weird but good flavor combinations

beet and blood orange bundt cake #bundtbakers

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “New Year, new you” at some point in your life.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Well, I’ve decided that I don’t need a new me. I’m as happy as a clam with the current me, so I’m tossing that pesky little phrase out the window.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

What I could use in the new year though, is some new recipes. I really want to shake things up and learn some new tricks in the kitchen.

In my last #bundtbakers post I mentioned that I’d gotten an old cookbook from my mother and I wanted to try some new (to me) recipes from old cookbooks. Russell heard me loud and clear and found me some even older cookbooks on Ebay for Christmas, one of them dating back to 1884. Some of these recipes are so old, and so unfamiliar, that they actually feel completely fresh and new and innovative! I can’t wait to start cooking my way through them!

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Don’t get the wrong idea though. While I definitely want to revisit the recipes of the past, I also want to try a few things that are totally new and modern. New ways of doing things, new techniques tips and tricks, new spins on classic recipes, and new combinations of flavors.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

As fate would have it, our very own June of How to Philosophize with Cake chose “Strange but good / weird flavor combinations” as our #bundtbakers theme this month. Can you think of a better segue into trying something new and exciting in the great big world of bundts?

I sure can’t!

I wasn’t the only one who got excited about this month’s super fun and interesting theme. 25 bloggers are participating this month and some of the ideas they came up with are truly mind-blowing. Please scroll down past the recipe to check out everyone’s cakes, but be warned, you might want to grab a towel to wipe up the drool while you read through their posts.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

After some serious thought and option weighing I decided to try making a beet cake. I’ve always loved beets and have often thought that their earthy sweetness would work well in dessert. I’ve wanted to try experimenting with beets in sweets for a long while but until now haven’t had the drive to go for it.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thought beets worked well with this theme. While everyone’s cakes are totally different, there are a few others who used beets in their recipes too, and they all sound phenomenal.

I’m usually pretty good at being able to size up a recipe and know what changes I can make without screwing it up.
Unfortunately this was not one of those times. I had a one hell of a time getting this recipe right and had to make three cakes before I was happy with the results. My first plan incorporated ricotta along with the beet puree and orange juice, and while it tasted great there was too much added moisture and the texture was dense and gummy. The ricotta didn’t really add much in the flavor department either, so I nixed it. The next try was much closer to perfection but I knew I still had a little work to do before I could proudly and confidently share the recipe with all of y’all.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

One thing I was sort of surprised and disappointed by was the way the bright red color of the beets baked out by the time the cake came out of the oven. For some reason the very top of the cake stayed red, but the interior turned a pale orange color. I tried a few things in my experimenting, and did some research online on how to preserve the color with acidic ingredients like orange juice, buttermilk, and baking powder (rather than baking soda which has a base PH). The bottom line though was that this cake needs to cook too long to be able to preserve the color, so making sure the cake is cooked all the way through means that you have to sacrifice that vivid red.

I thought about using food coloring to turn it red again, but that’s not really my style and it seemed unnecessary. The beets are there for flavor not color, and the flavor stays even after the color bakes out.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Let me tell you, this cake has amazing flavor in spades. You may think that using beets in a cake is weird or unappetizing, but think again. It may sound a bit weird in theory, but it’s seriously freaking delicious. Even people who don’t care for beets will probably enjoy this bright and citrusy cake.

Thanks to the moisture from the buttermilk and beet puree, this cake is incredibly moist and tender, with a light and delicate crumb. The bright citrusy acidity of the blood orange pairs beautifully with the sweet, earthy, almost floral flavor of the beet. Ground cardamom bolsters the floral notes in the beets, and a bit of ground clove bridges the gap between the bright citrus and earthy beet. A sunny blood orange glaze adds even more citrus flavor and a naturally pretty in pink color that’s missing from the cake itself. To top it all off a sprinkle of freshly toasted pistachios adds crunch, color, and an earthy floral flavor that compliments the rest of the cake perfectly.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Beet and Blood Orange Bundt Cake

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
zest of one blood orange
1/4 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
2 small to medium beets
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Orange glaze:
zest of one blood orange
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped

preheat oven to 350F.

Brush a 10 to 12 cup bundt pan with softened butter, dust with flour, and tap out excess. Refrigerate.

Combine orange zest and sugar in a large bowl and mix until well combined with an electric mixer. Set aside.

Wash and peel beets and cut into quarters. Place in a food processor with orange juice and puree until very smooth, about two to three minutes. Pour into a measuring cup and measure out exactly 1 cup of beet puree. Discard any extra if you have too much. If a little short you can top it off with a touch of extra buttermilk. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk to beet puree and stir well. Set aside.

Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, and cloves together in a medium sized bowl.

Add softened butter to orange scented sugar and cream together on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add oil, vanilla, and one egg at a time, beating just enough to incorporate. Alternate flour and beet mixtures, beginning and ending with flour, scraping sides of bowl between additions.

Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan, tap out any air in the pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 55 to 65 minutes, or just until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes before inverting pan to remove cake onto the rack. Cool on the rack until completely cool.

To make the glaze, whisk orange zest, orange juice, and powdered sugar toghether until smooth and completely free of lumps. The glaze should seem very thick, almost spreadable. If too thick add a few drops of water or orange juice, if too thin add more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Pour glaze over completely cooled cake, and before it dries, top with a sprinkle of pistachios.

Cake should keep, well sealed in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

There are so many incredibly interesting and mouthwatering cakes this month. I know I say this all the time, but I really wish I could try them all. Some of these combinations of flavor are simply unbelievable that I’ve got to try them for myself.

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BundtBakers

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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

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