Doesn’t just looking at this blood orange cake make you bloody happy? I’ve got Aussies on the brain lately, thinking about an exciting night I had one year ago when I accompanied my friend (and favorite Australian) to the hospital while she was in labor. Allow me to quickly digress in a perfect Aussie story to go with this lovely, delicate delight.
Lisa was home alone when she started going into labor. Her husband was across the pond for work when she called to let us know that she was “fine” and that she was headed to the hospital. It was 3am, so of course I headed over to her place. When I got there, she was calling for an Uber to take her to Cedar Siani. You read that right…she had just called an Uber.
We climbed into my car and drove to the hospital. Trying to find things to take her mind off the whole ‘going into labor’ thing, I spotted the full moon and pointed it out to her. “Will you look at that! Isn’t it beautiful?” I said, awestruck. I don’t think she was feeling very much like stargazing…
Anyhow, it was a very exciting night, and I will forever have the unique privilege of having been there for little Bella’s (short for Isabel) birth. So naturally, when her first birthday rolled around, I had to whip up something special.
Now this cake may not seem like the kind of thing you bake up for a baby’s birthday, but let’s be honest, the first birthday isn’t for them anyway. It’s much more for the parents (high-five – you made it through the first year!), and thinking back on that crazy, beautiful night, I just couldn’t resist this gorgeous princess of a cake. So festive and dramatic at the same time. Somehow it seemed perfect.
This blood orange cake recipe is more advanced so I would encourage you to just take it step by step. If you tackle one section at a time, you will get this one right! It’s time-intensive, but loads easier if you prep a few days in advance prior to the actual assembly.
To help simplify things, we’ll split this recipe into 3 parts: Vanilla Cardamom Cake / Cream Cheese Frosting / Honey Baked Blood Orange Topping
These blood oranges steal the show. Baked in honey and cardamom, this fruit smells so wonderful – it will fill your home with citrus and nutty aromatics. It’s a simple recipe adapted from Citrus Sweet And Savory Sun Kissed Recipes, Valerie Aikman-Smith & Victoria Pearson.
Bake your vanilla cakes (these should come complete with fresh cardamom). Then be sure to prep the filling: sliced blood oranges, roasted crushed pistachios, and frosting in a piping bag (or ziploc). I used a large Ateco star tip #849, but feel free to use any tip you like! And if you don’t have bags and tips, just scoop the same amount between the layers (roughly 1/2 cup) and a good ole butter knife. I promise you, the cake will take on a rustic beauty that will have you smiling from ear-to-ear.
Start with filling the cake. If you really want to hone your fancy-pants pastry skills, you can brush each layer with simple syrup. Then, begin your piping of the frosting. I start on the outside, leaving about a 1/4 inch between the frosting and border as the weight of each layer will ultimately push it down.
Once you have your frosting piped, begin to layer the blood orange slices. Top this with a handful of irresistible roasted pistachio, and you’re good to go.
Restrain yourself, we’re not eating the goods yet!
Continue by creating each layer of your cake, each with as much love and care put into the first layer of your masterpiece.
This is the most satisfying part (maybe because it’s the end?). Take those lovely cylindrical blood oranges, sticky and wonderful, and begin to build them in a circle. Last, top one off in the middle, sprinkle your last dash of pistachio and you are officially ready to swag into your next party with this bloody beauty!
As for me, I was proud of the moment my girlfriend saw this blood orange cake. I explained my inspiration and we laughed (and cried) about that intimate, special and shared moment. If you are an Aussie out there reading this post somewhere in the ether-world, huge kisses and hugs to ya’ll. Some of the best people I know!
Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography
Credits: Naked Cakes & Citrus Sweet & Savory
Tools: Ateco Tips