Thursday, February 21, 2013

Glazed Orange Cake

Print or download the recipe:

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When asked to bring dessert for dinner at a friend's place, I altered the Cook's Illustrated recipe for basic sponge cake and turned it into a wicked delicious glazed orange cake, which paired perfectly with the oriental flavors of the main course. Ah, I love it when things I invent turn out well. Unlike the chocolate mousse cake I tried to make a week ago which literally fell apart (but it still tasted amazing as a "trifle"), this cake turned out perfectly. It was light and sweet and slightly tangy and simply delightful.

So here's the scoop.

First things first: grease two cake pans and line them with wax paper, and preheat your oven. Next, sift together some flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Then, in a small saucepan (or in the microwave) mix together olive oil (instead of butter, because it just makes it that much more decadent), fresh squeezed orange juice, and orange zest and heat until the butter is melted. Add a little vanilla and set this mixture aside, but keep it warm.

Then separate three eggs, reserving the yokes and putting the whites in a stand mixer bowl. Beat the whites on low until foamy, then start adding half of your sugar gradually and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue beating until the whites form soft peaks. Transfer this to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Add the three reserved egg yokes and two more whole eggs to the stand mixer bowl, along with the rest of the sugar. Beat this on medium-high until the yokes are smooth and thick and pale.

Fold the yoke mixture into the white mixture, gradually fold in the flour mixture, and then the butter/orange juice mixture. Make sure to be very gentle so you don't break down all the poofiness of the eggs, but continue folding until the batter is evenly mixed and the flour is thoroughly incorporated. Just don't overdo it!

Pour the batter into the two greased pans. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The cakes should be golden on top and should spring back when you touch them. Remove them from the oven, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the sides of the pans, and immediately invert them onto a cooling rack.

While the cakes are cooling, put a clean mixing bowl in the freezer for a few minutes. Whisk together a little orange marmalade and fresh orange juice in a prep bowl. Remove the mixing bowl from the freezer and add some chilled heavy cream to it. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form, then fold in marmalade mixture. Spread the whipped cream on the bottom cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top, and move the cake to the refrigerator while you make the glaze.

To make the glaze, add room temperature cream cheese and fresh orange juice to a mixing bowl. Beat on high until smooth, then gradually add a cup of powdered sugar (more or less depending on the consistency). When the glaze is smooth and glossy, pour it on to the center of the cake and let it run over the sides. If you need to, you can use an offset spatula to assist this process, making sure the sides get completely coated in the glaze as well.

Add a slice of orange to the top as a garnish and return the cake to the refrigerator until it's time to serve it.


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