Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blood Orange Vanilla Cake for a Special Day

Hope everyone had a great long weekend, those of you that had one. (thank god for bank holidays) I had an eventful one myself. This weekend I got to experience something new, the other half and I went to the symphony. They were playing Beethoven, and it was wonderful. We went to a great restaurant for dinner early that evening, Biga on the Banks, and then had time to stop in at a bar for a drink before the concert. Got to bake and relax, nothing better than that!

I started this little blog a year ago today as a creative outlet for my cakes and other sweets. I love to bake and I wanted to share it with others. The first blog I stumbled upon before I had ever heard of a baking blog was The Cupcake Project. The recipe was her Oreo Cupcakes with a built in chocolate cup for milk. I had been searching for an oreo cupcake recipe and was directed to her site. I couldn't believe my eyes, what a genius idea! I started reading some of her older posts and probably went through her whole blog in about two days. This was so exciting to me and is when I decided that keeping a blog would be a great way to document my baking adventures. You can tell from my first post that I was not very well versed. Needless to say I've gotten a little more talkative, and surprisingly it sparked my interest in photography and food styling as well. I am not the greatest at it by any means, but I am learning and enjoying every moment of it.

The color of the cake is all natural. The delicate pink hue came from the beautiful blood orange juice. I had been thinking of what I might like to bake to celebrate my blogs first year, and when I came across these oranges in the market they just called out to me. I have always wanted to try a blood orange and finally caught them in season. The cake turned out nice and fluffy with a sweet vanilla flavor and a wonderful hint of orange. It reminded me of a creamsicle. Yummy :)

Blood Orange Vanilla Cake

5 large egg whites (5 ounces/150 grams) at room temperature
3/4 cup blood orange juice (180 mL/6 liquid ounces), at room temperature
zest of 1 blood orange
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (9 grams)
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (10 ounces/285 grams)
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 ounces/350 grams)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder (19.5 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (6 ounces/170 grams), at room temperature and cut into cubes


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour two round 8-inch pans. (I used 9-inch pans)

2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of blood orange juice, zest, and the vanilla. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.

4. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of blood orange juice, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.

5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.

6. Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale,  weigh to ensure 2 even layers.

7. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

8. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons blood orange juice
zest of 1 blood orange
Pinch of salt


1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. 

2. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

3. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. 

4. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). 

5. Add vanilla, blood orange juice, zest, and salt, mix well.

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

Recipes slightly adapted from Sweetapolita's fluffy vanilla cake and swiss meringue buttercream. Rosie is amazing, her blog is one of my favorites.

My very first post, a year ago, and don't laugh at how little I wrote: Monster Cookies


  1. Happy Blogiversary! What a scrumptious way to celebrate. The cake looks so cute and I love the idea of blood orange and vanilla. Yum!

    1. Thanks Russell! My first time trying a blood orange, and I loved the color. Citrus goes with almost everything. Thanks for reading. :)

  2. Amazing that the blood orange juice produced that beautiful hue of pink. This cake is beautiful! This exactly what our food lovers on our community page love to hear about! We hope you stop by to share! http://bit.ly/yI0sZU

    1. Thanks so much Amanda! I would love to stop by.



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