Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein
Sonja_For The Pleasure Of Eating

Hey There!

Lovely to meet you!

I’m Sonja and “For The Pleasure Of Eating” is my food blog.

Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or discover new recipes, my blog is the perfect place to find ideas that impress your family and friends while creating a party in your mouth!

More about me and how I lost weight here.

 

This super pretty pink Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein will brighten up your table while bringing you a zesty and nutty tasting cake that is very easy to make. The sponge is full of pistachio-orange flavour, while still feeling light enough to have it any day with a nice cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. What’s more: It comes with about 10g of protein per slice, meaning you get your nutrition from your dessert. The candied orange slices are optional, but highly recommended and once you made them, you’ll wonder why you ever bought them, it’s so simple.

 

Why You Will Love This

I mean look at it! Doesn’t it lift your mood simply because it’s there? It sure does for me. But if you need more reasons, here we go.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

Easy to Make

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein is essentially a very simple sponge cake you can whip up in a few minutes. The only special equipment you’ll need is a food processor, do grind the pistachios, as they can be hard to find pre-ground.

The icing comes together in seconds and the candied oranges take just a few minutes on the hob and some drying time.

This cake is just as good as impressive centre piece for afternoon tea with guests, as it is to have just by yourself during the week, because of how easy it is to make and how well it keeps due to the pistachio-rich batter.

Pretty Pink and Entirely Natural Icing

Blood Oranges give you an incredibly pretty icing without any food colouring. Even though not all of them have the dark red shades on the skin, the juice tends to be a really intense red, which will colour the simply icing sugar mix just on its own. No colour needed.

Protein

If you read some of my dessert recipes, you probably noticed I include protein powder in most of them. This is because I made dessert essentially a main meal. Due to my busy fulltime job, I rarely have time to eat breakfast, so usually I meal prep lunch and something sweet for the evening on my weekends, to have it ready during the week.

Now, would I eat “normal” desserts, which usually have very little nutrition, that would probably not be a good idea. But I try to incorporate fruits, nuts, protein, and nutritionally dense carbs in everything I make, meaning I fuel my body with them and there is no reason to feel bad about eating them.

Dessert for Breakfast. Or Dinner?

The above distribution of my meals (including this Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein) is very intentionally structured around what I feel like eating at the time of day I have the food.
Usually, having “lunch” as my first meal, I feel like something savoury, ideally with lots of veggies, that will fuel me until dinner.

While in the evening, after the stresses of the day, I almost always crave something sweet. Do I use the food to reward myself? Absolutely. But by doing this in an intentional way and including all the nutrition my body needs in it, I feel pretty great about it too.

Pistachios for Lovely Contrast and Flavour

This recipe was inspired by one from “Nistisima” by Georgina Hayden for a vegan walnut-orange cake, that is often eaten during fasting.
I wanted protein in my cake and pretty green pistachios instead of walnuts, to provide a contrast to the bright colours and flavour of the blood oranges. Also slightly lower calories. So I adapted the recipe accordingly.

The Ingredients

I’m giving just a few of the ingredients here and why I used them. For the full list, please see the recipe.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein_Ingredients

Blood Oranges

Blood oranges are in season, so I wanted to make a dessert that really showcases their pretty colour and bright, intense flavour. I feel this Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein does just that. Both their juice and zest are used in the sponge, more juice to make the pink icing and they get candied to create an amazing and very snackable topping.

They also contain lots of fibre and vitamin C together with and whole range of other nutrients, meaning they are really good for you. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/blood-orange-benefits

If Blood Oranges are not in season, you can of course use normal oranges. They just won’t add the pink colour to the icing. Or use blood orange juice from the fridge in your supermarket. I’ve seen one brand having it relatively regularly.

Pistachios

While it was near impossible to get shelled pistachios in Ireland for a while, they are slowly becoming more common. I found mine at Holland & Barrett, but also saw some at Dunnes.
Depending on where you live, you might want to check health food shops for them, as they seem to be easier to find there.

Pistachios are rich in nutrients, one of the lowest calorie nuts and high in protein.

That being said, Pistachios are not a “nut” in the biological sense, but rather in the same family called “drupes” together with cashews and almonds. Which also explains their affinity with most foods that almonds go so well with.

If pistachios are very expensive where you live, you could replace either half or all of them with almonds and the cake would still be delicious. Just not as pretty light green.

Protein

I’m using as usual my favourite (neither sponsored nor affiliated) MyProtein Whey. In this case their Buttered Popcorn flavour.
Vanilla flavour would work great too.

You could use vegan or casein protein powder, which I read are especially great for baking, but I absolutely despise the flavour of all vegan powders I have tried, and found MyProtein Whey to work rather fantastic in any dessert. So swap at your own risk.

Apart from the beneficial added protein, the powder replaces part of the plain flour and sugar, which brings the nutrition up and the calories down. Win/win.

Whole Wheat Flour

To up the nutty flavour of this cake, I swapped part of the more typically used plain flour for whole wheat flour. Fine to be specific. This is particularly nice for cakes, as it’s finer ground than the typically coarse whole wheat flour you’d use for bread, but still has all of the nutrition of the whole grain.

Icing

Blood Orange Icing_Ingredients

All you need for the pink icing is icing sugar and blood orange juice. Extremely simple and very delicious. It also “seals” the cake, keeping in the moisture, so it will last for a few days on your counter.

Candied Oranges

Candied Blood Oranges_Ingredients

I know, everything candied sounds so very complicated, doesn’t it?
I can assure you, it’s not. Orange slices, sugar and water is all you need. It’s entirely made on the hob. A sugar thermometer is needed.

 

Making this Cake Vegan

To transform this cake into a vegan one, simply replace the 2 eggs with another 1/2 cup of light olive oil and use a vegan protein powder.

The Process

The Candied Blood Oranges

Start by making the candied oranges if you chose to include them. This will make a few more than you need, which is perfect, as they are great for nibbling.

Prepare a sheet pan with a wire rack by placing some baking parchment under the wire, for less mess to clean up later.

First bring a pot with water to the boil and prepare a bowl of iced water. Once boiling, gently lower your orange slices into the water and simmer for 2 minutes, taking them out with a slotted spoon when done and plunging them into the ice bath. This will remove some of the bitterness from the peel.

Candied Blood Oranges_Process

Next add your cup of sugar and ½ cup of water to a medium saucepan. The little red flecks you see in the pot above are orange juice from the cut off ends I squeezed into it.

Stir while bringing it to the boil, so the sugar can dissolve. Once it boils, stop stirring and just swirl the pot occasionally, to prevent sugar crystals from forming. If any form on the sides of the pot, use a wet brush to push them down.

Let the syrup come to 225°F/110°C, then gently and in layers, lower all the orange slices into it.
Continue to simmer the mix until it reaches about 230°F/115°C (Keep an eye on it. You don’t want it to turn into dark caramel accidentally) while carefully turning the orange slices once with thongs or a spatula. Once the target temperature is reached, your syrup should be fairly thick.

Pick out the now candied orange slices one by one with a fork or thongs and place on the wire rack. Be sure to keep a bit of space between them, so they don’t stick together.
Leave to cool for at least 1h.

Candied Blood Oranges

If you are not using them immediately, they can be stored in a lidded container in the fridge for up to a week. So you can prepare them ahead of time. Ideally keep them in single layers on baking parchment, to keeping them for becoming one huge sticky orange piece.

The Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

Start by greasing a springform and line the bottom with baking parchment. This is easiest if you lay the parchment over the loose bottom, then fasten the ring around it and cut off the overlap.

Preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or with your stand mixer, whisk together sugar and oil. Note the sugar won’t entirely dissolve, as it might in butter. That’s fine. Just whisk for a few minutes until it’s mostly there. Add the eggs one by one and mix until light and foamy and the sugar has dissolved. In doubt rub some of the mix between your fingertips. If it’s still slightly grainy, mix a bit longer until it feels smooth.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein_Process

Now you can add all the remaining wet ingredients and the protein powder. Continue whisking until really smooth and foamy. This will add lift to the sponge.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients, keeping ¼ cup of chopped pistachios back for garnish later.

Add the dry to the wet and gently fold in with a spoon or silicone spatula until no dry flour remains. Don’t overmix, or you will develop the gluten and your sponge will become tough.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein_Process

Pour the batter into your prepared springform. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, rotating once if your oven bakes unevenly, until it’s nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein_Process

Leave the cake to cool in the form for about 10minutes, then take it out of the springform and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Don’t add the icing while still warm, or it will just soak into the cake. Which is still delicious, but not as pretty.

 

The Blood Orange Icing

Juice your last blood orange and add the icing sugar to a bowl or small jug. Start by adding 2-3 tbsp of the juice to the sugar and, using a small whisk, incorporating it until there is no liquid left. Judge the consistency. It should be thick, but still drizzleable (is that a word? If not, it should be!). Add more juice or sugar if it’s not quite right.

Blood Orange Icing_Process

Pour the icing over your cake, first one half, spread with a spatula or back of a large spoon, then add more where you feel it’s a bit thin. You could also do this in two layers, letting the first one dry completely before you add the second. Use a spatula to spread some of the icing that has run off onto the sides to complete the look.

Blood Orange Icing_Process
Let the icing dry completely before you decorate the cake.

 

Decorate and Serve

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

Just before serving your Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein, decorate it with the candied oranges and remaining chopped pistachios. Slice and enjoy with a lovely cup of hot tea or coffee. Earl Grey would be particularly fitting here.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

Getting Ahead

 

Both the sponge and candied oranges can be made the day before. The orange slices keep well in a lidded container in the fridge. Ideally each layer separated by baking parchment, to prevent them from sticking to each other.

The cake will be fine for up to 5 days covered with kitchen foil or clingfilm. I used kitchen foil and domed it, so it wouldn’t touch the oranges and stick to them.

The cake also freezes well. Even with the icing, though it will soak into the cake a bit when thawing and not be as pretty anymore. So ideally ice later. Or just enjoy the extra flavour that soaked into the cake.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

If you liked this recipe, you might also like:

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein 

Lemon Poppy Sourdough Zucchini Bread with Protein 

Banoffee Protein Mousse Pie

Please Comment

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein

This super pretty pink Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein will brighten up your table while bringing you a zesty and nutty tasting cake that is very easy to make. The sponge is full of pistachio-orange flavour, while still feeling light enough to have it any day with a nice cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. What’s more: It comes with about 10g of protein per slice, meaning you get your nutrition from your dessert. The candied orange slices are optional, but highly recommended and once you made them, you’ll wonder why you ever bought them, it’s so simple.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling and drying time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 468 kcal

Equipment

  • Food Processor, sugar thermometer, springform

Ingredients
  

Sponge:

  • ½ cup olive oil light
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups pistachios finely chop 1 cup, keep 1/4 for decorating, grind rest
  • 4 blood oranges zest 1 + juice until you have 1 cup.
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup +2 tbsp whole wheat flour fine
  • 2/3 cup protein powder I used MyProtein buttered popcorn flavour. Vanilla works too
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Icing:

  • 1 blood orange
  • 1.5 cups icing sugar

Candied Blood Orange Slices:

  • 3 Blood Oranges cut into 0.2in slices
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

Instructions
 

Candied Blood Orange Slices:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of iced water.
  • Blanch the orange slices in boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer them to the ice bath.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  • Once the syrup reaches 225°F/110°C, gently add the orange slices in layers.
  • Simmer until the syrup thickens and reaches about 230°F/115°C, ensuring the orange slices are evenly coated.
  • Using tongs or a fork, transfer the candied orange slices to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Allow them to cool for at least 1 hour.

Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Grease a springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil and brown sugar until mostly dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until light and foamy.
  • Stir in the blood orange zest, juice, and protein powder until smooth and foamy.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flours, ground pistachios (reserving 1/4 cup for garnish), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Blood Orange Icing:

  • In a bowl or small jug, combine the blood orange juice with icing sugar. Start with 2-3 tablespoons of juice and adjust to reach a thick but pourable consistency.
  • Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
  • Allow the icing to set completely before decorating.

Decorate and Serve:

  • Arrange the candied blood orange slices on top of the cake and sprinkle with the reserved chopped pistachios.
  • Slice and serve the cake with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Notes

Getting Ahead
Both the sponge and candied oranges can be made the day before. The orange slices keep well in a lidded container in the fridge. Ideally each layer separated by baking parchment, to prevent them from sticking to each other.
The cake will be fine for up to 5 days covered with kitchen foil or clingfilm. I used kitchen foil and domed it, so it wouldn’t touch the oranges and stick to them.
The cake also freezes well. Even with the icing, though it will soak into the cake a bit when thawing and not be as pretty anymore. So ideally ice later. Or just enjoy the extra flavour that soaked into the cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 468kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 12gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 238mgPotassium: 326mgFiber: 3gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 172IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition Facts
Blood Orange and Pistachio Cake with Protein
Amount per Serving
Calories
468
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
21
g
32
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Trans Fat
 
0.003
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
12
g
Cholesterol
 
37
mg
12
%
Sodium
 
238
mg
10
%
Potassium
 
326
mg
9
%
Carbohydrates
 
63
g
21
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
48
g
53
%
Protein
 
12
g
24
%
Vitamin A
 
172
IU
3
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
107
mg
11
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Easy, For Guests, fruit, Protein, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

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