In my recent recipe post, "Herbal Hibiscus Lemon "Purifying Love" Tea, I noted that February in Latin translates to "purification." In February, the Romans held purifying rituals and festivals.
Today, we embrace February as the "heart" month, a month of love, romance and everything pink.
Blood oranges are in season during the winter months, and these tart-n-sweet fruits inspired me to make a blood and navel orange cake. Citrus in general is purifying and the interconnections in our culture and life revolves around this notion of red, love and hearts.
And what better way to make a cake than with the sweet fruit from nature?
When juiced, blood oranges look like our life blood. Just two of these guys juiced provides our recommended daily requirement of Vitamin C. Blood oranges also contain some calcium, anthocyanins, Vitamin A and Folic Acid (B9).
Isn't nature and our physiology amazing?
After spending sometime in nature, I noticed these beautiful winter blooms that budded with deep red flowers. The color itself resembled our life blood, our heart - everything that is inside of us. The deep hues of the blood orange juice and flower were identical. It's as if the citrus is our life blood.
I wanted to create something pink and something sweet. Throughout my growth in the world of baking, I knew blood orange juice would create a "nature-inspired" soft pink frosting color. For the cake, I also used navel oranges since the juice is sweeter than blood oranges. This reduced the amount of sweetener I used in the cake.
The color in person is actually more vibrant than the camera picked up, thanks to the sun shining into my apartment, but never the less it was one of the best cakes I baked. Citrus cakes are not common, but using fruit in a different way is something that I am challenging myself in the baking world.
I also started calligraphy lessons this winter. Integrating food, words and musing is a big part of my spiritual development at the moment.
The more you spend time in nature, the more you realize how our physiology (and what blooms or is alive during each season) and change is a big part of our life. In yesterday's Sunspiration, I talk a little bit about that in terms of how we cannot have the yin without the yang.
It's a tough reality that we have to face within ourselves and within the world.
All in all, this cake is a seasonal production to celebrate the fruits (and flowers) of nature all while eating something healthier and pretty this Valentine's day. I'm off to celebrate my calligraphy adventure this month, and so from me to you, "all you need is cake."
P.S. This card is from Trader Joe's. They have stepped up their game in the greeting card arena.
Vegan Blood Orange Cake with Blood Orange Frosting
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-28 minutes
Equipment: Two 6-inch round spring foam pans
2 cups flour
1 cup blood orange juice (approx. 3 lg. blood oranges)
1 tbsp blood orange zest
1/2 + 1/3 cup navel orange juice (1 lg. navel orange)
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup vegan butter (1 buttery stick)
1 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp blood orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Place all the liquid ingredients into a bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the blood orange zest and sugar (you may need your hands). Next add the dry ingredients with the sugar and mix until combined. Place the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined.
Spray or oil two 6-inch spring foam pans. *If you only have one pan, cook one at at time. Separate the dough batter equally between both pans. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes.
While baking the cake, begin the frosting. Cream together the butter and vanilla with an eggbeater or mixer. Gradually add the powder sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Alternate between mixing and adding. Once complete, add up to 6 tbsp of blood orange juice. I used all 6 for a deeper color and for a stronger flavor.
Frost the cake once the cake is completely cool. Any warmth will melt the frosting.
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com