Ya’ll know I love a good cookbook. And one of my most prized ones is the 40th Anniversary Edition of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, because it contains recipes that remind me of being a kid, of baking with my grandfather. Certain pages are dog eared and stained from his baking, and those smudges and creases make me feel extra close to him again. Today will be six years since we said goodbye to him, on a hot, sunny February day that I know he sent to us. We were surrounded by tons of people who knew him and probably at least half of them ate at least one of his lemon or vanilla pound cakes over the years.
He liked following the rules of recipes, and that extended to flavors. I always asked why not a lime pound cake? Or raspberry or chocolate?! The craziest he ever went was an orange pound cake, or a caramel one once. Both of those variations of course, are in the book, therefore not that crazy.
And if you know me even a little bit, or have read through my recipes page, you know that I love flavors. Flavors that aren’t expected, flavors that aren’t the everyday, and flavors that can make food seem new again. So I don’t know how it took me this long to finally make a different-citrus pound cake but blood orange season seemed like the time to make it happen. And though a wave of sadness hits me occasionally, more often than not, enough time has passed that I can be happy when I reflect back on my memories of our time together.
Blood Orange Pound Cake
Adapted from Betty Crocker
For the cake:
- 2 3/4 cups white sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 2-3 teaspoons grated blood orange zest (from 2 blood oranges)
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- nonstick cooking spray and a small handful of extra flour
- One or two slices of blood orange, before it gets juiced, for garnish
For the icing:
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
- 4 tablespoons blood orange juice (from the 2 zested blood oranges)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour (don’t skip this) a bundt pan. Turn the pan upside down and tap the sides to release any extra flour, and do this over the sink or a trash can.
- Beat the sugar, margarine, extract, zest, and eggs in a stand mixer for 30 seconds, scrape the sides as needed. Beat on high for 3 minutes, scraping as needed.
- Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Turn the mixer on low.
- Add the milk slowly, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. The dough will be a pourable consistency.
- Use a rubber spatula to pour evenly into the greased and floured pan.
- Bake for one hour and 10 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack in the pan for 20 minutes before gently removing it to finish cooling right side up on the wire rack.
- Use a serrated knife to cut the bottom off to make it sit flush, if needed. Clearly, this is for the baker to enjoy, slathered in extra frosting.
- Make the icing: Heat the butter in a smaller saucepan until melted. Add in the powdered sugar, extract, and blood orange juice until it is a thin, drizzlable consistency. Wait until the cake is 100% cool to the touch and pour the glaze over as desired. Garnish with a blood orange slice if you like. This is why the blood orange garnish is a good idea — to cover up the well of icing!