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Beltane 2007
Project Name

Zabet Stewart (photo)
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Midnight in the Grove

Even in darkness, with the moon rising, the air was hot. She made her way down the road towards the old grove. It had been abandoned years ago and now was wild and tangled in its neglect. As she grew near the still air became heavy with the thick scent of orange blossoms. She kept moving, one foot in front of the other, the soles of her shoes making soft slaps on the asphalt, until the smell was so strong it nearly gagged her. Then she left the road, climbing easily over the low wooden fence, and entered the heart of the grove.

by Raellyn Hatter


Rrrrgh . . . . Brains . . . .
Click here for definitions of difficulty levels.


  • Blood Orange Sauce
    • 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup water
    • 1 cup blood orange juice
  • Blood Orange Pound Cake
    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 5 eggs, separated
    • 2/3 cup blood orange juice
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups flour
    • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • Poppyseed Filling
    • 1 12.5 oz. can Poppyseed Filling (I used Solo brand)
    • 2 Tbsp. Blood Orange Sauce (see above)


Blood Orange Sauce:

In a heavy bottomed pot, combine the sugar and water. Cover the pot and place over high heat until the mixture comes to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium and uncover the pot. Watch the mixture until it begins to caramelize and turns a rich golden caramel brown. Remove the pot from the stove and holding it away from you, slowly add the blood orange juice. The hot sugar will steam and threaten to bubble over, but be brave! When the mixture has calmed, return it to the heat and whisk it to combine the juice fully with the caramelized sugar. When the mixture returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat and pour into a heat-safe bowl (such as Pyrex). Place it in the refrigerator to chill before using.

Blood Orange Pound Cake:

Oil and flour a 9"x5"x3" metal loaf pan and set aside. Preheat your oven to 325F.

Cream the butter in a large bowl, then add sugar and whip until light and fluffy. Next, whip the egg yolks in a separate bowl until they are frothy and doubled in volume. Add these to the sugar and butter mixture, and keep beating until the mixture becomes very light. Mix in the vanilla extract, blood orange juice, and flour until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and the 4 teaspoons of sugar until soft peaks form. Fold this mixture into the cake batter. It will take a little while, but the mixture will become a uniform texture.

Fill the cake pan and bake for one hour, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Cool in the pan, and then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool before constructing the finished cake.

Poppyseed Filling:

In a bowl, mix the can of poppyseed filling with 2 Tablespoons of Blood Orange Sauce. This will flavor the filling slightly and also make it a little easier to squeeze through the piping bag.

Constructing the Cake:

When finally cool, use a cake wire to slice the domed top off of the pound cake and to make the long sides of the cake vertical. Then use the wire to slice the cake into 3/4" layers. This makes a beautifully rectangular cake.

On your serving dish, place 4 narrow layers of waxed paper under the edges of the first layer of cake. These will be removed later and will prevent crumbs and drips from marring the look of your beautiful finished cake.

Using a piping bag containing the poppyseed filling mixture, make a bead around the edge of the cake and then fill in the center completely. Lay the next layer of cake, and repeat the piping process for the poppyseed mixture. Place the final layer of cake on top, and remove the strips of waxed paper carefully, leaving no crumbs or drips of poppyseed filling.

Using a spoon or a pastry brush, drizzle the Blood Orange Sauce over your finished creation, letting it drip lusciously down the sides and puddle in bloody little pools. You may garnish your cake as you wish, but I prefer using beautiful flowers to accent this creation.


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