I made this cake for the blood moon just 2 weeks ago, blood oranges and a blood moon seem like a synchronistic pair and I kind of love the idea of celebrating and gathering around lunar events. Shortly after making this cake and I set out for a week with my dad. The eclipse has been stirring up all kinds of unresolved issues for everyone, and like some big messy boiled over brew, we're all healing through them together. No one is exempt and the messes intermingle, and personally, in my world, the healing has felt like some kind of inexorable march. Incredibly slow and kind of endless. Breathing through it helps, healthy daily practices help, and the some-kind-of-solace that at the end of all this we should feel like freshly born lambs, helps. Just tomorrow there will be another eclipse, a new moon eclipse.
Oddly, engaging with the moon and planets is incredibly grounding for me. It reminds me that we are small specks of dusts in a huge universe, that we are all moving in a rotation around the sun, and that a moon is moving in a rotation around us. The ancient practice of drawing pictures in the stars, creating meaning and story, divining forecasts from the interaction of creatures and planets in the sky -- this helps to keep the magic alive in my life. When things feel out of control, there is something incredibly healing about surrendering it over to the vast mystery that is being alive, and receiving answers back.
And to me this doesn't even really mean you have to believe it is true. In what has become a skeptical, scientific culture -- the idea of astrology and intuition is fairly farfetched. A pseudo-science at best.
However, for me, a spiritual practice is a place beyond data and objective reasoning, it is beyond mental conjectures -- it is what feels best in my body, it is a place beyond words, it is what makes me come alive. To believe in magic, to believe in the presence of a higher power, of a sacred life, of meaning and life beyond, and in, the material -- this is what feels right, deep in my bones. It may not make "sense", or currently have much scientific evidence, but our bodies are older than objective study, and I like to think they come hardwired with a certain wisdom, wisdom that has kept us alive for millenia. So, this is partially what ignites me and keeps me going. If we want to save our own lives, the power of what we believe is so important. This doesn't mean to be delusional, but it means to take time to tap into an inner knowing, the deepest knowing, and use that to propel you forward.
If you haven't already figured it out yet, baking is another healing act for me. I find a great amount of medicine in the act of movement and creation. Oftentimes when I sit and lay around, issues will sometimes fester and mutate. However in the act of walking, moving, creating - I feel issues unravel, they find breath, a fresh perspective, or they mutate into the magic of creation. I find somewhere in the arcs and falls of making something, the answers slowly emerge, and by the end I see whatever was bothering me, things I didn't even know were bothering me, with a more whole perspective. Therapy exists in so many forms, it turns out.
And with that, Blood Orange Cake. This is a fairly simple - one layer cake, covered in meringue icing. The cake is vegan and the meringue has eggs. I love the taste of spelt in pastries and sweets -- there's something delicate and soft about spelt, and I love the dense crumb that accompanies it. I added black sesame for an additional nut butter tahini taste, and then blood oranges in the icing for some winter brightness.
Black Sesame Spelt Cake with Blood Orange Meringue
(makes 1 one-layer cake)
about 50 mintues
Black Sesame Cake
2 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 cup ground black sesame seeds
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp tea salt
1/3 cup coconut oil melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp blood orange zest
1 cup alternative milk of your choice
Blood Orange Meringue
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup blood orange juice (about 2-3 blood oranges)
2 tbsp rose's grenadine
blood orange zest from one orange
another blood orange for garnish
1. Oil 9" cake pan and dust with flour. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in ground black sesame seeds.
2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together oil, zest, honey, vanilla, and milk until completely combined and smooth. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth. The batter should be smooth, but not runny, don't overmix!
3. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. While the cake is baking prepare your meringue.
For the meringue
Pour egg whites, sugar, and blood orange juice into small heatproof bowl, preferably stainless steel. Put the bowl over a saucepan filled halfway with simmering water. The simmering water should not touch the bowl and the bowl should be held comfortably by the saucepan.
Whisk the mixture consistently until it reaches about 140-150 degrees fahrenheit. If you don't have a sugar thermometer, check to see if the sugar has melted. If the mixture is hot to the touch and their are no visible sugar granules you're ready.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a kitchen aid mixer or beat with handheld mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat until meringue is fluffy and firm. Pour in grenadines and orange zest and whisk a bit longer.
Cover your cake with the meringue icing and garnish with blood orange slices, in a moon shape if you're into that. And enjoy!