This has been a difficult post to write. I just deleted my original first paragraph that was full of disillusionment in this recipe and the way I executed it. I literally thought I had “executed” the cake. But after time away from the results and taste testing a few times, I feel better about the cake and can pass on a few tips to you to make it better than my experiment.
This Blood Orange and Rosemary Cake is featured in my new favorite cookbook What Katie Ate. Katie Quinn Davies is an Irish transplant to Australia and is a very talented photographer and food blogger with a blog of the same name. I was transfixed by the picture of this cake in her cookbook. The blood oranges leant a beautiful bright pink to the frosting on her cake. I knew it would be one of the first recipes I would make. But I had to wait until blood oranges were in season. They finally arrived at our supermarket this week.
I followed the recipe to a tee. I noted that the three eggs that were listed in the ingredients were not mentioned in the written directions. But I pretty much know when to add eggs to a batter. I also discovered that you can go to this page on the internet to find the corrections to the cookbook. I felt like 400 degrees was too hot to bake a cake. I was right, especially in my oven. Before I could rescue the cake the edges were blackened. In my photos you can see that my cake looks like chocolate. That is actually scorched batter.
When I poured the orange syrup over the cake the pulp in it stayed on the top and made funny ridges under the too runny frosting that I added later. Straining it in a fine sieve would have been a good idea. Also the color of the frosting was not as vibrant as I would have liked so I added more blood orange juice, which thinned the frosting too much. That was the only diversion from the recipe. So I learned a lot. The texture of the cake is good. When I first tasted it, I thought the rosemary was a bit overpowering. The directions call for three sprigs of rosemary. How large are the sprigs? I think mine were too large. But after an hour or two David said “You know, this cake is growing on me”. I began enjoying it too and feel that it has great potential. It makes a great, not too sweet, treat with tea or coffee. I had a piece for breakfast this morning. So here it is- not looking as great as Katie’s cake.
But I do want to try it again. Here is the recipe if you would like to give it a try. I’ve added my changes in italics.
BLOOD ORANGE AND ROSEMARY CAKE
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar – 1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cointreau – triple sec
3 large eggs
1 blood orange, peeled, pith removed and cut into segments
1 orange, peeled, pith removed and cut into segments
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked – 2 tablespoons
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
Blood Orange Syrup:
Juice of 2 blood oranges – strain through fine sieve
Juice of 2 oranges – strain through fine sieve
1 tablespoon sugar
Blood Orange Frosting:
Juice of 1 blood orange
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 400 F ( I would recommend 350 F). Grease a 6 cup capacity bundt pan (alternatively, grease and line a 9-inch sprinform cake pan).
Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar for 10 minutes until light and creamy. Add the Cointreau (Triple Sec) and the 3 eggs beaten and beat until combined.
Whizz the blood orange, orange and rosemary in a food processor until the rosemary leaves are finely chopped and the oranges are blended to a pulp. Add to the butter and sugar mixture and beat together on low speed until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking poser. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter until everything is well incorporated.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, to make the blood orange syrup, place the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has reduced by about a third. Strain syrup through a fine sieve and return to saucepan and keep warm while cake is baking.
Leave the cake to cool a little before transferring it to a wire rack. Place a plate underneath the rack to catch any drips, then prick the top of the cake with a skewer, spoon the warm syrup over the cake and leave it to be absorbed.
Make the frosting by combining the blood orange juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Drizzle the frosting all over the cooled cake, then chill the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.