Vanilla cake for Valentines Day with Blood oranges icing

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I still remember the first time, about 3 years ago, when I was scrolling my Instagram account and I came across a stunning cake, coloured with {natural} baby pink icing, on top. Although I loved it instantly, I kept scrolling down and a  few seconds later, it was another cake, cupcakes, macaroons, and all sort of baking goodies, all coloured, with hues of baby pink. First thought was, “what is going on and my Instagram is filled with pink pastry of all sorts?”  The answer was simple and lying in front of my eyes, as long as I bothered to read a post, or swipe up to a recipe.

Blood Oranges!!!

The blood orange is a variety of orange with crimson, almost blood-colored flesh. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. Chrysanthemin is the main compound found in red oranges.The flesh develops its characteristic maroon colour when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night.Sometimes, dark colouring is seen on the exterior of the rind, as well, depending on the variety of blood orange. The skin can be tougher and harder to peel than that of other oranges. Blood oranges have a unique flavor compared to other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes.
A ripe blood orange. The blood orange is a natural mutation of the orange, which is itself a hybrid, probably between the pomelo and the tangerine,Within Europe, the arancia rossa di Sicilia (red orange of Sicily) has Protected Geographical Status. In the Land of Valencia, it was introduced in the second half of the 19th century.

Ever since, I have been trying to get my hands on those {extra special} oranges, only to find out that are not produced or imported in Cyprus. And ever since, I have been making natural icing with all sorts of fruits, strawberries, Raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate and grapefruits, only to have produce all sorts of pink icing, of all colours, except the desiring baby pink that I have been longing for all that time.

My disappointed was every winter a huge one, but so is my stubbornness, (!!!) so, a few days ago when I was in Munich, I finally met in person the so famous blood oranges, where the whole city was filled, from local markets in my neighbourhood to the Viktualienmarkt even at the so posh {and my most favourite store in the whole world, “Feinkost käfer”.
It didn’t take me long to think about it and to immediately purchase a big box packed with blood oranges, but as soon as I have returned back home and started packing for Cyprus, where my studio is based, I got to realise that I couldn’t carry them with me!!! I didn’t need a second thought, I instantly knew that there were no margins for living behind my precious new “babies” and I immediately dialled that number, that with some extra Euros, will  have my oranges delivered in Cyprus within 2 days and to finally create a cake that I have been waiting to get the chance to create, for the last 3 years!!!

INGREDIENTS:

For the cake:

  • 450g (16oz) butter, extremely soft, room temperuture  
  • 450g (16oz) caster sugar.
  • 450g (16oz) self-raising flour.
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 6 large eggs, free range
  • 2 level soupspoon vanilla powder

For the icing:

  • The juice of 1 blood orange, strained
  • 500g, icing sugar 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line 3 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins

  • Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, flour , baking powder and butter

  • Mix everything together until well combined, with an electric hand mixer or in a big mixer 

  • Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and use a wooden spatula to smooth the top.

  • Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t  open the door while they’re cooking. Check them regularly so they don’t burn.

  • The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins.

  • Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for five minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.

  • Set aside to cool completely.

  • Prepare the glazing by adding icing sugar and the  blood orange juice together and stir with a wooden spoon and or a wire until you get a smooth end even glazing. Add enough juice to make it soft but not drawling.
  • Place one cake in a cake stand and fill it with glazing then add the second cake on top. Repeat with the third cake. Poor the rest of the glazing on top of the last cake and decorate with real or edible flowers.

“It didn’t take me long to think about it and to immediately purchase a big box packed with blood oranges, but as soon as I have returned back home and started packing for Cyprus, where my studio is based, I got to realise that I couldn’t carry them with me but with a quick phone call and some extra Euros, I managed to have my oranges delivered in Cyprus within 2 days and to finally create a cake that I have been waiting to get the chance to create, for the last 3 years!!!”

Most of the photographs are shot with Leica M10