Blood orange cake
I made this blood orange cake a couple of weeks ago now, and it’s taken me longer than I wanted to share it with you (but that’s the way it goes, isnt’ it?). I think the pretty pink hue and citrus profile are a perfect way to bridge the gap between winter and spring. The blood oranges this season have been the best I’ve ever had in my life. So sweet and juicy. If you can get your hands on some, do it.
You know, I have never been so grateful for the spring time change. I know it sucks for people who have to wake up and go straight to work early in the morning but I’m a happy camper. Why? Because my baby never accepted the FALL time change. Yes, that’s right. I whined about it (threatened violence?) all the way back then and it never really got better. Everett carried on waking up at his pre-“fall-back” time, then incrementally earlier until we were waking up at 5-5:30 on a regular basis.
Not only is that just too bloody early (blood orange-y early?? EH? No? Ok, sorry ), but it’s also like adding a couple of hours onto your work shift, you know? If your kids wake up at 7 and go to bed at 7, you are “on” for 12 hours. When they start waking up at 5, your duties as entertainer, feeder, conversation-maker, etc. are extended by 2 hours. And under-slept children are crankier at a rate inversely proportional to the amount less sleep they’ve gotten.
Shall I draw a chart? Let me get a glass of wine and a pen. Ok, no, just a glass of wine.
Anyway, since daylight savings time, the clock has been occasionally saying 7 o’clock at the time when Everett wakes the high heavens. I am more rested and happier for it.
And I look forward to the day when I’m undistracted enough at dinnertime to actually notice it stays lighter for an extra hour in the evening.
Although I don’t fully blame my distraction, it has been pretty miserably grey in the Pacific Northwest. It’s barely light enough to notice when twilight comes. Trying to enjoy the last of reading socks and bubble bath season, lighting candles and so forth, to make the most of cozy-time before I get the springtime itchy feet and can’t stand to be inside at all. Until then, I’ll be eating spring-hued cake and staying bundled.
This recipe uses the whole oranges – the zest, the pith and the fruit itself. They’re sliced and simmered until tender, then pureed. This gives the cake an amazing depth of flavour, and makes for a very moist crumb. I’ve got another Orange Cake option here – this portuguese version is more labour-intensive, but also very delicious.
For blood orange puree
- 3 medium blood oranges washed well and sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups blood orange puree
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- juice of 1 blood orange
- About 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- Bring sliced blood oranges and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Carefully transfer to blender and let cool 10 minutes. Blend on high power until completely smooth. Measure out two cups, and discard (or repurpose - smoothie?) any leftover. There won't be much.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9x2" round baking pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine two cups of the blood orange puree with the melted butter and egg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour the orange mixture into the flour mixture and gently fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Bake in centre of oven for about 40 minutes, or until centre feels a bit bouncy when lightly pressed. Let cool a few minutes in pan, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make glaze, whisk together juice and confectioners' sugar. If you prefer a runnier glaze, add a bit of water about a half-teaspoon at a time. Spread or pour over cake once it's completely cool.