I have this new hobby now where I come home on Friday night and immediately start baking. Gone are my college days where Fridays meant getting excited about actually going out in public. Now, I just want to make some brownies, eat Chinese takeout, and try to stay awake until 11 p.m. While I can firmly say I would not trade working full-time for studying until midnight or being the only participant on “team projects” anymore, I also 10/10 understand why adults don’t do things. At best, I can mentally prepare myself to go out on a Saturday night after a proper day of sleeping in and lounging around the house. On the other hand, I have extreme FOMO, so if you offer something really tempting, I’ll probably down a few cups of coffee and make myself socialize. But only if I can bring my dog.
One of the most stressful things of late has been deciding what I actually want to bake on these Friday nights, because if you see my “Recipes to Try” list, it’s as long as the Game of Thrones books. Granted, not all of it is baked goods, some are cocktails which actually would be the perfect for Friday-night recipe developing, and a lot are rando health-foods that are not acceptable for Fridays. But the baked goods list is long and arduous, and when I have to spend three weekends developing a cake, I get sad 😦 Mostly because it means I have nothing to share for a weekend, but also because it means no cake for that weekend!
For example, this cake took me three fing times to figure out. THREE. And ok, I know that’s typical, if not modest, in recipe development world, but I’ve made cakes similar to this formula literally hundreds of times, so for it to not work three different times was appalling. As a person who considers herself an experienced baker, I was fairly offended about screwing up such a simple cake and felt like I had to prove myself worthy to baked goods. And although my salty-af first attempt inspired me to write a fairly impressive Vday-inspired caption, I also just really wanted this cake to work out some way or another, because black sesame + blood orange = 😍
In a perfect world, this cake would have been ready in time for Vday, because I don’t think it’s a coincidence that blood orange season is right around Valentine’s Day. That’s just way too damn convenient. However, I’m kind of fine that it didn’t end up working out that way, because the first batch of blood oranges I bought for this recipe were so-so, and the last batch I bought were unreeeeaaaaaal. They were the most beautiful color, and their frangrance made my whole kitchen smell like it had just been professionally cleaned, although I can guarantee that wasn’t the case. I think blood oranges are so underappreciated, because like, besides their ruby-red hue, they are so sweet and floral. Maybe we should be adding lavender to this cake instead of sesame?
However, I really liked how the sweetness of the blood oranges meshed with the earthiness of the sesame seeds. This color combo is perfection, and I liked the polka-dot look of the cake itself. I’m putting black sesames on everything from now on thankyouverymuch.
A few notes about this recipe before we get into things:
- Citrus is already somewhat salty, so it’s important to be stingy with the salt. My first two attempts at this cake were soooo salty (for various reasons, but still).
- Whip the butter, sugar, and eggs for much longer than you believe to be necessary.
- Definitely don’t over-bake this cake. Since it’s pound cake, it doesn’t use moisturizers like oil, so it’ll get dry if you wait too long.
- Use aluminum-free baking powder, or the metallic taste will be very present in this recipe.
- Use a higher-quality powdered sugar for the glaze. Since the glaze is almost exclusively powdered sugar, you will notice any chalky tastes and textures found in cheaper versions.
- Oh, and one more thing! These do great baked in mini loaf pans, but make sure to butter the bejeezus out of the pan, or they will come out as little hot messes like mine did (see below). However, if yours do come out that way, trash them up with extra glaze and maybe a little sprinkles, and you’ll be A-ok. I highly recommend this method, because baking mini loaf cakes means extras for the freezer, and they are the best way to eat cake for breakfast in a socially acceptable way!! #science
Black Sesame + Blood Orange Pound Cake
Ingredients for the cake
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. blood orange zest
3 c. flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
2 Tbs. black sesame seeds
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. Heat oven to 350* F.
Meanwhile, cream butter and sugar until it’s very incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly until the butter mixture is very light and fluffy, about another 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and blood orange zest.
Stir in half of the flour and half of the milk until just mixed. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk. Stir in the black sesame seeds.
Pour batter into a buttered and floured bundt cake pan. Bake for about 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached. Flip it onto a cooling rack and let it cool before glazing.
Ingredients for glaze
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 c. blood orange juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Milk, as needed
In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, blood orange juice, and vanilla extract. Mix in milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. If the glaze gets too thin, add more powdered sugar a couple Tablespoons at a time.
Pour glaze over cake. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Become the Warm Jets by Current Joys