I have a quote in my bathroom that reads, “Freedom is the ability to act according to your own will.” I don’t know why it’s in my bathroom of all places, but that’s where it resides. As a perpetual people pleasure I find it necessary to remind myself that it’s OK to be me, quirkiness and all. Sometimes that quirkiness comes out in the strangest of places. Like my cooking. So, I’m putting my people pleasing self aside to share with you this strange, but delicious Orange Cream Turmeric Cake. Honestly? Strange and delicious are my favorite ingredients!
Being a people pleaser can sure make life a lot easier…for the people around you! But for the people pleaser herself? That’s another story. For me, my people pleasing ways started when I was young. That’s a bad time to start any habit because it can get kind of stuck in your head. Like those commercials on Saturday morning cartoons we heard a million times. I can never say the words, We’ll be right back. I have to say, After these messages we’ll be…right back. That takes me from quirky to corny…in an instant!
Oh, and Saturday morning cartoons? I guess I just dated myself, eh?
The bad thing about being a people pleaser is it can cause a person to want to play things safe. That way we don’t offend anyone. Safe is good.
Hmm. It just dawned on me. Maybe that’s another reason I like being in the kitchen. It’s my place. I can let my hair down. Be myself. Get a little kooky. Put turmeric in cake. Oy vei!
Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken. —Oscar Wilde
In the end, I find I’m just SO much happier when I relax, let the weird out, and just be myself.
That may cause some people to look at me with a stupefied raised eyebrow. It’s as if they’re thinking, “What is wrong with this person!” Chances are they just have gas.
Or maybe they’re just jealous they don’t have a cake with turmeric in it. Yep. That could be totally right.
When we lose the right to be different, we lose the right to be free. —Charles Evans Hughs
Maybe that’s why I keep that quote in my bathroom. Starting my day with a reminder to be free, may actually be giving myself permission to be different.
OK. Maybe I’m trying to pack a little too much woo-woo in a cake. It is, in the end, just a cake. But, oh, what a cake it is.
So let’s talk seriously about this turmeric thing. I knew I was going to make an Orange Cream cake. The Food Network magazine just about made me do it with those glorious Orange Cream Cupcakes in last month’s edition of their magazine that Adee got for me for Mother’s Day. How sweet is that! It’s sweet. Let me tell you. If she weren’t so dang excited to be going off to college, I’d lock her up in a closet, I love her so.
That’s my homage to Where the Wild Things Are, one of my favorite books to read to miss Adee when she was at that age where she begged me to read one after the other. I always acquiesced. That’s what moms do.
Oh wait. We were talking about this cake, right? Turmeric is one of my favorite ingredients because it’s a super food. I don’t really know what that means, but it sounds good to say it. Oh, I know it means it has LOTS of good things in it for you. But so do most fruits, veggies, and spices. It may not have a cape, but it’s still a super food in my book because I love the orangey-yellow tint it ads to so many of my recipes.
Here’s the deal. Food can be tasty, but it also needs to look appetizing. I’m pretty sure that’s why food coloring was invented. I don’t mind adding a little food coloring here or there. I mean think about it, we could be inhaling diacetyl fumes from microwave popcorn! I think even toothpaste has some questionable ingredients in it. I don’t think a little food coloring every now and then is a big deal. However, if I can find a natural way to color something, I will definitely give it a try.
I’ve added spinach to cookies to give them a green hue. I’ve used blueberries in my veggie bean burgers to make them less pale and more palatable. (Links and photos below the recipe)
So that means, adding turmeric to a cake was not that big of a stretch. It gave this delicious orange cake a nice, golden hue. Sure, it’s not really “orange” but it’s at least in the right neighborhood. And I sprinkled it with some homemade Orange Crystals to give it that nice orangey edge.
This is one of my favorite cakes because it was so flavorful and delicious. The combination of the orange and the zest of the turmeric really gives it quite a zing. And when you’re living a life to the beat of your own drummer, a little zing can make for a fun day!
- ¾ cup dairy-free margarine, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- Zest of one orange (approximately 2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 cup soy milk (or non-dairy milk of your preference)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ cup orange juice (freshly squeezed from the orange you used above)
- ½ cup margarine, softened
- 3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1-2 teaspoons turmeric
- Orange Sugar Crystals (combine ½ cup sugar with 1 drop of red and 2 drops of yellow food coloring)
- Heat your oven to 350F and spray a square baking pan with vegetable spray.
- Use a mixer to combine the dairy-free margarine and sugar. Beat for a minute or two until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the orange zest, ground flax seeds, corn starch, soy milk, apple cider vinegar, and orange extract. Using your mixture on medium high, beat again until combined and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and turmeric. Stir together. Pour the flour mixture into the margarine mixture. Using your mixer, beat on low until combined, using a spoon to stir down the sides.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. When it's ready, remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool completely before adding the frosting.
- Place the orange juice in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once the orange juice boils, lower the heat and allow it to simmer until most of the moisture has boiled away and you're left with about a tablespoon. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
- Place the margarine and vegan cream cheese in a bowl and use a mixer to blend until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, orange extract, orange zest, turmeric and the cooled orange sauce from Step #1. Continue beating this mixture with the mixer until you reach the desired consistency. If it's a little too soft, you may need to refrigerate it before spreading it on top of the cake.
- Once the cake has cooled and the icing is ready, slather a thick layer of frosting on the cake. Prepare the Orange Sugar Crystals by combing one-half cup of sugar with 1 drop of red and 2 drops of yellow food coloring. Stir until well combined and sprinkle this over the top of the cake.
Check out my Naturally Green Shortbread Shamrock Cookies
I also added some natural color with these Blueberry Black Bean Burgers
Strawberries added some coloring to the filling in these fun and colorful Confetti Sandwich Cookies.