Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cake for Year of the Dragon

One of the excellent things about belonging to a baking group like the Bread Baking Babes is that members sometimes steer you to a blog you might not have noticed. Recently we were told to check out Farine and I'm glad I did. She baked an unusual cake to celebrate the Year of the Dragon...Dragon Blood Cake, using blood oranges.

Blood oranges are similar to naval oranges, but have a dark orange-red juice that resemble blood color. This cake would have benefited from some extra blood orange juice drizzled on after it baked to jazz up the color, but the cake itself was full of flavor with both orange and ginger giving it some fire.

Another unusual thing about it is that it starts with sourdough starter and is without dairy ingredients. The texture more closely resembled pudding when Sweetie and I had some, but then it was still slightly warm. It was enjoyable as a different sort of cake, but I probably won't make it again quite this way. I think I'd like to use some almond flour in it, too, and a little less zest.

Since the lunar New Year started Monday you may want to celebrate the Year of the Dragon (Water Dragon this time) by trying this cake, too.

Farine's Blood of the Dragon Cake

For the starter
• 180 g mature levain (starter)
• 180 g white whole wheat pastry flour
• 180 g cultured buttermilk
• 25 g ginger syrup

For the batter
• 80 g extra-virgin olive oil
• juice and zest of 2 blood oranges
• 100 g unsweetened applesauce
• 50 g bits of crystallized ginger
• pinch of salt
• note: the oranges I used were very sweet and with the crystallized ginger and the bit of syrup in the starter, I didn't need more sugar. You should taste the batter prior to baking (one of the advantages of baking without eggs is that you can actually have a taste) and determine whether or not sugar should be added Elle's note: I added about a tablespoon of honey to sweeten it up a bit)

For the finished cake
• blood oranges
• confectioner's sugar

1. Starter is prepared at least 4 hours before baking: mix all ingredients with wooden spoon, cover tightly and let rise at warm room temperature

2. When the starter has doubled, add other ingredients, mix with wooden spoon and pour in oil-sprayed pan. Bake for 40 minutes in pre-heated 350°F/177°C oven

3. When done (a cake tester comes out clean), turn off the oven and leave the cake inside for another 5 to 10 minutes with oven door ajar. Cool on a rack

4. Dust with confectioner's sugar

5. Serve with freshly sliced blood oranges. Alternatively drench with blood orange juice before serving.


  1. Well, huh. This is really, really interesting. I haven't had a yeasted cake, and yet, I'm seeing more of them around. And now a levain starter cake! I'm impressed - and intrigued.

  2. Tanita, this was not a huge hit but it was interesting.

    Tanna, you are cute!

  3. Happy New Year, Elle.
    Sorry for me being late.

  4. Andreas, not is always great to hear from you.