Sinister Citrus: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake and Being a Grown-Up

I’ve spent a lot of time in my twenties wondering when a person becomes an adult.

Is there a magic age when you suddenly…

  • Drink enough water?
  • Remember your multivitamin, even if they’re the sour gummy kind?
  • Make the bed in the mornings?
  • Don’t spill pasta on your laptop’s keyboard? (That one just happened.)
  • Consistently wear socks that match?
  • Understand what a 401K is? (Current theory: Every month, I give away some of my money, and when it amounts to 401,000 dollars, someone gives me a burrito. But like, a good one. I don’t even have to pay extra for guacamole. And then they give me all my money back. And then they give me some extra money as an apology for taking all my money, and then another burrito.)
  • Generally just be better at things?

I usually always settle with the answer, “I am an adult, but I may just not be very good!”

Seeing as I just rage-quit filing my taxes because I hated it and the website was getting a little too cute with me and while I remember most of the lyrics to “Come Sail Away” by Styx, I don’t remember last year’s adjusted gross income, it’s pretty safe to say, I think the answer holds up.

I’ll finish them. I promise. Talking to you, IRS! (I’m sure they’re big fans.)

So yeah, I’m working on this adult thing. Being better about vegetables, posture, bills, showers (JUST KIDDING!), and while it’s hard to keep all the bases covered all the time, one small thing I’ve found that starts the day on the right foot is always making sure you have breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I just made that up. Just now. That was me.

This week’s recipe is curtesy of Smitten Kitchen‘s Instagram. I then immediately googled how to save things on Instagram. Because I wanted to save that recipe, and also, I am bad at being a millennial.

Being-a-Grown-Up Breakfast: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake (with some edits)

I’m a sucker for a blood orange. If you’ve never had them, they’re a little bit tangier than an orange, and they have a deep crimson color.

They’re easily the most sinister of the citrus family.

The original recipe includes optional recipes for whipped cream and honey-blood orange compote. I’m not making them today, not because I don’t have a deep and meaningful relationship with whipped cream, but because this is grown up breakfast. Cake with a side of fiscal planning.

And we don’t talk about compote in this apartment. Not after the summer of ’76.

I’m sorry.


  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 cup (200 grams or 7 ounces) sugar
  • Scant 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • A book about the Roosevelts preferably by Doris Kearnes Goodwin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (156 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups (219 grams or 7 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Prerequisite: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter your cake pan of choice. Some rookies might forget this move, and spend 30 minute slowly trying to carve her individual olive oil cakes from her tin.

I mean, I’m great and didn’t do that, but some people may have done that.

I definitely did that.
  1. Zest two of the oranges into a bowl, and mix with the sugar until evenly combined.

2. “Supreme the orange”

I find it interesting that Smitten Kitchen calls the technique “Sumpreme-ing.” In the baking circles around my apartment, we call it Antoinetting the orange, but I guess you just can’t account for regional differences.

Read: Antoinetting is not a thing. I am a nonsense person.

All serious lingo aside, cut the head and the base off two of the oranges, and peel the pith with a knife, catching the orange’s membrane, so you can remove the pulp into 1/4″ pieces that you can gather into a bowl.

I have no pictures of this because it quickly came to my attention that the oranges I bought were miracle oranges that peel themselves merely by looking at them. This step would have quickly turned disastrous if not in the hands of a grown up. Which I am.

I am not a grown up, and “supreme-ing the orange” very quickly descended into me just ripping the orange like a raged scurvy-riddled cave woman.

3. Halve the last orange, and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Add the yogurt (or buttermilk, but I went with yogurt) to the juice till you have 2/3 cup. Top the cup off with 1/3 cup concern for current state of the honey bee.

Shouldn’t joke about that. It’s scary.

4. Pour the mixture into the sugar, and mix well. While you’re at it, whisk in eggs and olive oil and a healthy sense of accountability.

5. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Gently stir this mixture into the wet ingredients.

Optional wet ingredient: tears, but only because you watched Rudy again, not because you have to get your car checked out, and you don’t want to.


This is my attempt to get KitchenAid to send me things. Look at me whisking, KitchenAid!

6. Slowly fold in the orange segments, and pour batter into a prepared pan. Revel in the fact that you remembered to grease the pan. Can you imagine if you didn’t??!

I can.


Because I’m making my cake for this week’s breakfast, I went for the cupcake tin to make individual servings. I also got a rogue fourth blood orange to add slices to the bottom of each cake. For fanciness. Like the proper grown-ups do.

7. Bake for 15 minutes. The original cake recipe calls for baking the cake for 50-55 minutes. Because I am baking olive oil cupcakes, they will bake faster. A good rule of thumb, is sticking a fork into the cake, and when it comes out clean, it’s ready.


Review: Tasty! Perfect paired with coffee in the mornings, or with whipped cream for dessert at night. I’ve got my eyes on that compote for next time- that is if compote and I can get some peer mediation- but for this week’s breakfasts, they will be a nice treat.

And for those out there trying to keep all the life boxes checked/adult bases covered/bills bingo card full, breakfast is good, but I think we can admit, breakfast while scream-singing “Come Sail Away” and dancing in your favorite college sweatpants held together with floss and gumption is better.

Being a grown-up is a process. Hear that, IRS?! It’s a process.

2 thoughts on “Sinister Citrus: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake and Being a Grown-Up

  1. Meredith! You are the best wonderful friend! Wish I could make beautiful breakfast cupcakes and fill out my taxes with you. 🙂 Love, Hannah

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