I found this recipe in the “Holiday Favorites” supplement, of the December 2020 issue of Food Network Magazine. The printed recipe was for lemon cakes, but I was out of fresh lemons the morning I had to make this sweet confection for a Christmas potluck. I substituted lemons with the blood oranges I had on hand. This ended up being a happy accident, because the blood orange juice naturally tinted the glaze a festive pink.
I think any citrus would work in the recipe, as would other herbs like rosemary or lavender. The combinations make this an adaptable dessert for every season.
FOR THE CAKES
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated blood orange zest
2 large eggs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme, plus small sprigs for garnish
FOR THE GLAZE
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons blood orange juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350. Brush a 6- or 12- cup mini Bundt or muffin pan with the melted butter. Lightly dust with flour and shake out the excess.
Pulse the granulated sugar and blood orange zest in a blender until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, then gradually pour in the olive oil and milk, pulsing until emulsified, about 30 seconds. Don’t over blend or the cakes will be too puffy.
Whisk the flour, the baking powder, salt and minced thyme in a small bowl. Add to the blender in two batches, pulsing lightly until just combined; stop to scrape down the blender as needed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cakes just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and spring back when lightly touched, 28 to 30 minutes for 6-cup Bundt pan and 22 to 25 minutes for a 12-cup Bundt or muffin pan. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides with a small knife and invert the cakes onto a wire rack.
Meanwhile make the glaze. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons blood orange juice, and the butter until smooth, adding 1/2 tablespoon more blood orange juice if the glaze is too thick.
Glaze the cakes – drizzle with a spoon or dip tops of cakes into bowl. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Let glaze set.