
What an interesting recipe. I love that you used some healthy ingredients to make this gorgeous cake.
I've never fancied green cake since my sister made an Emperor Ming cake and we all refused it including the birds.... until now that is. Such gorgeous pics - getting my fangs out now.
Ceri @Natural Kitchen Adventures
Oh this is totally gorgeous Kate - and love love love how red your oranges are - what luck!
I love the idea of incorporating veggies into desserts. It's pratically guilt free that way! 🙂
I love blood oranges but it's so hard to get the colour into bakes so I love that you've turned out on it's head by going green instead! Very cool!
Keep Calm and Fanny On
I'm loving Blood Orange season so much, and these seem perfect! Thanks...
Your pictures are so pretty. Food looks yummy too.
Thank you so much!
Fantastic post Kate 🙂 I love the way you write! We also call them goth oranges! Glad I'm not the only one hahaha. Love the idea of cooking with kale - I've still not moved beyond courgette muffins and beetroot cake but this looks fantastic.
Courgette muffins and beet cake are so nice as well! But goth oranges are amazing 🙂
Omg, how creative! Absolutely loving this, will make it definitely when I can get some kale!
I hope you do! Let me know how you get on 🙂
I love how colourful the end result is! I must admit, I've not tried blood oranges but as someone with a not very secret inner goth I must!
I know, so green! Embrace your inner goth with blood oranges!
Everyday Sarah Jane
I Love the flavors of blood oranges...I bet this dessert tastes amazing!
It does! So zingy and greeen!
Katie Bryson (@cookingkt)
What a beautifully written and photographed post! You've really celebrated those blood oranges 🙂 I bought a load last week and made some Blood Orange Curd and then just squeezed the juice to drink of the rest as they were so delicious!!!!!
Thank you so much, Katie. That's made me smile. Enjoy your blood oranges while they last!