It’s mid-January, or as I like to call it, “Let’s All Go Crazy Over Unusual Citrus” season. It’s like a friendlier version of the Hunger Games, where markets hide small quantities of short-seasoned produce here and there, and we see who can find things first and subsequently make and publish recipes for said thing before it disappears again.
Let’s be clear: no matter how incredible the produce, it’s slightly ridiculous. Most of this hard-to-find produce tastes very similar (if not identical) than its readily-available relatives. Nevertheless, we cave.
More specifically, I caved. I ran through Whole Foods with these blood oranges held high over my head like I was carrying the Olympic torch. I was prepared, too, because after three Januarys of blogging, I finally figured out how to arrive on time to the party.
So I made you this cake. I’m going to let it speak for itself, for once, because we only have so much time before those stunning blood oranges vanish.
So this cake: it’s easy. It can be done as a bundt or in a Springform: whichever you prefer. I made mine in my favorite bundt pan, and it came out beautifully. Then I poked holes in it and syrup-ified it with blood orange syrup. And then, with horror, I remembered something.
How utterly hopeless I am at drizzle-icing bundt cakes.
I don’t even know what’s going on here.
What I do know is this: just because I screwed up the icing doesn’t mean you have to. Use a more forgiving bundt, or the Springform. Or just be someone who can drizzle things, really. Don’t be me.
I guarantee it’ll turn out better than this.
Remember when I said that I have an unusual talent for souffle-making? Well, this is the universe’s way of leveling the playing field in terms of food. A polar bear could have done a better job.
None of this takes away from the deliciousness of this cake. It’s lightly scented with rosemary; where this rosemary loaf cake relies on rosemary as a main component, this cake only hints at it, which is a nice complement to the subtle orange flavor in here. Like a rosemary whisper: you know it’s there, but it’s not beating you about the head.
And honestly, if you’re as talented at drizzling as I am, feel free to leave the frosting off. It’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but I never feel like confectioners sugar plus juice equals much of anything in terms of flavor for me; it makes for a gorgeously pink top, though, even if you screw it up.
Adapted from What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits & Pieces by Katie Quinn Davies. This was one of my Christmas presents this year, and I’m still getting to know it. Once I get a chance to make more recipes from it, I’ll give you a little review.
Blood Orange + Rosemary Cake
for the cake:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup fresh-squeezed blood orange juice (from 2 to 3 oranges), strained
- 3 to 4 springs rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped (should be about 1 tablespoon once chopped)
for the syrup:
- 1 cup fresh-squeezed blood orange juice* (from 4-5 oranges, see note)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
for the icing:
- juice of one blood orange
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
*If you don’t want to waste all of your precious blood oranges on the syrup, it’s perfectly acceptable to add some normal oranges into the mix. Substitute 2-3 navel or cara cara oranges for 2 of the blood oranges if you feel the need.
Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease a 6-cup Bundt pan or grease and line a 9-inch Springform pan with parchment. Don’t freak out if you don’t have a 6-cup Bundt pan; neither do I. Use a 10-cup one and it’ll be great, because it won’t fill all the way and you’ll have a perfectly flat bottom.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed for 10 minutes, scraping down the bowl 2 to 3 times during the process, until the mixture is light and airy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Add the orange juice and rosemary and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl and beating for a few more seconds until everything is evenly incorporated. If it looks curdled, it’s fine: that’s just how juice and butter (mis)behave until the flour gets in there.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, stirring only until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix for a few more seconds, until no dry spots remain. Remove bowl from stand and run your spatula through to make sure everything is evenly mixed (as you can see, I like to be careful with cakes: it’s worth it when your cake comes out perfectly even with no weird spots, just saying.)
Bake for 35-40 minutes, checking at the 30-minute mark for doneness by sticking the center of the cake with a toothpick. If you’re using a Springform, add a few minutes to the time and check at the 35-minute mark. Remove and allow to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan.
Make the syrup:
In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice and sugar over medium heat until it reduces to around a third of its original amount. You’ll see a change in thickness as well: don’t let it get too sticky, but let it thicken slightly so you’re not pouring juice over a cake. Set aside to cool slightly.
Syrup the cake:
Once cake has cooled slightly, flip the cake onto a wire rack from the pan (if Bundt-ing it) or release the sides of the pan (if you’re on Team Springform.) Poke holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer and spoon syrup carefully and evenly over the cake. Allow to cool completely on wire rack.
Make the icing:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice and 1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar together until blended. Add more confectioners sugar as needed until icing reaches desired consistency: it should be thick enough to hold to the cake, but not so thick it’s pasty. Drizzle over your completely cooled cake and serve immediately.