Blood Orange Thyme Layer Cake

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Cakes / Fruit


My love for blood orange is well documented.  In fact, it was the first recipe I ever posted on Case Bakes.  While most fruit is slim pickings this time of year, blood oranges are the shining star that gets me through these cold, dreary winter months.  Honestly, I think it’s one of nature’s most impressive fruits and the subtle, sweet and slightly less acidic taste it lends finds me buying them on bulk and hunting down any recipe that uses them I can find.  And this layer cake, with it’s hints of thyme may be my new favorite.


I tend to find herbs a rare addition to most baked goods, which is really a shame because they tend to be a great compliment, especially with citrus.  Also, drippy cakes are still having a moment and I am all about it.  You make look at this recipe and think Casey, blood orange thyme syrup, raspberry buttercream AND blood orange glaze all in one cake?  But all the flavors are so mild they blend together to create such a beautiful cake.  Run to your closest Trader Joe’s, get you some blood oranges and have yourself a nice little Sunday.   Best part?  You’ll have enough blood orange thyme simple syrup leftover for a few cocktails.  You’re welcome.

recipe from Style Sweet CA


Brown Sugar Buttermilk Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for the pans
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated blood orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Raspberry Buttercream

1/2 cup fresh raspberries
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 cup vanilla swiss meringue buttercream (recipe here)

Blood Orange Thyme Syrup

1/2 cup fresh blood orange juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5-8 sprigs fresh thyme

Blood Orange Glaze

1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh blood orange juice


Brown Sugar Buttermilk Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans and set aside
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and set aside
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.  Add the sugars and orange zest.  Turn the mixer to medium high and mix until the butter is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the vanilla, then add the eggs, and egg yolk one at a time.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined
  6. evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans.  Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes come out clean.  Let them cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans

Raspberry Buttercream

  1. Blend the raspberries and sugar together in a food processor until combined.  If you prefer to remove the seeds, strain the puree through a mesh sieve set over a bowl.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the buttercream until silky smooth.  Add 1/4 cup of the pureed raspberries and mix until combined.

Blood Orange Thyme Syrup

  1. Place the orange juice and the sugar in a saucepan and bring them to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and add the thyme.  Simmer for about 8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let steep until cool.  Strain the syrup before use and discard the thyme

Assemble the Cake

Once the cakes have completely cooled, level them and choose which layer will be at the bottom.  Generously brush the cake layers with the blood orange syrup.  Place the bottom layer on a cake plate or serving dish.  Spread 3/4 cup of the raspberry buttercream with an offset spatula.  Top with the next layer of cake and repeat with the buttercream, ending with the third layer.  Use the remaining buttercream to fill in any gaps between layers and give the cake a rustic coat of icing

Blood Orange Glaze

In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners sugar and orange juice together until the sugar has dissolved.  If a thicker glaze is desired, stir in ore sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.  Pour the glaze into the center of the top of the cake.  Spread it evenly with an offset spatula and let it drip over the edges.  Decorate the top with thyme, if using

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