Hello, internet! So, since I have this big fancy (not quite complete) website, and room for a blog, I figure I should probably make some posty-goodness--so here goes nothing!
I .LOVE. Blood oranges. I'm sad to say that I've never had them until about a month ago, but I'm also fairly certain I've eaten a small child worth of them in the same amount of time. I think it's safe to say that I'm mildly obsessed. So, after stumbling around looking for recipes, I found some really cool upside-down cakes. I decided to tweak this very well-written recipe to my liking, and whipped up a delicious spiced confection this afternoon.
Now, as I'm sure everyone within a five-hundred plus mile radius is well aware, Maryland and the surrounding area were supposed to be absolutely pummeled by a massive snow storm today. I had my entire day planned around cozily cooking inside of a toasty kitchen while watching flurries swirl around the yard.
Nope. Rain. Lots of cold, windy rain to dampen my spirits. Excuse me while I cry in to my plate of cake that tastes simultaneously like a bite of syrupy waffles and a sip of strongly spiced tea. I'll certainly be eating this tomorrow for breakfast, but I do recommend a nice strong cup of black coffee or tea with this sweet and sultry dessert regardless of what time of day you plan on eating it.
caramelized topping ingredients:
dash of salt, splash of vanilla extract
cake batter ingredients:
Start by washing your blood oranges very well, then slice them as thinly and evenly as possible (I'd recommend using a sharp serrated knife). I'd also recommend using only the middle third of the oranges and saving the butt-ends for the juice you need later in the recipe.
Once you have a pretty little pile of pretty slices (about 12-16), preheat to 350º. Make sure you're starting with a well-seasoned skillet, but if you want to err on the side of caution, give said skillet a good wipe-down with canola oil. Melt the butter (3 tbsp) in skillet, then incorporate the brown sugar (1.25 cu), herbs + spices (to your taste and preference), and the splash of vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Waylay feelings of guilt at continually tasting this delicious concoction and set it aside to cool while you work on the cake batter.
After about 5 minutes, the topping should have cooled and solidified enough to support the orange rings. Start with the outer ring, and cut up the slices as needed to fill in gaps. I suggest getting started on your batter in the mean time!
On to the batter!
Sift flour (1.5 c) and baking powder (1.5 tsp) together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix heavy cream (0.25 c), sour cream, blood orange juice, cranberry concentrate (1 tbsp each), and vanilla extract (1 tsp) in a small bowl, and set aside.
Add butter (0.5 c), sugar (0.75 c), orange zest, grated ginger (2 tsp each), sea salt (1.5 tsp) and cinnamon (1 tbsp) to the bowl of the stand mixer. Use the flat beater on medium speed to cream the ingredients, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add eggs (2 large) until fully incorporated. Turn the mixture down to low and add half of the flour mixture. After fully incorporated, add half of the cream mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Repeat, then remove the bowl and fold the batter by hand until homogenized.
Don't panic if you're thinking you should have more batter--just be careful when allocating it appropriately across the pan.
It should be relatively thick (and also delicious, stop licking your fingers!), so add large dollops on top of the sliced oranges. Spread the batter, but be careful not to agitate the oranges below. If this is proving tricky, wet hands with cold water and use your fingers to gently smooth/press the batter where you want it.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the toothpick-check comes out clean. Allow the cake to sit for 5-10 minutes, but not much longer, or the sugar will cool and stick to the bottom of the pan. Use a knife to loosen the edges and sides of the cake away from the pan. Place a large plate over top of the skillet, take a deep breath and quickly but carefully invert both. If the cake doesn't dislodge, smack the bottom of the pan a few times.
Let the cake cool for as long as you can (I got about twenty minutes in until the urge to DEVOUR set in).
The verdict: I am definitely no adept baker, but even the effort put in to this was worth it simply for how delicious this cake made the house smell. I say try it, but move quickly--blood oranges won't be in season much longer!
Oh, and did I mention this is a gluten-free and organic confection? Enjoy!