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The Fruit of the Season

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I miss summer fruit. Peaches, berries, apricots, cherries…it seems like noshing on any of these in their perfect, in-season form is forever and a day away, and that makes me feel a bit desperate and wistful for their return. In a the-grass-is-always-greener way, though, I know I’ll miss good oranges come summertime–especially blood oranges, which are superseasonal citrus fruits. Ever tried to eat a pithy, sour blood orange in July? Can you even find one in July? Those are two questions I’d prefer not to know the answer to.

So, for now, while I wait for my delicate, aromatic, unapologetically messy-juicy summer fruits, I’m getting my last fill of blood oranges before April comes and the season shifts (…that is, if we haven’t shifted into the next Ice Age and aren’t aware of it yet). When I was out in California visiting family this past January, I made an olive oil cake with blood orange caramel for a dinner party we hosted. The sauce was a simple butter-sugar-cream caramel sauce, but it used blood orange juice instead of water. To try my luck in experimentation, I tossed the jewel-toned blood orange segments into the hot, red-pink caramel, spooned it over slices of cake, and garnished the whole thing with some vanilla-scented mascarpone cream. And in the 21st hour, we feasted. It was a cake to remember; one that I’ll make for winters to come.

But this blood orange cake on SheSimmers.com combines all of the elements in my deconstructed version, and it looks like that elusive combination of delicious and gorgeous that I covet in a dessert. An olive oil cake is baked with blood oranges, upside-down cake style, so the oranges caramelize and concentrate at the bottom of the cake pan. This would be delicious with a creamy garnish, but it looks just fine as-is. It’s something I’ll definitely experiment with, since it’s a recipe with one less pot to clean (and no molten sugar in sight).

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