Blood Orange Poppy Seed Cake / by Chelsea Zwieg

My senior year of college, I moved into my very first off campus apartment with three of my friends and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. Really, it was the coolest thing ever. My bedroom was up in a loft, I had my own bathroom and nothing says independence like spending every dime you make on rent for an apartment in the ghetto, amirite? Also, this apartment had a kitchen that was way nicer than the kitchen I have now. Tons of counter space (!), a dishwasher (AHHHH), and a garbage disposal (!!!!), all things I am lacking in my current (but beloved) kitchen. The most disturbing part though, is that I used this spacious well-equipped kitchen maybe twice in the year that I lived there. Oh college Chelsea, if only you had known the perilous garbage disposal-less life that lay ahead.

However, I do remember one week where I decided to cook a bunch of food for the week ahead. Not sure what inspired this sudden surge of responsibility and planning, but I think it's fair to say it was short lived since my kitchen then returned to being a place to store my cereal and Quest bars for the rest of the year. But I do remember one good thing to come out of that week, and that was a grapefruit yogurt loaf (from Smitten Kitchen, of course) that I have been thinking about ever since. 

I'm usually not one for loaf breads that aren't banana of some kind, but I can make a definite exception when citrus soaked yogurt cake is on the line. I replaced the grapefruit with blood orange because there is NOTHING more gorgeous than blood oranges this time of year and I added some poppy seeds, but other than that it is just like the grapefruit cake of my short lived college cooking days. I like to eat this plain, but I imagine it would be great with some jam or curd on it as well. 

One more thing, there is a decent amount of vegetable oil in this batter since there is no butter. I would think it could be replaced with olive oil if that's your thing but I'm always weirdly hesitant about subbing in olive oil since I don't want it to overpower the other flavors. So if you do give it a try with olive oil (and I 99.99% think you should), let me know how it goes! 

Blood Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Adapted a lot from Ina Garten and a little from Smitten Kitchen

| Ingredients |

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt 
  • 2 tsp. blood orange zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup fresh blood orange juice + 1 tbsp. sugar

| Instructions | 

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 loaf pan and set aside. 
  • Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the yogurt, zest, sugar, eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until incorporated. Fold in the oil with a rubber spatula. Add the poppy seeds and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth with a spatula. Top with thin blood orange slices, if desired.  Bake 50-55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. I left mine in for closer to 60 minutes hoping it would brown more on top, but it ended up being a touch over baked. So don't stress too much about a pale color, just trust the tester. 
  • Let the loaf cool in it's pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Meanwhile, cook the blood orange juice and 1 tbsp. sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat. 
  • While the cake is still warm, slowly pour the glaze over the top of the loaf, letting it soak in. Place a piece of parchment under the wire rack to catch the glaze for easy cleanup. Let cake finish cooling before slicing.