blood orange citrus sheet cake with blood orange butter cream


Guess who finally found BLOOD ORANGES!!! I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for them since November…hahaha, but they only just showed up in the last couple weeks! I will be 100% honest and say that my obsession is purely based on looks, as their taste isn’t that much different than your average orange. But how fun is it to cut into a normal looking orange, and be rewarded with gorgeous shades of red? And I’ve been so delighted to play around with their natural colour in a few different recipes!

Last year I made one of my favourite recipes to date with them….a blood orange loaf!
As well as
a blood orange buckle.

I decided to start with the easiest recipe I could think of….a sheet cake! I took my favourite fluffy, white cake (from Tessa over at Style Sweet Ca), and added some blood orange juice and zest, and then topped it with the prettiest pink blood orange butter cream, as well as a few slices of blood oranges for an extra pop of colour! I am so so pleased with how it all came out. The cake has such a light, moist texture, and such a wonderful freshness due to the citrus flavours coming through.

Also it’s important to note that you can substitute any citrus for the blood oranges! Any kind of orange will work, and lemon would be so delicious too.

blood orange sheet cake

recipe: adapted from Tessa - Style Sweet Ca - fluffy white cake

yields: one 9x13 sheet cake


5 large egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon blood orange zest

juice from 1 blood orange (about 2 tablespoons)

3/4 cup whole milk - divided

2 1/2 cups cake flour (don’t have cake flour? Use 2 1/4 all purpose flour + 1/4 cup cornstarch - sift together)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 baking pan, and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the egg whites, vanilla extract, orange zest, orange juice, and 1/4 cup of the milk, and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix on low until combined.  Add in the softened butter and 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low until just moistened.  Turn the mixer to medium-high and mix until completely combined.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

With your mixer on medium-low, slowly stream in the egg white mixture.  Add it in 3 batches, and each addition should take about 15 seconds to pour in each time, so be patient.  Ensure everything is completely incorporated before adding the next batch, but try not to over-mix since it can make the cake dry.  Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and then pour into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-24 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove and cool on a cooling rack. I like to flip the cake over onto a piece of parchment. If it seems to be sticking a little, give it a very firm tap onto the table if your pan’s edges are taller than your cake. Use the parchment paper to gently flip the cake over again so that it’s right side up. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost with butter cream, recipe below. I topped mine with thin slices of blood oranges (do this directly before serving, and don’t store with orange slices on top…it can cause the frosting to separate). You could also use sprinkles, a chocolate drizzle, etc.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days, or in the freezer for several weeks.

*note: you may substitute blood oranges with any other citrus fruit.

blood orange butter cream

recipe: Kelsey Siemens
yields: about 3 cups frosting - enough for one 9x13 sheet cake


3/4 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tablespoon blood orange zest

juice from 1 blood orange - about 2 tablespoons


In a medium bowl, whip the butter on medium high until the butter is completely smooth, and has lightened in colour - about 3-4 minutes.

Sift powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar and orange zest to the whipped butter, and mix together on low. Slowly stream in blood orange juice. It’s important to do this slowly, as adding in the acidic liquid can sometimes cause the frosting to break if done too quickly. If this happens, simply refrigerate until the frosting firms up, and try mixing back together. If this still doesn’t work, then remove 1/4 cup of the frosting, warm up in the microwave, and then add back into the frosting and it will all come together again.

Add more powdered sugar if necessary, or milk to thin, depending on desired consistency.

Use immediately to frost cake, or store in the fridge until ready to use. Once stored in the fridge, it will need to come back to room temperature before spreading onto the cake.

Happy citrus season!