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Blood Orange Wacky Cake: Simple and Delicious

Today I am thrilled to be sharing one of my favorite simple cake recipes. It is based on a type of cake known as a Depression or Wacky cake. What’s so wacky you ask? Well, this moist and flavorful cake doesn’t use any eggs or dairy. Wacky cakes are said to date back as far as the civil war, but became very popular during the Depression when eggs and milk were harder to come by.

I made this blood orange wacky cake for a good friend’s birthday this weekend (she happens to be vegan, so it’s a great choice). When the guests heard there was a vegan cake around there were a lot of skeptics, but I dare say they were all promptly converted with the first bite. Freshly squeezed blood oranges give this tender cake big flavor. My version is not too sweet with a simple blood orange glaze. If you don’t have blood oranges handy, this cake would be fantastic with regular oranges.

Blood Orange Wacky Cake
makes two round 9″ cakes

for the cake
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 blood orange, plus 2 tablespoons more for the glaze
2 cups fresh squeezed blood orange juice (from about 5 medium blood oranges)
2/3 cup vegetable oil (I love to use coconut for it’s fragrant flavor, but any good oil will do)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round 9″ cake pans and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and zest. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the juice, oil, and vinegar. Pour into the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Finally, fold in the vanilla.

Pour the batter into the cake pans and cook for about 30 minutes. The cakes should be a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool, and then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

for the glaze
1/4 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons blood orange zest

Whisk the sugar, vanilla, and zest into the juice until smooth. Spoon 4 tablespoons onto the top of the bottom layer of cake. Add the top layer, and carefully spoon on the remaining glaze. Garnish with 3 – 5 thin slices of blood orange and serve.

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