This vanilla bean blood orange cake is frosted with a simple blood orange buttercream, and it’s finished with a vanilla bean blood orange glaze and candied blood oranges! It’s the perfect winter citrus cake and many components can be made ahead of time!
Today is a very very special day because it’s my 4 year blog-iversary, and my mom’s birthday! I seriously cannot believe I’ve been doing this for four years. Having this platform to share my recipes and life with you guys has brought me more joy than I can even put into words. And this is just the beginning! I want to take Spices in My DNA so many places, and I’m so excited for what’s to come! That deserves cake, right? I think so.
I promise this is my last blood orange recipe of the season (I think). I just can’t get enough of them! Everything they touch is instantly made incredible. Like these tacos and this smoothie. And this salmon! I could go on and on.
This cake is no exception. It’s made with blood orange zest and vanilla bean (one of the best flavor combos EVER) and then iced with a fluffy blood orange buttercream, and drizzled with a blood orange vanilla bean glaze! To die for.
And one more thing. Can’t forget about the candied blood oranges! How stunning are they?! They’re super easy to make and you can make them ahead of time. All you need is sliced blood oranges, sugar, water, and a touch of corn syrup!
This cake might seem intimidating because it’s kind of a showstopper, but it couldn’t be simpler. The cake batter is pretty much a vanilla cake batter with orange zest added in, and the buttercream is similar to a vanilla buttercream with a little blood orange juice added!
The glaze comes together in less than two minutes, and you’ve got yourself the dreamiest cake. The flavors actually remind me of an orange julius! Or those creamy orange push pops from the 90s! Anyone else remember them?!
It’s my goal this year to share more cakes with you guys that are approachable, but super beautiful and fun to make! There’s something so therapeutic and special about baking a cake from scratch. And baking a cake for someone else. It’s the best!
Although I’m not a huge sweets person, (savory and salty food will always have my heart), cakes like these make me SO happy. They’re so delicious from scratch and really worth the extra effort.
You can also make the cake part itself the night before (I’d recommend it actually), so that they are completely cooled and ready to be frosted the next day! You don’t want to frost even a *slightly* warm cake because the icing will melt off and the texture won’t be right.
I’m not a big icing person which is why I like making these “naked” layer cakes. That basically means that you don’t fully frost the sides of the cake. And I love that! Just a perfect amount of icing, and it’s super pretty! And foolproof.
I don’t think I have the patience to perfectly frost an entire cake without any imperfections. I know a lot of you can probably relate!
I wish I could share a slice with each and every one of you. Thank you SO much for being here. I cannot thank you enough. xoxo
Vanilla Bean Blood Orange Naked Layer Cake with Candied Blood Oranges
This vanilla bean blood orange cake is frosted with a simple blood orange buttercream, and it's finished with a vanilla bean blood orange glaze and candied blood oranges! It's the perfect winter citrus cake and many components can be made ahead of time!
For the candied blood oranges
- 1 blood orange, cut into 1/8'' slices
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
For the cake
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- zest of 2 blood oranges
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup milk
For the blood orange buttercream
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (3 sticks)
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- juice of 2 blood oranges (6-8 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
For the blood orange vanilla bean glaze
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- juice of 1 blood orange (3-4 tablespoons)
- pinch of salt
Make the candied blood oranges. Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the orange slices in 1 layer and simmer until transparent, about 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, letting excess syrup drip off, transfer the oranges slices to a wire rack to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour three 8'' cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the butter, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, blood orange zest, sour cream, and milk and whisk until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined. Pour the batter evenly into the pans and smooth out the tops with a spatula. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and let cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.
Make the frosting. Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar until combined. Add the vanilla and half of the blood orange juice and increase speed to medium-high and whip for 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining blood orange juice and whip for another 2-3 minutes or until super fluffy.
To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla bean seeds, blood orange juice, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. If it seems too thick, add another tablespoon of orange juice, and if it seems too thin, add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.
To assemble the cake, place one layer on a plate or the cooling rack (just so you don't mess up the plate you are serving on, or the cake stand!), and spread the top with the frosting. Top with another layer and spread top with frosting. Top with the third layer and spread with another layer of frosting, leaving a little bit left for the sides of the cake. Use the leftover frosting to "half" frost the sides, to create a "semi-naked" effect. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smooth out the sides of the cake. Pour the glaze over the cake and let it drip down the sides. Garnish with the candied blood orange slices!
blood orange slices from martha.
Spices in My DNA
Thank you so much!!
Stunning! Could it possible to replace blood oranges with grapefruit? Where I’m currently living, I don’t believe blood oranges will be easy to find.
Spices in My DNA
Hi Kimberly! If you aren’t able to find blood oranges, I’d use regular navel oranges here. The grapefruit might be a bit too bitter. Let me know if you try it out!