February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Blood Orange Yogurt Cake

If you haven't already noticed, I'm not really a baker.  I like the freedom of adding as I go along and not having to worry about the chemistry of the dish, just the flavor.  But tonight, I was inspired by the cheap bag of blood oranges in the front of my Trader Joe's.  I waited a half hour in a line wrapped around the store (ohhh foggy bottom) and thought I deserved a treat!  Plus, this cake is a twinge pink and Valentine's Day perfect!

My love affair with blood oranges began when i was 9 in Belgium.  I was visiting my aunt and I pulled what I thought was an orange out of her fruit basket.  To my surprise, there wasn't the typical sunny interior but a deep red color with a taste that was a mixture of orange and berry.  Years later, I remember the first bites and always look for them in the winter when they're in season.

I tried to stay a little healthy with this dish, which is why I chose to adapt Ina Garten's Lemon Yogurt Cake.  Greek yogurt acts as the fat along with vegetable oil.  Blood orange and lemon zest scent the whole cake with a blood orange juice simple syrup soaked into the cake.  A simple glaze punched up with blood orange sorbet (told you I was obsessed) and/or berries macerated in lemon and pomegranate juice are a great accompaniment.

Blood Orange Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
zest of 2 blood oranges and 1 lemon
1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  I just used a whisk to break up any lumps, but I'm lazy.  My whisk is also the whisk attachment to a hand mixer.  Told you I don't bake.  Mix the yogurt, sugar, eggs, and zest in a separate bowl.  Combine the dry ingredients into the wet in three batches, folding gently.

Fold the vegetable oil into the batter gently.  Pour into a buttered and floured loaf pan.  Bake at 350 F for about 50 minutes.  

Let cool for ten minutes in the pan before adding the cake soak . . .

Soak for Cake:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup blood orange juice

Combine the sugar and blood orange juice in a small saucepan and heat until dissolved.  Pour the soak slowly over the cake to add moisture and flavor.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp blood orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp blood orange sorbet (or other citrus sorbet)
pinch of salt

Combine the powdered sugar, juices, and sorbet. The sorbet is optional, I found it masked the slightly stale flavor of powdered sugar.  Pour over the cooled cake.  (Do this on a cooling rack over a baking sheet to avoid messes.) 

Macerated Berries:
1 pint strawberries, sliced thin
1 pint raspberries
juice of 1/2 a lemon
splash of pomegranate juice
1 tbsp of sugar

Combine the fruit, juices, and sugar and let sit for one hour before spooning over the cake.

Happy Valentine's Day!  

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