Thursday, May 31, 2012

Piece of Cake

Except this recipe was not. I should start by saying the recipe I posted on Tuesday is pretty simple. Especially as cakes go. This recipe is not. The cake is beautiful and super delicious. But it was a labor of love. I'm not saying I won't make it again, but probably only for special occasions. I had been wanting to make this cake for a really long time, and I'm so glad I did. It was the perfect birthday cake for me to make for myself. I really got to fuss and enjoy the baking process. A few notes: don't forget to take it out of the fridge about an hour before you serve it. I did forget. It was still amazing, but I think a little bit more softness would have just improved it. Also, I had a lot of extra orange blossom simple syrup left over. I think I should have brushed more into the cake to increase the orange flavor. The orange was very slight and a little more would have been nice. Looking back at the recipe, I could have used more berries. I think my cake was great, but more wouldn't have hurt. Finally, plan ahead. You need to chill the syrup for two hours before using it and chill the cake for two hours once completely assembled. So, I'd even recommend making the syrup the day before.

Orange Layer Cake with Berries
from Bon Appetit

4 1/2 cups cake flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk
9 large egg whites

Orange-flower syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon orange-flower water (try specialty stores or liquor stores)

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon orange-flower water

1/4 cup orange marmalade

1 12-ounce container fresh strawberries
1 6-ounce container fresh raspberries
1 4.4-ounce container fresh blueberries

I started by preparing the pans. I sprayed each pan, laid down parchment, sprayed again, and floured.
In a small bowl, I whisked together the flour, salt and baking powder.
In a large bowl, I mixed together the butter and 1.5 cups of sugar. I added the vanilla and mixed again.
Then I started adding the flour mixture and the milk, alternating until everything was incorporated. The batter is thick- almost like pound cake batter.
In a separate bowl, I started to mix together the egg whites. You read the recipe correctly- you need nine of them.
When the mixture is frothy, it only takes about a minute, add the last 1/2 cup of sugar.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form- a few minutes should be fine.
Add the egg whites in 3 batches and fold in gently. Be patient with the mixture, it takes a little time to fold in completely. But it makes a huge difference- the batter is so light and fluffy.
Pour the batter into both pans and smooth the tops.
Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick can be removed cleanly. Cool the cakes in the pan for about ten minutes, then remove and cool completely (remove parchment also).
Once the cake is completely cool, start the frosting. Beat together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and mix. Finally add the orange flower or blossom water and mix again. Take about 3/4 cup of the icing and put it in a small bowl. Add the marmalade to the small bowl and stir.
To put the cake together, start by trimming off the top. You only need to trim off a little to make sure it's super flat. It also helps absorb the orange blossom simple syrup. To make the syrup (evidently I forgot to take a picture of that step), put the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes. Whisk a bit to make sure the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the orange blossom water, stir. Cover and chill. Ok, so back to the cake. Either spoon or brush the syrup over the top of the cake. You want the cake to be on a plate with a lip.

Put a small amount of the regular icing in a bag- a small sandwich bag works fine. Snip off the corner with scissors. Pipe a border of frosting around the cake. This just helps keep things in place. Then spoon the marmalade-frosting mix into the center and spread out evenly over the cake.
Lay down berries on top of the cake. Note: Make sure you core the strawberries after you cut them into wedges. It helps the berries lay flat. You can also push the berries into the icing a bit.
Put the next cake layer on top of the berries. Do so gently. It's precarious, I know. Spoon/brush the rest of the syrup over the top of the second layer.
Frost the rest of the cake. Here's how I did it. First, I frosted the top of the cake. Don't be too fussy initially, just get a layer down. Then, frost the sides of the top layer, then the bottom layer. Take your remaining frosting and squish it into the gap all the way around. Then, take a knife or a frosting took and run it around the side to smooth things out.
Lay a bunch of berries on the top of the cake. I could have use a few more berries, but it looked pretty gorgeous anyway. Chill for two hours or more.
These pictures are a bit deceiving, but this cake is massive. The layers are really thick. But it was so delicious and fresh and pretty!


  1. Honesty time -- if I never ate a piece of this cake, I'd be okay with it. There's something about mixing cake and fruit that just turns me off. It's like oil and water. Church and state. Hot sauce and . . . oh wait, hot sauce goes awesome with everything. You get the idea, though.

    1. Then you are missing out on some serious deliciousness! Because the cake is so much like vanilla pound cake, it just tastes like vanilla cake with berries and a hint of orange. I'll make you try it at some point :).


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