My Bloody Valentine: Blood Orange Spice Cake

Blood Orange Spice Valentine Cake Recipe | The Spicy Bee

Blood Orange Spice Cake.

Not to mention the bourbon candied orange glaze or the fresh ginger in the cake itself–this thing is glorious in all of its fancy flavors. My favorite part though? It’s a naked cake, so once you get it into the cake box and on its journey to the lucky recipient, you need not worry about how it’s going to look after it’s bumped the sides of the box a few (hundred) times. That was always my least favorite part about traveling cakes–all the beauty could be ruined with a quick stop in the car or a trip over a crack in the sidewalk.

I had the idea for this cake because I love puns and what’s funnier than a blood orange my bloody valentine cake? It makes me think about the fact that you could make this cake after a breakup–and then listen to that Good Charlotte Album from 2002 or watch the 80’s slasher film and eat your feelings. You could also give it to your current valentine and just call it a spice cake. Regardless, it’s so delicious. I note below, but I’ll say it up here too, simply double the frosting recipe to have enough to ice the entire cake, but be aware that the cake will need a thin base layer before adding the final layer of frosting as it is a touch crumby. And watch out for cracks in the pavement.

Blood Orange Spice Cake

Adapted from Grand Central Bakery Cookbook

Blood Orange Spice Cake for Your Valentine | The Spicy Bee

Ingredients

Cake

  • 9 T (4.5 oz) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 c (8.75 oz) Light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 c All purpose flour
  • 3/4 t Baking powder
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • 1 1/2 t Cinnamon
  • 1 T Ginger, minced
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 t Vanilla extract
  • 1 c Sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 T Blood orange zest

Compote

  • 1-2 Blood oranges, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz Blood orange juice (about 2 more blood oranges)
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/4 c Super fine sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 T Water

Frosting

  • 6 oz Cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 T Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 T Maple sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Start by creaming the butter and sugar at a high speed in a stand mixer. While that gets to work, combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. The sugar will not completely dissolve in the butter, but the mixture should be fluffy looking and still a bit sandy feeling between the fingers. Scrape the sides of the bowl repeatedly throughout the entire process. Lower the speed on the mixer and slowly add the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla.

Blood Orange Spice Cake for Your Valentine | The Spicy Bee

To incorporate the remaining ingredients, add the sour cream and dry ingredients, alternating 1/4 cup at a time, making sure to end with dry ingredients. Just after adding the last of the ingredients, stop the mixer and incorporate the remaining mix and zest using a stiff spatula.

in a 9 inch pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the sides. Fill the pan with the cake batter. Slap the pan a few times on a large flat surface to pull air bubbles, and follow up with running a butter knive through the pan in a circle smoothly without lifting it up, 1 inch from the edge. This will allow the cake to rise evenly–my favorite tip from the cookbook so far! Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown–a toothpick should come out of the center of the cake mostly clean (1-2 crumbs is fine). Remove cake from the pan and cool in a rack for 40-50 minutes.

Blood Orange Spice Cake for Your Valentine | The Spicy Bee

Cut the cake once it’s cooled–I do this by tracing my way around with a paring knife first, then slowly following the lines with a long knife (see the above shot). This cake is deliciously crumby, so a light cream cheese frosting is very important to avoid pulling the cake apart as you frost. Reserve half of the frosting for the top, and create a thin layer on the bottom half. Add more to the top of the thin layer until you’ve used up the first half of the frosting. Here you can either place the top on or, for fun, skip down to the next paragraph and cook down the oranges and stick them in the middle! No? Ok then, slowly place the top half of the cake on top of the frosted center and repeat a thin layer on the top of the cake. Top with the rest of the frosting and even out using a flat icing tool or a flat icing knife. One trick I enjoy is heating whatever flattening tool you have in hot water before using on the cake. This will keep frosting from sticking to the tool and you can reheat it very easily. I preferred to leave this cake relatively naked–if you would like enough frosting to do the whole cake, simply double the frosting recipe.

Blood Orange Spice Cake for Your Valentine | The Spicy Bee

Topping the cake is mostly based on your personal taste. I enjoyed the idea of candying the blood oranges to make them easier to eat–the visual of them on top of the cake I also find quite striking. If you’d like to embark on the adventure, you’ll find that it’s easy. Line the bottom of a pan with the orange slices, and top with the bourbon, sugar, and water, dispersing it evenly. Cook on low heat down to a syrup, flipping the orange slices as you go to ensure they cook through. Cool and place on top of cake.

Transfer to a cake box and deliver it to your best friend or love. Enjoy this blood orange spice cake and have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Blood Orange Spice Cake for Your Valentine | The Spicy Bee

James Beard Mac and Cheese with Andouille

A 21st century approach to James Beard's original macaroni and cheese recipe | The Spicy Bee

If you’re on one of those “New Year, New You” diets, you may want to just pin this recipe and revisit at a later time. I’m not here to ruin your diet, cleanse, or any other nutrition kick you’re on at the moment. I’m just here to share a recipe for macaroni and cheese that changed the way I feel about macaroni and cheese. The original recipe, by the renowned James Beard, involves equal parts butter and flour to create a roux.

roux
ro͞o/
noun
  1. a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.

Prior to this recipe, I would make a  batch of mac for Ktams because he loves it so, and I would refuse to eat any of the leftovers because I’m not a fan of the texture of recooked mac and cheese. If I’m going to eat cheesy pasta, it’s got to have a great texture, even if it’s the second time I’m cooking them. We had heard recently about adding potato chips to give a bigger crunch than breadcrumbs. My favorite chips, Kettle Salt & Pepper came immediately to mind and once we received a Tillamook cheese care package one afternoon, Ktams decided it was time. The recipe that he made for us used two pounds of Tillamook’s delicious cheddar cheese (one block extra sharp and one block aged cheddar). It turns out a 1:1 roux with the butter and flour in a mac and cheese recipe gives you an upper hand when it comes to reheating the batch. More on that in a moment–

This mac and cheese recipe was the best I’ve had. Ever. It’s simple. The added Kettle chips on top gave it the crunch factor I had been yearning for, and the noodles we used were a bit more unconventional and fun. In the future I hope to make this recipe again with chicken or broccoli or bacon or peas.

The Spicy Bee Takes on James Beard Mac and Cheese

(Adapted from Cookstr)

A 21st century approach to James Beard's original macaroni and cheese recipe | The Spicy Bee

Ingredients

4 T butter
4 T flour
2 c milk
3/4 t Tabasco
1/2 c heavy cream or crème fraîche
3/4 lb Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 lb pipe rigate (or macaroni) noodles, made per boxed instructions
8 oz of Andouille sausage, chopped
1-2 c Kettle Brand Kettle Chips, crumbled (as desired)

Method

Start by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, and stir it with a wooden spoon or spatula for around 3 minutes, until the roux froths. Heat the milk in a separate pan. Add the warm milk gradually to the roux, whisking continuously. Turn up the heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce is just at the boiling point. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Add the pepper and Tabasco. The original recipe notes 1/2 t Tabasco, however they encourage you to use more if you’d like, as it doesn’t so much add heat as it does bring out the flavor of the cheese. I’ve increased the amount by half. Stir in the heavy cream or crème fraîche and simmer 2-3 minutes.

Cook and drain the pasta.

Integrate three-quarters of the cheese into the sauce while it simmers. Once it’s melted, combine it with the drained pasta, and pour it into a baking pan. Stir in sausage. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese, and bake for 30 minutes in a 350° oven or until golden on top. Remove from oven and serve, topping each bowl with chips as desired.

We doubled the above recipe and it fed us for a couple (glorious!) days. The original recipe will serve 4-5.

Now for the part that will change your life–when you make a recipe with a 1:1 roux like this one, reheating is a dream as all you need to do is add milk one tablespoon at a time to the mixture as you enter the middle of the reheating process. I tested this both at home on the stove, in our toaster oven, and at work in the microwave. All three tests yielded warm, gooey perfection. This is because the ratio as it is will allow the oils that have separated to be re-incorporated into the sauce. It’s practically a magic trick. Impress your friends!

The pictures are from day two of leftovers, which I made in the toaster oven–the chips were added prior to bake and they browned beautifully.

A 21st century approach to James Beard's original macaroni and cheese recipe | The Spicy Bee

Sourdough Stuffing with Andouille

Sourdough Stuffing with Andouille | The Spicy Bee

Stuffing to Dressing — Dressing to Stuffing. Do you know the difference? Well, one is stuffed (in a bird usually) and the other dresses the table. According to my favorite Epicurious Stuffing Article, what you call it is really dependent on whether you fall north or south of the Mason Dixon Line. I picked stuffing since I hail from the north–but whatever you call it, it’s delicious. This recipe chills in your fridge overnight, allowing you to prep and chill until you need it. It’s also a touch different as it’s made with chicken andouille sausage, and you can even omit the onions and it will still turn out beautifully! Make everyone happy this Thanksgiving :)

Sourdough Stuffing with Andouille | The Spicy Bee

Sourdough Stuffing with Andouille

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sourdough – a loaf, cubed and left out overnight
  • 3 T butter
  • 10 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 sprigs sage, chopped
  • 4 c chicken broth
  • 8-10 oz andouille chicken sausage, chopped
  • 1 c romano cheese, finely grated
  • 1/3 c Italian parsley, chopped

Method

Spread the bread cubes in a pan and bake at 350° F for 25 minutes, until the bread starts to brown evenly. Remove and reserve. Warm butter in a dutch oven and add mushrooms and sauté for 8 minutes, then add celery, onion, and carrot–stir continuously for 8-10 minutes. Fold in bread, cheese, sausage, and broth and remove the dutch oven from heat. Mix thoroughly, cool, and refrigerate overnight.

Refrigerating overnight will allow the flavors to mingle much more thoroughly than throwing things together, although I leave this option open to you — remember, prepping and letting sit overnight will mean the next day your time will be freed up to prep other things.

Preheat the oven to 350° F and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Recipe serves 8.