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Orange scented red velvet cake + Dreamsicle icing

Make this gorgeous red velvet cake for your lover—or yourself—this Valentines Day! It’s laced with a citrusy twist and layered with Dreamsicle icing for the ultimate chocolate-orange combo.

Orange scented red velvet cake decorated with vibrant red raspberries and orange slices.

Can you believe it’s February already?? I hope everyone’s year is off to a good start. Mine has been crazy busy, but I’m loving it so far. I’m feeling more motivated and energized than ever, so let’s hope it lasts! Since Valentines Day is right around the corner, I’ve got the perfect chocolatey dessert for you. Because let’s be real, V-Day is just one big excuse to eat chocolate all day.

I’m not super into Valentines Day, to be honest. I love my man and all, but I just think the holiday feels a little corny and forced. But dessert? Dessert I can get down with. Nothing corny about dessert.

Orange scented red velvet cake decorated with vibrant red raspberries and orange slices.

I used to despise baking because I thought it lacked potential for creativity. I felt suppressed by the measuring cups and the need for precision. But one quick question—what the hell was I thinking?? There’s limitless room for creativity in baking—it’s all about nailing the basic recipe, then giving it flare. Flare is my favorite ingredient.

I added both orange zest and orange blossom water to the cake batter and icing. The orange blossom water is optional, it just adds a slightly floral note. I think I got it from Whole Foods. The icing literally tastes like a Dreamsicle—one of those old-school orange cream popsicles to those of you who aren’t human. Along with the raspberries on top, I also crushed up some freeze dried raspberries and added them to the crumb mixture I used to decorate the outside of the cake. I love the flavor combo of chocolate and fruit. It seemed perfect for the holiday, plus is breaks up the somewhat monotonous flavor of red velvet cake. We don’t like boring food here at Ditch the Recipe.

If you follow me on Instagram you know that one of my resolutions this year was to learn how to bake and decorate cakes. After watching a thousand of Preppy Kitchen’s cake decorating videos, I had to try it myself. My first victim was a carrot cake (photo on IG) from a recipe my dad gave me while I was home over the holidays. It got a lot of good reviews (flavor wise, presentation was another story) so I was pretty inspired to keep the cakes rolling.

My kitchen has seen more cake the last two weeks than it has the last five years. It took me a while to develop this recipe since I’m still getting down the basics and wanted it to taste great AND look pretty. But it was well worth the late nights and constant sugar buzz because this cake is perfect. I used a cup of coffee in the batter to help bring out that chocolate flavor and keep it moist. The orange is present, but not overbearing and the Dreamsicle frosting really puts the icing on the cake!

Enjoy.

A vibrantly decorated red velvet cake next to a large piece of the cake with orange slices in the background.

 

ORANGE SCENTED RED VELVET CAKE + DREAMSICLE ICING

INGREDIENTSA piece of layered red velvet cake with orange halves in the background.

 

For the cake

  • 2 cups pastry flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coconut oil (or canola)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest (about 1 large orange)
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temp
  • 1/2 cup regular black coffee, room temp
  • 3 tbsp red food coloring
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda

For the icing

  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp orange zest + extra to decorate
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water (optional)

For the decorationsOrange scented red velvet cake decorated with vibrant red raspberries and orange slices.

  • fresh raspberries (or any berry you like)
  • orange zest
  • mint leaves
  • orange slices
  • leftover cake crumbs (from evening out layers)
  • freeze dried raspberries (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

*Remember to let the buttermilk, eggs, and butter come up to room temperature before baking. 

For the cake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray or butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Or you can line pans with parchment paper to ensure cake doesn’t stick.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl and set aside. If using coconut oil, make sure it’s melted and cooled. In a stand mixer beat oil, sugar, and orange zest until well combined. Add eggs, vanilla, and orange blossom water and continue to mix until fully combined.

On low speed, alternate between adding a little of the flour mixture and a little buttermilk at a time to the batter until just combined. Add red food coloring and coffee. Mix baking soda and red wine vinegar together in a small bowl (will get fizzy) and add to batter. Mix until just combined.

Divide batter into the two pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. When cake is done, let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

For the icing

Cream the butter and cream cheese in a stand up mixer. Sift powdered sugar and add in batches. Mix in final ingredients and combine until completely smooth. You can add a splash of milk if frosting seems too thick.

For the decorating

If you’ve never frosted a layered cake, I recommend watching this video, first. It even shows you how to even out the layers! Here are a few tools you’ll need to make things easier.

  • icing spatula
  • cake stand (turntable if you have one)
  • large serrated knife
  • pastry brush
  • Hot (boiling) water in a tall glass

First, make your cakes even with a large serrated knife and save the crumbs. Place one cake in the center of a cake stand or turntable and add a thick layer of icing, then place the second cake on top and add a thick layer of icing to that one. Frost the edges last. When icing builds up on spatula, scrape excess off and dip the spatula in a tall glass of hot water and wipe clean with a towel (see video above). This will warm the icing so you can work with it more easily. Brush away stray crumbs with a pastry brush to avoid getting into the icing.

Once you’ve frosted the whole cake you can garnish. Crush up some freeze dried raspberries and mix them with the the leftover cake crumbs. Add the crumb mixture along the bottom of your cake by gently patting it on with your hand. Decorate with raspberries, orange slices, zest, and mint leaves. Get creative!

For more Valentines Day ideas, check out my Red wine chocolate truffles or Strawberry cream cheese banana bread.

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