And thanks for sticking with me, sorry about the radio silence! Life has been managing to run a tad ahead of me lately, so a little time to catch up to it was in order. (Unless of course you enjoyed the brief respite, in which case, you’re welcome, and I now apologize for breaking it.) Think I finally caught it again, though, so should be back to normal.
Shall we talk about this cake?
Blame it on the weather (70 degrees in February???) but all of a sudden I found my cravings turn from spiced and rich to bright and citrusy.
I adore fall and winter – cold rain, thick scarves, a good book by the fireplace – but as soon as the first hintings of spring appear, it feels like something inside me is revived. I try to deny it – as much sense as that makes – but the feeling always wins. In spite of myself, I find my heart a little brighter, my step a little bouncier, and the corners of my mouth slightly more turned up than normal.
Winter is cozy and comforting, while spring is full of life and energy, making this tiny window of transition an interesting blend of the two.
A blend which was unintentionally embodied in this little guy.
Sweet and citrusy, yet cozy.
Delicate and bright, yet with an almost earthy richness.
Blood oranges infuse the cake itself with their distinctive almost-berry-like sweetness, while the earl grey in the buttercream gives it a warm and cozy depth.
Bright yet comforting, sweet yet earthy.
The perfect blend of winter and spring.
This buttercream recipe results in a rather delicate and thin layer of buttercream on the sides - if you would like a thicker layer, increase the amounts for the buttercream by ½.
- 9 ounces whole milk
- zest from 1 blood orange
- 8.1 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature (just over 2 sticks)
- 14.1 ounces sugar
- 13.4 ounces cake flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup blood orange juice
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup loose Earl Grey tea
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons egg whites (from approximately 4 eggs)
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line 3 6" cake pans with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, and heat until just simmering. Once it begins to simmer, remove from heat and stir in the orange zest. Cover and set aside to steep while preparing the cake layers.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 4 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites until combined.
- Pour about a third of the egg mixture into the butter mixture and beat until combined. Add another third of the eggs, and beat until combined. Repeat with the remaining eggs, and beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in the vanilla.
- Pour the blood orange juice into the steeping milk mixture, and stir to combine. Pour a third of the milk/orange juice mixture into the butter/egg mixture, and beat to combine. Add a third of the flour mixture, and beat to combine. Continue alternating additions until all of the milk/orange juice mixture and flour mixtures have been used, making sure to finish by adding the last third of the flour. Beat on medium-high until well combined, about 3 minutes.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the 3 pans, and smooth out the tops. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes, then run a narrow knife around the edges to loosen and turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Once completely cool, use a serrated knife to level off any domed tops.
- Melt 1 cup of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the tea, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and steep for an additional 5 minutes. Strain the butter through a fine-meshed sieve, and refrigerate until it reaches the consistency of softened butter. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Place the egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water, and place it over medium heat. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Heat the egg mixture to 160 degrees, whisking occasionally.
- Once it has reached the desired temperature, remove from the heat and beat on high for 8 to 10 minutes (this will be slightly longer if using a hand-held mixer as opposed to a stand mixer), until it holds medium stiff peaks.
- Add the vanilla, tea-infused butter, and remaining 1 cup butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Once thoroughly combined, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth.
- Place the first cake layer, cut side up, on a plate or cake stand. Carefully spread a few tablespoons of buttercream on top. Gently press the next cake layer on top, cut side down. Spread a few tablespoons of buttercream on top. Press the final cake layer on top, cut side down. Spread a generous layer of buttercream on top.
- Spread the remaining buttercream over the sides of the cake.
- Place in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Remember, if you have any questions, I’m only a comment or email away!
I’d love to see if you’ve made a recipe! Shoot me an email, or post a picture and tag it #rainydayscaramelized!