Not too sweet, this flavorful spelt cake is perfect not only for dessert, but also at breakfast beside a cappuccino.
I often bake for our farmhouse guests when we are in Umbria during our six month stay, but I rarely bake much when we are stateside. I have been thoroughly enjoying the availability of blood oranges the past month or two although at times, I find myself with too many on hand. After buying a few too many blood oranges a few weeks ago, I decided to bake a snack cake using whole blood oranges and spelt flour instead of regular all-purpose flour.
My husband is not a fan of icing in any description, so I simply topped this cake with powdered sugar, but a glaze made from blood orange juice and powdered sugar would be wonderful on this cake as well. You could use either a bundt pan or a 9 inch springform pan as I have. This cake was very moist, fragrant, and not too sweet and we thoroughly enjoyed snacking on between meals, or for breakfast with our morning cappuccino.
If you are not familiar with blood oranges, they are a variety of orange that has a crimson, (blood-colored) flesh. The fruit is usually the same size as an average orange, although the ones I recently bought are quite small. The dark flesh color of this unique variety of orange is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon to citrus fruits. The dark red flesh develops its color when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night, which sometimes is reflected on the exterior of the rind as well. If you cannot find blood oranges, you can substitute regular oranges instead.
Spelt, (or farro) is an ancient grain with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor, and you can use spelt flour as a substitute for wheat or white flour when baking. Because spelt flour contains a differently structured gluten, you are less likely to compromise the texture of baked goods although the combination of high fiber and low, fragile gluten content in spelt makes this grain much easier to digest than modern, common wheat flour. Depending on the recipe, I use both light (white) and whole grain spelt flour for baking my breads and desserts. Spelt flour is high in fiber, and rich in niacin, zinc, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, and selenium.
- 4 Blood Oranges Cut Into Pieces, Seeds Discarded
- 3/4 Cup Light Buttermilk Divided
- 3 Cups Light or Whole Grain Spelt Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- 2 1/2 Cups Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Butter At Room Temperature
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 4 Large Eggs At Room Temperature
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Powdered Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease a 9-inch bundt or springform pan.
- Place the orange pieces in a food processor with 1/4 cup of buttermilk and pulse until blended.
- In one bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.
- In another bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together the sugar, olive oil, and butter until blended.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each, then add the remaining buttermilk and vanilla extract.
- Using low speed, add half the blood orange mixture, then half the flour mixture.
- Finally, add the rest of the blood oranges and flour mixture, beating just until combined.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan, allowing the cake to cool completely.
- Once cool, top with cake with powdered sugar and enjoy.
Deborah Mele is a self-taught cook whose passion for Italian cuisine began after living in Milan, Italy for 8 years. Although not Italian by birth, she became a true Italian by heart and palate. Deborah created her Italian recipe blog ItalianFoodForever.com 12 years ago to share her passion for Italian food.During her various travels throughout Italy, Deborah fell in love with the central Italian region of Umbria so when they retired, Deborah and her husband bought two farmhouses there where they now reside for six months a year and run a farmhouse rental for guests and give cooking classes.