From the kitchen: Blood Orange Cake with Blood Orange Cardamom Frosting
Hello! How was your weekend? I spent most of my weekend watching what felt like an unhealthy amount of movies on Netflix. Have you seen Color me Kubrick? It’s quite fascinating. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s based on a true story about a man who fooled many people into thinking he was Stanley Kubrick! I also watched Clueless (for the 10,000th time – that’s not an exaggeration), Young Adult (I wasn’t too fond), Manhattan (one of my all-time faves) and the best of the best, Coming to America (#sexualchocolate). Netflix blows my mind. But amidst my movie gluttony, I did manage to have a date night with Mr. P (we saw a show at UCB with Matt Besser that was painfully hilarious) and I baked a cake. A delicious, fruity, three layer blood orange cake with blood orange and cardamom frosting. it. was. amazing.
I recently bought a couple of round cake cutters in different sizes for making layered cakes without having to bake full cake pans. I always find full size layer cakes to be far too much cake per slice. As such, I decided to use my 4 1/2″ cake cutter to make smaller, mini layered cakes. I baked my cake in an 18″ x 13″ rimmed baking sheet and was able to cut 6 small cake layers, which made two three-layer cakes.
I had leftover frosting once I frosted both of my mini cakes, so I combined it with the cake scraps still left in the baking sheet and made just over a dozen cake pops (which I’ll post soon, but here’s a great step-by-step on how to make cake pops in the meantime). Even though I took extra steps to create these guys, they were so cute and teensy (perhaps for a Valentine’s dinner for two?), that I thought it was well worth the effort. And the fact that I was able to make cake pops and not waste any ingredients was the frosting on the cake (pun definitely intended).
Blood Orange Cake with Blood Orange Cardamom Frosting (adapted from Ina Garten)
Makes 2 mini 4 1/2″ round three-layer cakes (plus scraps for making cake pops!) – even though these guys are mini, they sure do feed a lot of hungry friends. I found that each cake easily served 6 generous slices.
(NOTE: I’m wacky and I like to make things extra complicated for the sake of cuteness. If you’d rather keep things easy, use 2 loaf pans as suggested in Ina Garten’s original recipe and call it a day! If you’re crazy like me and want to make mini cakes and have leftover for cake pops, continue reading!)
for the cake:
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup grated blood orange zest (4-6 medium blood oranges)
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice, divided
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup blood orange juice
- 2- 8oz packages cream cheese, softened to room temp
- 2 sticks butter, softened to room temp
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 tablespoons blood orange zest
- 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted (optional)
(NOTE: I prefer a less sweet frosting, so I only used 1/2 cup confectioners sugar. I recommend adding confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you’ve reached your desired sweetness)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 18″x13″ baking sheet. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
Cream the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the blood orange zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine blood orange juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
Pour cake batter into baking sheet and smooth the top to ensure evenness. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
When the cake is done, allow to cool completely in the pan, 30 minutes to an hour.
In the meantime, prepare your frosting.
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup blood orange juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside and let cool completely. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese at medium-high speed until smooth. Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean butter mixture, add cardamom and blood orange zest and beat at medium-high speed to combine. Mix in the cooled syrup 2-3 tablespoons at a time until fully incorporated. Add confectioner sugar as needed 1/2 cup at a time.
Assemble each cake, one layer at a time, frosting the top of each layer with an icing spatula as you go. Once all of the tops are frosted, frost the side of your cake. Use a rotating cake stand if you have one. Refrigerate the cake to set as needed. Serve with tea or coffee! ENJOY!