Up in this northern hinterland, it’s dark a lot of the time. I can’t imagine living any further north – have they even heard of Vitamin D? Lately, we’ve been receiving a bounteous amount of snow, which helps a bit to negate the darkness during the evenings.
But nothing helps quite like bacon. When we last left off, I had gone hog-wild over incorporating bacon-infused ganache into chocolate macarons. Luckily, the amount of ganache I had made was enough for the macarons, a severe case of spoon licking, and another to-be-determined item.
That item proved to be Whipped Chocolate Bundt Cake With Blood Orange Curd, featuring a heavy dose of Bacon-Infused Maple Chocolate Ganache, and Candied Blood Orange Slices to boot. Oof, mouthful.
You may recall that around this time last year, I made a Blood Orange Meringue Pie that was amazing and delicious. It seems that at this potentially dreary time of year, blood oranges have a way of adding a very welcome zest to my days. The flavor strikes me as so different from other citrus fruits – it is herby, reminiscent of something savory, and powerfully intense.
My craving for chocolate is dwarfed by my craving for bacon, but it is still omnipresent during my wakeful hours. However, I hesitate when it comes to making and eating chocolate cakes. They often seem boring, and dry.
Not so with this cake. Its fantastic inclusions consist of meringued egg whites, plenty of unsweetened cacao, and generous coffee dregs that would have otherwise been ditched down the drain. It is light and fresh, combining perfectly with the incorporated blood orange curd and bacon-y chocolate ganache.
No matter what a certain chocolate blogger and notorious hater of the orange-chocolate combination-taste-sensation might say, this cake is wondrous.
The cake recipe is adapted from Marjorie Johnson, aka The Really Little Old Woman Who Has Appeared on Many Talk Shows and Who I Find Minorly Irritating but Who Has Won Bajillions of Blue Ribbons and Hence Knows Her Stuff.
I tried to add the blood orange curd after pouring half of the cake batter into the bundt pan, but it still sank to the bottom (or the top, really) and proved difficult to remove from the pan. This wasn’t really a problem, as I was able to patch the cake up with bits and bobs of curd and cake, and I subsequently covered the top in ganache and candied orange slices.
However, one could slice a layer into the cake after it has cooled, and spread blood orange curd onto it then. If I make this cake again, I will likely choose this option.
Whipped Chocolate Bundt Cake With Blood Orange Curd
Cake adapted from The Road to Blue Ribbon Baking with Marjorie
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1 1/2 c (300 g) sugar
1 3/4 c (175 g) cake flour
3/4 tsp (3.75 g) baking soda
3/4 tsp (3.75 g) salt
1/3 c plus 2 tbsp (48 g plus 18 g) vegetable oil
1 c (240 mL) buttermilk
6 tbsp (45 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tsp (15 mL) coffee dregs
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease a 12-cup bundt pan, and sift cocoa powder into it to coat the surface (in lieu of flour).
Beat egg whites until frothy, and gradually beat in 1/2 cup of sugar until stiff and glossy; set aside.
Mix cocoa powder and 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a small bowl, and set aside.
Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, cake flour, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Adding 1/3 cup of oil and half of buttermilk, beat until incorporated. Add remaining buttermilk, egg yolks, cocoa-oil mixture, and coffee. Mix well.
Fold in meringue-y egg white mixture, and pour batter into prepared pan. Add Blood Orange Curd (recipe below) before or after baking, at your discretion.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until cake appears cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool ten minutes before attempting to unmold.
Top with Bacon-Infused Maple Chocolate Ganache (will take 2/3rds of the recipe here), and Candied Blood Orange Slices (recipe below).
Blood Orange Curd
Original recipe. Makes a small amount, perfect for one cake.
1/4 c (50 g) sugar
1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp (9.5 g + 0.8 g) cornstarch
1 tbsp (7.5 g) flour
1/4 tsp (1.25 g) salt
1/2 c (120 mL) water
1/4 c freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about one blood orange)
Zest of one blood orange
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp (14 g) butter
In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring with a whisk until thick. In a small bowl, combine egg yolk with blood orange juice and zest.
Gradually temper eggs with the sugar mixture, drizzling the hot mixture in very slowly. Return saucepan to heat and, whisking continuously, stream in the blood orange mixture. When thoroughly mixed, add in butter and cook over medium-high heat for another 3 minutes.
Candied Blood Orange Slices
These are quite sour – which I love, but others may [understandably] not. To sweeten these up, cut off the rind prior to sugaring.
2 blood oranges, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick slices
1/2 c (100 g) sugar
1 1/2 c (360 mL) water
Bring sugar-water mixture to a boil in a large skillet. Add blood orange slices. Cook over medium heat for around 20 minutes, flipping slices occasionally, until the liquid has become syrup-like and the slices appear slightly translucent. Decrease heat to medium low and cook five to ten minutes more.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Poor any excess syrup on top of slices.
As with any bundt, this makes a generous amount of cake. This particular bundt is so full of flavors, all of which complement one another and create a delightful herby orange coffee bacon chocolate medley.