A Naturally Sweetened Blood Orange and Almond Cake

Posted · 23 Comments

This past Sunday I was honored to have been a guest blogger over at Frosting for the Cause. Paula from the Vanilla Bean Baker has put together a blog to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Starting on January 1st, for every day of the year, a new blogger guest posts on how cancer has personally affected them and shares a baked good. Each guest blogger is also committed to donating $25 to cancer research. Frosting for the Cause is raising $9,125 by the bloggers alone. That’s fantastic and definitely a worthwhile cause that I am proud to have been a part of.

Frosting for the cause is still filling their calendar so there is definitely time to sign up for a guest post!

I hope you take the time to visit Frosting for the Cause and all of the wonderful posts submitted so far. Below is my post that I contributed on January, 23rd.

A Naturally Sweetened Blood Orange and Almond Cake

When I first heard of frosting for the cause to raise funds to find a cure for cancer, I was excited to join in and be involved with many other talented bloggers in baking a difference.

Cancer literally affects all of us. For the longest time I felt that cancer robbed me. I felt it had stolen me of time with my Abuela Isabel.


I was very young when my Abuela died of breast cancer. I was seven, maybe eight years old. I felt cheated of not having her there to run to and of spending my summers with her in Spain. I felt cheated of having her there to watch me graduate from college, get married and have children. Even as an adult I felt cheated when I needed her there to teach me how to cook and to show me her recipes and how she was taught. I needed her there in my life and I never had that chance.

In the deepest of my hearts I know that not all cancer can be prevented. It is what it is and I’ve come to recognize that although I have felt cheated of my time with her I am blessed to have had some time with her. I cherish those sweet moments that we had together and will forever remember my Abuela Isabel and anticipate the day when I get to meet her once again.

For frosting for the cause I decided to make a blood orange almond cake naturally sweetened with honey to honor my Abuela Isabel.


In Spain, pastries aren’t as sweet as they are in the States. With less sugar, natural sweeteners such as honey and fruit are used. My abuela loved honey so I knew this would be a perfect dessert to commemorate her.

With blood oranges in season, I decided to use them in the almond cake.


We all know how much vitamin c is in oranges, (One orange supplies 116% of our daily value) but do you know how important vitamin c really is to our bodies? Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, which helps to prevent cancer.

So by all means, eat oranges!


For this dessert we are using the entire orange so if possible, remember to use organic oranges in order to make sure your dessert is free of chemicals.

This almond cake is not too sweet yet perfectly moist. Drizzled with honey and a little olive oil will make this a crowd pleaser for sure.

Abuela… te quiero.

A Naturally Sweetened Blood Orange and Almond Cake


– makes enough for one 8” cake pan

    2 blood oranges or 1 large orange (organic)
    3 eggs
    ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    ½ cup raw honey
    2 cups ground almonds
    1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached white flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
    ½ tsp pure almond extract


1. Wash the oranges and pierce with a knife. Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the skin is very soft. Drain and allow to cool.


2. Preheat the oven to 350F.

3. Cut the cooled oranges in half and discard of the seeds. Place the entire orange in a food processor and puree.


4. In a bowl mix the eggs, honey, olive oil, vanilla and almond extract until well blended.

5. Fold in the baking powder, almonds and flour, then fold in the puree.

6. Grease an 8” (or I used a 6”) cake pan and line it with parchment paper.

7. Pour enough batter into the cake pan to fill at least 2/3 full.


8. Bake 6” cake pan for 40-45 minutes, 8” cake pan for 45-60 minutes or cupcakes for 20 minutes.

9. Once the cake is done, cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

10. Serve slices with drizzled honey a bit of olive oil or homemade whipped cream.

Buen Provecho!

23 Responses to "A Naturally Sweetened Blood Orange and Almond Cake"
  1. What a beautiful photo. A beautiful cake and thank you for raising awareness.

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photo and your memories. What a fantastic way to raise money for such a worthy cause – and thank you for a wonderful recipe too. I have some blood oranges so I am looking forward to trying this.

  3. Larissa says:

    “A Naturally Sweetened Blood Orange and Almond Cak how much flour do o use???????

  4. IAMSNWFLAKE says:

    Looks amazing! I’ll give it a try. However, I’m not sure I can get hold of blood oranges, I guess it will be the same with any other kind? … and how much flour is needed (looks like there’s a typo and the flour run away)?

  5. This looks fabulous!

    Claudia Roden has a similar recipe in her books (Middle Eastern Food and Book of Jewish Food), but I like your naturally sweetened version (hers uses white sugar).

    Have you ever made it without the flour for a gluten-free version? I may try this with sprouted rice flour.

    (I like the new look of the blog- the colors are beautiful).

  6. Oh what a lovely post – thank you for sharing! Also, that cake looks wonderful – moist, sweet, delicious!

  7. healthy delicious cake looks wonderful

  8. I love blood oranges; if only they were available more often. Absolutely delicious almond cake!

  9. Paula says:

    I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you volunteering to part a part of this project. To share your story about your beloved Abuela and to have made this wonderful cake in her honour was very touching. It was a pleasure to have you guest post and I’m so delighted that you joined us to help ♥bake♥ a difference. Thank you Diana!

  10. Natalie says:

    I have made this cake with mandarins before but love the sanguina idea. I lost my Nanny to breast cancer and I was diagnosed 18 months ago but am cancer free now. I think a lot has changed between then and now it really isn’t the scary death sentence that it was. I take what happened to me as a positive, my life is so much better now. What I realise is that what you put inside your body is really important, healthy, natural food and positive energy is the way forward for everyone!!

  11. Frank says:

    You know, I do love blood oranges. (They called them ‘tarocchi’ in Italian.) As you say, sweet but not too sweet.

    Thanks for the step-by-step instructions—even a lousy baker like myself could probably follow this recipe!

  12. Brie says:

    i’m sorry you lost your abuela so young. you often cook in her memory and this cake is a perfect tribute. awesome job for breast cancer research!

  13. Wow, love your new outlook and theme. Beautifully done cake, what a lovely color of those blood oranges, mind-blowing.

  14. Zuleika says:

    One of the most esthetically pleasing site ever seen. I am second generation Spaniard and I think it is definitively a genetic thing that we like less sweet foods. Thank you so much.

  15. Brianna says:

    This looks great! This may be a dumb question, I am not the best baker in the world, but when you say to put the whole orange in to be pureed, do you mean to include the peel?

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