Friday, January 22, 2010

my year of cake: that orange one

I'm not going to do anything crazy like promise to make 100 cakes or nuffink. I think we all learnt from the famous 100 crafts in 2009 fiasco that I'm no good at things like that.
('tho I did reach 42 which is supposed to be the answer to the Life, the Universe and Everything so maybe there was something in that ...)

However, one of the things I've learnt from my husband (along with how to make a popping noise with my finger and my mouth, how to put up shelves and how to make jam - he's very diverse), is an appreciation for cake. I was never a big fan, preferring cheesecake or pecan pie or lemon meringue, but my man's shown me what cake can really be, and liberated my thinking around cake requiring a special occasion, as opposed to a random Sunday morning desire to bake.

So this is simply an attempt to share some cake-awesomeness, and a pictorial record (though probably not a very good one) of some of the gluttony we sometimes succumb to in our home.

Kicking off with:

Orange Cake

6 eggs, separated

2 cups sugar
2 cups cake flour
4 tsp baking powder (ja, really)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed from an actual orange)
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp creme of tartar

Beat egg yolks with the sugar until foamy and light.

Stir in oil, OJ and zest.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together then add to eggy mix bit-by-bit beating well.

Beat egg whites and creme of tartar to soft peaks and then fold into rest of mix, mixing it through quite thoroughly but not so that the whites lose their fluffiness.

Pour into greased cake tins and bake in a pre-heated oven at 175 degrees Celsius for approx. 35 mins.
(Anyone who bakes knows that this time depends on your oven, best is to set a timer for 30 minutes and then come back and check on your cake regularly after that.)

There's something about the addition of the orange juice which not only gives the cake a lovely colour, but keeps it sticky and moist. It's very light (as it should be with all that baking powder), but has a weight to it that I sometimes find lacking in a Victoria Sponge, and a lovely creamy subtle citrus flavour.

For icing there's a number of options. Plain buttercream would work, as would a cream cheese icing as one would use for carrot cake. Martha's 7 minute frosting (too lazy to Google it but it's out there) would be yummy with its meringue flavour but as I'm supposed to be avoiding raw egg I haven't tried that yet.
Both times I've made this cake I wanted the whitest icing I could achieve, to offset the yellowy orange of the cake. So I found a recipe for White Frosting and went with that. It sounds weird but bear with me ...

White Frosting ala Me
Slowly, very slowly warm 1/2 cup milk on the stovetop. I add a vanilla pod to the milk for this step.
Remove pod and slowly stir in 2 tbl spoons of flour, stirring until a thick smooth paste forms. Take off the stove and leave to cool.

In a separate bowl cream together 1/2 cup butter (or, ideally, vegetable shortening which has no colour. Unfortunately it's a real bitch to get here so I just use butter) and about a cup of icing sugar. You can really use as much or as little sugar as you like, sweeten to taste if you will.

Add flour and milk paste to the butter mix and then just beat (only, only with an electric beater - to save your arms) until you gradually lose the yellow butter colour. This does happen though it takes a while. I then added most of the seeds from the vanilla pod and grated a whole lot more orange zest into the icing before slapping it onto the cake.

Next time I might make half again the quantity of icing as you can see in both pics I was a little short.

[I must just say that part of my cake love motivation has been two Christmas presents I got this year, the beyootiful white cake stand just begs to be used and my SIL gave me one of those dispenser thingies with 4 different types of sprinkles - such fun.]


MissBuckle said...

I'll definitely try this one out when my oven is back up and running. At the mo it either off, of blasting hot.

ToBlog today said...

Looks divine!

rxBambi said...

sounds wonderful!