I must be the only person I know who is looking forward to daylight savings time. I will happily lose an hour of sleep once if it means later sunrises, later sunsets, and longer days. I have been craving those extra hours of light. Days long enough and light enough to allow time for work and a sunset hike. Clear skies and brighter stars and everything in bloom. And I somehow feel like I have more time to get everything done if the sun is out longer— it may not make perfect sense, but my brain works in crazy ways.
It finally feels like the start of spring over here— warm weather and sunshine, iced coffee, longer days, better photographs more time outdoors.
But the start of spring means the end of winter produce, and I’m determined to try as much of it as I can before it goes out of season.
I enjoy produce, and I try to buy a lot of it. How I went so long without having a blood orange is a mystery to me. Finally this year, at the tail end of the season, I tried one for the first time.
The flavors were such a surprise to me. A bittersweet orange, with just the faintest hint of tart. The minute I bit into a slice, I thought, “this would go perfectly with vanilla.”
I turned those blood oranges into this loaf, with poppy seeds I spotted in the bulk aisle of my grocery store. I had never baked with either before, but citrus + poppy seeds has long been one of my favorite pairings, and I decided to go for it. The loaf turned out beautifully– butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt, blood orange, poppy seeds, and yes, just a hint of vanilla.
This loaf begins with zest. Lots of it.
Work it into granulated sugar with your fingertips. Find the super simple step-by-step here.
Stir in vanilla extract, oil, melted butter, and blood orange juice.
Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet.
Pour the batter into a loaf pan, and pop it in the oven.
Meanwhile, we’ll whisk together some strained juice and powdered sugar. It will make the prettiest pink glaze.
Add more powdered sugar if you want your glaze to stay opaque on top of the loaf.
An hour later, take your loaf out of the oven. It should look something like this, a beautiful golden brown.
Pour the glaze over the top.
Let it all cool down. Patience is key.
I’m not the most patient person, so I just sliced right in.
I promise it’s waaaay better if you can wait for it to cool… But I don’t blame you if you decide to slice it up right away.
Slice and serve.
Absolute perfection when served with tea. I went through two slices of the stuff as I was writing this post.
This loaf hit all the right notes for me— sweet, tart, zest, and just a little bitter. The poppy seeds add a nice crunch, which I love. This loaf cake is on the heavier side, but it still feels light enough to me to transition into spring.
Blood Orange Poppy Seed Loaf
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp blood orange zest (from 1-2 blood oranges)
- 1½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/4 cup poppyseeds
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 3 eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup strained blood orange juice (from 1 orange)
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Add a small rectangular piece of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine orange zest and sugar. Rub together to infuse the sugar with essential oils.
- Add the yogurt and eggs to the sugar mixture. Add vanilla, vegetable oil, and melted butter. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Continue to whisk gently while adding the dry ingredients. Whisk until all large clumps are gone.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown and a fork stuck into the center comes out clean.
- Prepare a glaze for the loaf by whisking together the strained blood orange juice and icing sugar until all clumps are gone.
- Pour the glaze evenly over the loaf. Allow the loaf to cool in the pan.
- Slice and serve. This loaf can be kept in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, for 3-5 days.
This loaf has a strong zesty flavor, so cut down zest to 1 tablespoon if you want less bitterness.
If you would like it to be opaque on the loaf, instead of soaking in, add more icing sugar to the glaze and allow the loaf to cool completely before glazing.