Cake and flowers. Flowers and cake…it’s a match made in heaven. And it’s made even more fun when you get to work not only with one of your coolest friends, but when they happen to be talented, creative AND a florist!
Yeah, I am pretty hopeless when it comes to flowers, but that’s definitely not true of Victoria Alcorn. I like Vix because she’s the kind of person who orders a burrito bowl, and then mixes that sucker all up immediately. In other words, she’s baller. And she does beautiful things with beautiful blooms.
The cake itself is kiiiiind of perfect for this time of year, no matter where you happen to be on this floating blue planet. It’s a buttery orange and almond cake, layered with an orange and poppy seed cream cheese icing.
So if you’re down here in the Southern Hemisphere, you’re embracing the last of the Winter citrus, and it’s also still plenty hot enough for a beautiful tea-time cake. And if you’re up in the Northern Hemisphere, this baby is just what you should bake in order to tempt in the Spring. Everyone wins!
There are several reasons why I think you should make this particular cake – firstly because it’s buttery, nutty, citrussy and bright! Secondly, because it bakes up into a beautifully fluffy, golden sponge.
Thirdly, finally, and most importantly, because we need more cream cheese icing in this world, people. For this lush icing to be relegated solely to carrot cakes and occasionally red velvet is a crying shame, a terrible imbalance that needs to be rectified!
Especially when citrus and cream cheese go together so well. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself from a-slathering the cream cheese icing onto my citrus cakes in future.
I also love the way that the black poppy seeds in the cake add that hint of bitter crunch, plus they look so cool. I think they add a nice, edgy vibe that stops this from being too Sunday-school predictable. Full disclosure: I never went to Sunday school.
The flowers that Vicki picked were rad, as expected. The red ones are dahlias, and the lil’ pink ones are the most beautiful smelling roses. But can you guess what those funky pink berries are?
THEY’RE PEPPERCORNS! Isn’t that cool? I now have a couple of vases (well, an old pickle jar and a coffee pot) overflowing with those dusty pink berries, with all their sprawling greenery, and it makes me so happy. I never thought I was a flowers-in-the-house kind of person, but I’m really digging it – how about you? Fan, or no?
So, I took a ton of photos, because it’s hard not to when the subject matter is as visually beautiful as these flowers, and as straight up delicious as this cake. If you’re just after the recipe, feel free to scroll the bottom of the page.
And if not, feel free to take your time! This is the first of what I hope will be a lot more collaborations on The Sugar Hit – I always find it so inspiring to work with talented people. This year is all about the fun of it. So stay tuned, and happy cake-ing!
- 1 + ⅓ cups (200g) plain flour
- 1 cup (100g) almond meal
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup (225g) caster sugar
- 200g butter
- 4 eggs
- Zest of an orange
- Juice of an orange
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 stick + 2tbsp (150g) butter, at room temp
- 9oz (250g) cream cheese, at room temp
- 2 + ½ cups (350g) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- zest of an orange
- To make the cake, grease and line 3x 18cm (7inch) cake tins and preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Place the dry ingredients and the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix until the butter is broken down into the flour, and looks like breadcrumbs.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, while mixing on a low speed, followed by the zest, juice and milk. Turn up the speed, briefly, until everything is combined, and then stop the mixer.
- Divide the batter between the three tins, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and springing back when touched.
- Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth and fluffy, then add the cream cheese and beat until just combined - be careful not to overmix.
- Sift in the icing sugar, and beat until it is just incorporated. Finally, add the poppy seeds and zest and fold them through.
- To assemble the cake, place one of the layers on a stand, and top with half the icing, smoothing it right to the edge. Place the next layer on top, followed by the remaining icing, and then the final layer.
- With a small palette knife, smooth the edges of the icing around the sides of the cake. Decorate with powdered sugar and flowers, if desired.