When trying to decide what to write about today, my mind went a million different directions… honestly, a lot of them were bleak. It took a few minutes of stillness to refocus, remove the negativity, and replace it with something uplifting. Let’s be real, this world is broken and dark; it’s what we choose to do in the moments of darkness that define us.
I have been watching a TV show called “This is Us” recently… it is such a beautiful mess of a family that has their fair share of struggles. Early on in the series, [and heads up, spoiler alert!] a young couple finds out they lost one of their triplets during childbirth. In a sweet moment overlooking his two newborns, the doctor says to the father:
“I like to think that one day you’ll be an old man like me talkin’ a young man’s ear off explainin’ to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade. If you can do that, then maybe you will still be taking three babies home from this hospital, just maybe not the way you planned.”
The couple does in fact end up taking home three babies instead of two, by adopting a baby boy abandoned at a fire station that morning. You see, they were always meant to have three children, they were destined to be “the Big Three”… it’s amazing how a change in perspective can turn a situation around.
What are the lemons life has given you and how can you take steps to turn them into something resembling lemonade? Personally, I love lemons and don’t see why they are always depicted so negatively… they are so yummy, sour, and the zest is superb for baking… but for the sake of the metaphor, I’ll allow the connotation. One of the “lemons” in my life is this season of “middle” I am in… a season of transition, knowing I am headed in the right direction yet eager to JUST BE THERE ALREADY! It takes everything in me to slow my role and be content with the fact that life is a journey.
Now, I know we’ve been talking a lot about lemons, but I just HAD to share some exciting news with y’all… that BLOOD ORANGES ARE IN SEASON!!! I was at the grocery store the other day and saw them sitting there, smiling back at me, just waiting to be included in an awesome recipe. How could I resist? I promptly scoured through the Pinterest world for some inspiration and came up with this beautiful collaboration of a blood orange upside-down poppy seed cake with an earl grey glaze… the tartness of the blood oranges pairs lovely with the hint of earl grey, almost neutralizing it, and the poppy seeds add another dimension altogether!
I wish my reaction toward the lemons of life was the same as my reaction to seeing blood oranges in the produce section… I can’t wait to bring them home and transform them into something beautiful and unique. In that spirit, when faced with “lemons” in the future, I will see them in a different light, and instead, think to myself…
… when life gives you blood oranges, what will you make out of it?
“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:13-16
1 cup (230 g) Brown Sugar
¾ cup Oil
1 ¾ cups (230 g) Flour
2 ¼ tsp Baking Powder
¾ tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
Juice and Zest of 1 Blood Orange (plus more for slicing)
¾ cup Greek Yogurt (I use 0% Fage)
Butter and brown sugar for pan
Earl Grey Glaze
Earl Grey Teabag
1 cup Milk
2 cups Powdered Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350° and prep your 9″ round pan by greasing it with melted butter, sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar over the butter and add slices of blood oranges in whatever design you prefer. OR if the whole “upside-down” concept is just a little too overwhelming for you, just grease your baking pan with crisco and dust with flour to make a normal cake.
- In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar and oil till combined. Add eggs, blood orange juice, zest, and vanilla; stir till combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour. Mix till smooth, then add poppy seeds and stir till combined.
- Pour mixture over sliced blood oranges in 9″ round pan. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean.
- Let cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Trim the top of the cake if needed (to ensure the cake will be level once it is flipped over) and swiftly turn the cake upside-down onto a cooling rack.
- While cake is cooling, steep earl grey teabag in hot milk for about 5 minutes. Combine tea, one tablespoon at a time with powdered sugar in a small bowl. Note: you’ll want to mix till a glaze is created that is not too thick yet not too runny.
- Once cake has cooled, transfer to desired plate, cake stand etc. and spread glaze on top, letting it spill over edges slightly. Use an offset spatula to spread the glaze (a spoon will work just fine too).