Believe me, I know that Easter was well over a week ago. But this is a phenomenal cake for Mother's Day or a bridal or baby shower or any spring or summer event. Actually it is just a phenomenal cake. I used the cake and orange filling recipe from Vineyard Seasons by Susan Branch and then opted not to make the orange glaze that she uses in the book and went with a sour cream and cream cheese frosting from Bon Appetit. I decided to make the cake into a four layer cake instead of a two layer cake because I remembered that there is always a lot of extra orange filling and who wants that to go to waste? And even though I don't really like frosting a cream cheese and sour cream frosting is a whole different beast. Might as well use and eat as much of it as possible. I scraped out the bowl. And when I was done frosting the cake I licked all of the extra off the spatula. And then I wished there was more. Sometimes it happens. It can't be helped. The inner six year old just takes over. Don't tell me you wouldn't do the exact same thing. I think you'll be glad to know that I did not stick my fingers in the cake to get more frosting. And I apologize in advance that you won't get to see any pieces cut from the cake and artfully arranged on dessert plates. Everyone ate it too fast. Better luck next time!
So here we go with the cake recipe and the filling. I would suggest that you make the cakes and the filling the night before and then make the frosting a few hours before you serve the cake. It just makes things run a little more smoothly. And that way you aren't waiting for the cake and the filling to cool. You can make the filling while the cake is baking.
Serves 10 - 12 or more if you cut small pieces
4 tbls butter (room temp/soft)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks and beat until thick and lemon colored. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the orange juice. Beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, carefully fold into the rest of the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pans ans bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans on wire racks. Remove carefully! If you are making the cakes the night before make sure they are completely cool than stack between layers of wax or parchment paper and wrap with plastic. Keep in the fridge overnight.
6 tbls sugar
1 1/2 tbls cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp grated orange peel (if you like more feel free to add it, I think I used about 2 or 3 tsp.)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 egg yolk slightly beaten
1 tbls butter, melted
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
In the top of a double boiler, over boiling water, mix sugar, corn starch and salt. If you don't have a double boiler set a glass bowl over boiling water in a small sauce pan. Just be careful that the steam doesn't burn you! Gradually add water, orange peel, orange juice and then the beaten egg yolk. Cook stirring constantly until smooth and thick. Fold in melted butter and pineapple. Pour into a bowl and chill. If you are making this the night before be sure to stick plastic wrap right on the surface of the filling to prevent it from drying out or getting a "skin."
ON TO THE FROSTING!
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 1999
2 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese
8 tbls unsalted butter (room temp, soft)
2 cups powdered sugar (I should have sifted mine to get rid of all the lumps)
2 to 3 tbls grated orange peel plus a little more to sprinkle on top
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chilled sour cream
Beat cream cheese and butter until well blended. I used the whisk attachment on my stand mixture. I wanted it to be super smooth and fluffy. Beat in sugar, orange peel and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then beat in the sour cream. If it seems loose let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before frosting. If it seems good get to it!
ASSEMBLE YOUR CAKE!!!
But first you have to cut the cake into layers. If you have never done this before a good trick is to stick bamboo skewers through the cake and use those as a guide for your knife. Make sure you use a serrated one. Work slowly and carefully and don't worry if it is a little uneven. You have plenty of frosting and filling to balance it out!
Set the first layer, with the cut side facing up, on a cake stand or plate. Pour half of the orange filling on it and spread it out with a spatula.
Set the next layer, cut side down on top of that piece and spread a good layer of the frosting on top. Works like glue! Set the next layer cut side up on top and spread the rest of the orange filling on it.
Next layer. Cut side down.
Frosting is like glue! But soooooo delicious! Ok, I'll stop playing with the food. This is serious stuff! People need to eat it! And it needs to look FAB!
If you have an offset spatula now would be the time to use it. I don't have one. I did my best.
I think my best is pretty good!
Give it a nice sprinkle of orange zest.
I wanted to put a pansy on top, but I forgot to buy some. I had also contemplated making candied orange slices. But in the end used a scented geranium blossom and leaf. You could use some violets, johnny jump ups or nasturtiums. If you wanted to use something else just make sure it is edible. You wouldn't want to send anyone to the hospital!