Blood orange pain d’epices

Blood orange pain d'spices cake, with star anise and cinnamon sticks. recipe by Ink Sugar Spice

It may be January, and sure, I’m off to a slow start but there are many things to love about this time of year. Days are already getting longer and there are buds stirring on trees and shoots pushing their way eagerly through the ground. There are even some early daffodils brightening up hedgerows and verges.

Once of the joys of January is the glut of blood oranges imported from sunnier climes. Of course, I’d prefer to use fruit and veg that hadn’t had its share of air miles, however that intense colour and flavour is truly a gift in grey January. I’m very thankful that these lovely citrus fruits are around at this time – I hope you find something to make this time of year enjoyable.


If it is out of the season for blood oranges, other good quality orange varieties such as Jaffa or navel can be replacements.

This recipe uses heart healthy olive oil rather than butter.


  • Saucepan
  • Large bowl
  • Small loaf tin
  • Greaseproof paper/parchment or cake liner
  • Sieve
  • Grater/microplane
  • Juicer/citrus reamer


  • Milk – 60g (don’t used skimmed milk)
  • Pinch salt
  • Star anise – 2
  • Cinnamon sticks – 2
  • Soft brown sugar – 150g
  • Plain flour – 275g
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Eggs, large – 2
  • Light olive oil – 70g (I used Filippo Berio Light and Mild)
  • Ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • Mixed spice – 2 teaspoons
  • Mixed candied peel – 60g
  • Blood oranges – 3:
    • Blood orange juice – juice of 1 blood orange
    • Blood orange zest – zest of 2 blood oranges
    • Additionally, some slices of orange for decoration from one of the zested blood oranges


  1. First of all, pour the milk into the saucepan and add in the salt, cinnamon sticks and star anise
  2. Warm the milk over a mid-heat, ensuring it does not come to the boil, and then leave to infuse for 15 minutes
  3. While the milk is infusing, turn on your oven to 180 *C fan / 200*C conventional
  4. Grease and line your loaf tin
  5. Slice one of the zested blood oranges and select 4-5 of the nicest slices and set aside
  6. Weigh out the remaining dry ingredients into the mixing bowl
  7. Sieve the cinnamon sticks and star anise from the milk, and add the milk into the bowl and lightly mix in
  8. Now mix in the eggs, oil, peel, orange juice and zest
  9. It will take a little gentle mixing to incorporate the oil and juice fully
  10. Pour into the prepared loaf tin and place the slices of orange on top, arranging them as you wish
  11. Place the prepared cake in the centre of the oven
  12. Bake for 45-50 minutes. The top will be well risen, and a skewer will come out clean when inserted for testing
  13. This is a lovely cake on its own, but it is especially delicious with a little softly whipped cream or a vanilla ice cream (and even spread with a little marmalade first!)

Published by Ink Sugar Spice

I’m Lynn and I’m a baker, pasta maker, patissiere, cook, crafter, designer, artist and illustrator. There's little that I can't make by hand. I have been making bread and pasta, baking and creating recipes for 30 years since a teenager. I was featured as the 'pasta fanatic' in episode three of Nadiya's Family Favourites on BBC2 (July 2018) I work as a web and graphic designer/copywriter/social media manager and have an honours degree in theatre design and have many artican crafts, carpentry and design skills. 💙 #pasta #food #baking #bread #patisserie #confectionery #art #crafts #recipes #blogger #design #illustration

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