Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shiny Happy Memories

Warning: Dangerous levels of glorious food imagery coming up - beware of getting mesmerized.

Blood oranges. Just the name itself is beyond fascinating to me. You see them so rarely in my neighborhood grocery, that when I saw them a few days ago, I couldn't believe my luck. I couldn't have missed them. There they were, in all their ruddy, blush-colored glory, sitting right next to their sherbet-hued cousins from Florida. Blood oranges work really well in salads, marmalades and savory dishes, because they are not as sweet or acidic as regular oranges. They're pretty high in antioxidants too. But forget all that mumbo-jumbo ... would you please just look at them?! I realize I'm running the risk of sounding like I'm still in grade school, but isn't nature cool?! The answer is YES! Naturally gorgeous food like this just begs to be photographed, turned into a painting, sculpture, any kind of art, and even have a line or two of poetry dedicated to it. Personally, I want to find fabrics of those colors - the sunset color of the skin, the deep burgundy of the flesh - and wear them! And oh yes, eat them ... food like this needs to be savored.
Kristin from Picky Cook has the perfect recipe for a Blood Orange Yogurt Cake, which is so easy to make. I just followed her instructions, and got inspired by her amazing photos. Seriously, if you think my shots of this recipe are decent, you will be blown away by hers!

The other reason I chose to make something with blood oranges at this time is because it suits this month's
Sugar High Fridays theme (hosted by Heather from Diary Of A Fanatic Foodie), which is inspired by our travels. And one of my favorite travel destinations so far has been southern California (one of the few places in the world that grows blood oranges, apart from Italy), and it holds a really special place in my heart. DH and I actually had our first vacation together there, and our stay on Catalina Island is the most memorable for me. The view as you approach the island by boat is truly stunning, and for a moment you forget you're still in the US - it's more like Fantasy Island, with those lush green hills in the back. We had a grand time there, because that was where we went for our first snorkeling adventure. Even though it was February and we had to wear full scuba suits to get into the water, it was still the experience of a lifetime. Then we went kayaking around the island. We even managed to spot a true-blue bald eagle! All in all, it was a magical time for DH and I, and even after all these years, we still consider our California trip as being truly special for us.
Approaching the harbor at Catalina Island, California

Blood Orange Yogurt Cake
(all credit humbly goes to
Kristin's recipe)
Click Here For Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I let my regular yogurt sit in a cheese-cloth covered strainer for 15 mins)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 extra-large eggs
zest of three blood oranges
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed blood orange juice
Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. grease and flour the pan.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, blood orange zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

3. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup blood orange juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

4. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.
5. While the cake is still warm, pour the blood orange-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

6. For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and blood orange juice and pour over the cake.
Verdict: So moist and tender! Interestingly, this recipe doesn't contain even an ounce of butter; instead it uses vegetable oil. And during the process, your kitchen smells like a fragrant orange orchard ... *deep breath* aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. This is good cake, people. Great for breakfast or afternoon tea. But so far I've had it at all times of the day and found it light and refreshing, with its bright citrus flavor. Also, it doesn't require any special equipment, like a stand mixer. Me likey.

See the pretty specks of orange zest? And how about that blood orange syrup that's soaked in?

Mmmmmmm ... if I had to give a cheerful smile a color, this would be it!

36 comments:

Varsha Vipins said...

Gosh..You got me girl..This is one of the prettiest cakes I've seen..I'm hooked..:)..I'm no lucky to get Blood Oranges here,but I'm so tempted to try this even with normal Oranges..:)

wheredidmysaucego said...

I love blood orange! Sad I can't seem to find RED blood oranges here in Norway, only half-red.. And btw, we call them RED ORANGES know, because blood orange was such an awful word??? Stupidest thing ever..

doreese said...

that looks effing delicious. I LOVE blood oranges I was fascinated well I still am with the name itself too haha...I want to make this!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I'll have to try this quick before blood oranges are out of season.

5 Star Foodie said...

What a great memory and a fabulous dessert! I love the color of the glaze!

Dimah said...

I can't wait to try this one! I am loving it already!

Teanna said...

Seriously, that is one of the most gorgeous yogurt cakes I have ever seen! I am dying to try out blood oranges in a recipe, but I can never find them!

Mommy Gourmet said...

wow that looks and sounds so good!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Where do I start? Great photos! Beautiful colors! I love blood oranges. When I was in Germany, I passed up on the big pitcher of tomato juice for breakfast. On the last day, I found out it was blood orange juice. I was crying! I'll have to look and see if we still have these where I live-- they surfaced in December and I made sorbet with them. LOVE this recipe! It looks great.

Hubby and I went to Catalina Island for our honeymoonm, in 2006. Great memories. 'Tis a very pretty place.

Debby

Julia said...

Oh boy, I search for these all the time and buy them whenever I find them. I had them first in Italy about five years ago and have been hooked ever since. I'll be sure to try this cake if I ever find blood oranges again! We don't get good ones too often in Maryland.

Resh said...

wonderful photos! the color themselves makes me want to eat them. I am a big fan of bold fruit :)

Kerstin said...

I love the glaze - it's so colorful and I'm sure it's super delicious too!

Nicole said...

Wow..fab looking cake..very delicious looking...and to think that my only usage of blood oranges has been to use them to glaze a turkey breast! Umm..think I would rather use them in a recipe like this...thanks for the gorgeous and tantalizing post!

Jamie said...

This is such a gorgeous cake! I love blood oranges and they are magnificent to look at. I just noticed them at my local primeurs (fruit seller) and I want to try this cake. Like chain mail, we will one by one make and post this cake! Thanks Kristen for starting it.

Daily Spud said...

That looks glorious! Oh to have access to blood oranges, they're none too common over here in Ireland...

Jessica@FoodMayhem said...

I love the bold colors! Looks moist too.

picky cook said...

Muneeba - Your photos are so beautiful and the cake looks like it turned out perfect! Isn't the glaze the best color ever?

Amazing job! Thanks for the shout out :)

Pooja said...

Wow this looks simply superb. Havent heard of blood oranges! I really doubt if we get it here. The cake looks delicious and tempting..nice shots :)

Sophie said...

OOOH Muneeba!! This cake looks adorable & so delicious!! I love blood oranges!! yum Yum Yum!! Great cake!

Jaime and Jen DISH said...

I've never had blood orange, would love to try. Looks delish!

Sweetie Pie said...

What amazing photos. So gorgeous! I'll bet that cake tastes like heaven. I enjoyed this lovely post so much!

Enjoy your weekend! :-)

catherine @ www.unconfidentialcook.com said...

What a beautiful cake, and what a great way to use blood oranges. Thanks.

breadandjam said...

This is one of the most creative posts I've seen lately. The photo of the glaze soaking in over top is making my mouth water. Love it!

Doppelganger said...

So Madame Temptress, we meet again! Yes, you may try to entice me to walk on the side where sugar lives, where cheesecakes, banana breads, and bedeviling Blood Orange Yogurt Cakes reside, with pictures of the ruby red flesh of oranges, of the glaze dripping ever so slowly into the welcoming sweetness of the cake . . . Argh! no, no, I am the Sultan of Salt City, I say no sugar for me! Blah! who am I kidding?! even I feel the urge to go orange shopping, that is blood orange shopping, so that I can make this delectable creation.

Oh yeah, and that picture of Catalina Island is gorgeous too! I can't believe I actually gave away our tickets to a friend!*smacks her forhead*

Kevin said...

That yogurt cake looks so moist and good!

Jamie said...

Muneeba - I just made this cake and posted it
http://lifesafeast.blogspot.com/2009/04/florida-citrus.html

It is fabulous and everyone loves it! My oranges weren't as "bloody" as yours or Kristin's were, so the color is less dramatic, but wow is it a great, delicious cake! Thanks!

Ginger said...

Muneeba would you mind sending a piece of this my way? (KIDDING!!) Your photos are amazing let alone the Blood Orange Yogurt Cake!! What can I say about that cake but YUMMY!

Muneeba said...

THANKS so much everyone! I'm glad you all enjoyed reading this! It's definitely one of my personal favs. You guys are wonderful & I'm sending the bestest of foodie wishes your way :)
Shai, I can't believe you gave your tickets away either! Why woman??

Yasmeen said...

I'm completely mesmerized by the gorgeous cake.My li'l ones b'day is coming up,guess I try this cake,will try to squeeze in some chocolate:)

Ann said...

OMG! picture is mighty tempting .. I want a chunk of it please!

s. stockwell said...

We are in Santa Barbara and have blood oranges in our markets. So delicious and surprising each time one is cut open it is a little different? Interesting cake idea? we will try it. Thanks, s

Patty Gironda said...

looks wonderfully delicious!

The Duo Dishes said...

The color of this cake is gorgeous! It sounds delicious too.

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read this post. Thank you for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Anonymous said...

BTW, use Bluetooth blocker to block all secret devices in your home or office.

Jackie said...

Hi

What's the purpose of straining the yogurt through a cheesecloth covered strainer.