Spiced Orange 6-Layer w/ Rosemary Buttercream

Unlike cookies, pies, or ice cream, when I decide to make a cake, it becomes my baby for the following 48 hours. Maybe because the time it takes to complete the entire process is highly underrated, but it’s probably also due to the fact that a really good cake takes a lot of figuring how to go about the smallest details. Some are obvious, such as what flavor of cake you’re really in the mood for, but the very same flow chart that begins with chocolate or vanilla leads to a plethora of other options, leading to decisions, which then leads to the task of executing them.

In any case, there is a specific satisfaction that comes with baking something for fun, no matter what the dessert, as opposed to baking for an event or even for someone in particular. Exhibit A would be taking less than a minute to marvel at your finished product before slicing into it with a knife and a fork.

Check out the video of my cake process here!

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Make the cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups room temperature milk
  • 5 egg whites (@ room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter & flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and shortening together, then add the sugar gradually. Once incorporated, add the egg whites gradually, then add the orange juice and zest.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour + spices + baking powder)
4. Alternate the wet and dry ingredients while mixing into the butter/egg mixture (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

For the frosting

Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter
1 cup shortening
1 bag (2 lb, 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
4 tbsp. milk
rosemary syrup (1 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar + 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary — simmer together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes then chill and strain)

1. Beat the butter and shortening together, then add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Beat in syrup and milk and mix until the consistency is light and fluffy.

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This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Lauren at Sweet and Southern Lifestyle.

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Spiced Blood Orange Bars

And now for something completely different! Normally, you won’t see me using dark colors or spicy flavors during the months of February through July, but technically these still taste summery, despite the deep Halloween-natured blood orange hue (I debated on holding off on posting this one until late August at the least, but all these bars really are is a spin on lemon bars, which I’ve always associated with early July).

Make sure to use ripe oranges to ensure the juice’s dark pigment will dye the filling!

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Make the bars:

Ingredients

Filling:

  • Juice and zest of 1 blood orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter, spices, and sugar until a soft dough forms. Press the crust into a glass pan (8×8) and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Beat together eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Stir in the orange juice and zest.
  3. Pour the filling into the hot crust when it comes out of the oven, then return to the oven for 15 more minutes or until the bars are soft but firm in the middle.
  4. Let cool completely, and serve with sifted powdered sugar.

Enjoy! <3, B