This week I was asked to donate a dessert to be auctioned off at the Bartholomew County Lincoln/Reagan Day Dinner. Each year the local Republican Ladies League auctions off desserts to raise money to be given as college scholarships. This year, three $500 scholarships were awarded to local high school seniors for their essays on the right to vote.
I immediately had a dessert in mind for this occasion. I recently copied my grandmother’s recipe collection, and in it was a recipe for Orange Layer Cake with Orange Curd Filling and Orange Buttercream Frosting. How could I pass up an opportunity to make something that sounds so divine?! I think my grandmother and her mother passed down to me the gene that causes one to save recipes. I would rather read a cookbook in bed than a novel. For this reason, I have no idea where the recipe came from. It was simply a clipping from a magazine stored in an old photo album style book. There are many similar recipes out there, and I made a few tweaks based on those (used whole eggs instead of whites, increased orange juice and decreased water, etc.). I also double the frosting recipe in this version compared to the original because, let’s be honest, the frosting is the best part! You will want the extra frosting.
Since I wanted to bring in a good bid (it’s for the kids!), I embellished the cake with orange French macarons filled with orange buttercream. The lucky winner of the cake donated a generous $130 for the cake and county fair passes! It was a fun project for a great cause, and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to test out this recipe. Now to hear back from the buyer to see what they thought! :)
Meanwhile, here’s the recipe for you to try! Go ahead and go for the bag of navel oranges at the store. You’ll end up using them all between the cake, curd, frosting and macarons. If there are leftovers, you can have a healthy snack in between sneaking bites of this delicious cake.
Orange Layer Cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 Tbsp grated orange peel
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 slightly beaten whole eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
2 slightly beaten egg yolks
2 Tbsp butter
Orange Buttercream Frosting
*Note: Divide the numbers below in half if you want the amount the original recipe used. If you add macarons, you will use some of the extra to fill them.
12 Tbsp butter
1 32-oz pkg (9 cups) sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp grated orange peel
dash of salt
10 Tbsp orange juice
In a large mixer bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add orange peel. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Combine water and orange juice; add to creamed mixture alternating with dry ingredients, beating well after each addition. Mix in eggs. Pour into two greased and floured 8- or 9-inch round layer cake pans. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans. When cool, split layers in half using a sharp, serrated knife. Pipe a border of buttercream on the bottom layer to ensure the filling does not seep through the sides of the finished cake. Spread one third of the Orange Filling inside the buttercream border. Top with the next cake layer and repeat. Put the fourth layer on top, and crumb coat the cake with the Orange Buttercream Frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so the frosting can dry and keep the crumbs intact. Coat sides and top with a final thick layer of buttercream (or thin if you’re worried about hip gold.) I like to use a cake turntable and a pastry scraper to get a smooth finish at the end.
Adorn and decorate cake with orange macarons for that extra special touch.
In saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, orange peel, salt.
Gradually blend in orange juice, water, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat; stir in butter until melted. Cool.
The filling can be made a day in advance. Leftover filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Orange Buttercream Frosting
In mixer bowl, cream butter; add together with sifted confectioner’s sugar, grated orange peel, dash of salt, and orange juice until a spreading consistency is reached. Beat until frosting is smooth and creamy.
Frosting can be frozen for 4 – 6 months. Store in a ziploc freezer bag. When ready to use again, thaw out in the bag and then use scissors to snip the bottom corner to start piping!