Orange Layer Cake

INGREDIENTS


For the Orange Curd: 


1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup fresh orange juice

9 large egg yolks

3 Tablespoons orange zest

2 teaspoons lemon zest

3/4 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes



For the Cake:


2 3/4 cup cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup fresh orange juice, pulp-free


For the Frosting: 


12 Tablespoons salted butter, room temperature

1 pound confectioners sugar 

2 teaspoons orange zest

4 Tablespoons fresh orange juice


For the Garnish:


1-2 small oranges, sliced thinly (cut the slices halfway through on one side and lay on paper towel to drain)

8 sprigs fresh mint


DIRECTIONS


Orange Curd: Note: Make the orange curd several  hours ahead. If you have time, it's best to make it the day before the cake so it can refrigerate overnight. If you can't make the day before, no worries. Just be sure to refrigerate for 3 hours before layering the cake.


  1. Put the lemon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
  2. Next, whisk together the sugar, orange juice, egg yolks, orange zest and lemon zest in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium heat and add the butter and whisk until the mixture thickens and bubbles start to appear at the edge of the pan, about 9 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture. Stir/whisk the mixture until the gelatin dissolves. Transfer to a bowl. Cover the curd with plastic wrap so that the plastic is directly on the surface of the curd so that no air touches (prevents a skin from forming) and refrigerate overnight.

Cake: 

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9 inch cake pans and line the bottom of each with round parchment paper. Lightly flour the sides and bottom of each pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. In a mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, and zest. Gradually add the sugar, creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions and scraping down the sides.
  4. Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, beating well on low speed after each addition. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the two prepared cake pans. 
  5. Bake 25-28 min, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10 minutes. Loosen the layers by running a knife between the cake and the edge of the pan and place them on a cooling rack. 

Frosting: 


  1. Cream the butter in the mixer. 
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and combine thoroughly. 
  3. Add the orange zest and mix to combine. Then add orange juice and mix until well blended, scraping down the sides as needed. Refrigerate if not using right away.


Assemble the Cake: 


When all the components are cool, put one cake layer on a cake stand Spread the orange curd over the cake to make a 1/4-inch layer. Put the second layer on top of the first and refrigerate the cake until the filling has chilled again and firmed up, about 15 min. 


Note: I made my cake a 4-layer cake because it's dramatic and beautiful. You can do this by slicing each of your two cake rounds into two layers each.  Layer the cake as above with a curd layer after each cake layer (except the fourth cake - that will be frosted!). 


Frost the Cake


Loosen the frosting by beating with a spatula. Spread just a very thin layer of frosting over the whole cake (this is called a “crumb coat” because it secures loose crumbs).  Refrigerate the cake to let the frosting firm up, about 5-10 min. Put on the final coat of frosting, taking care to work gently, as the top layer of the cake tends to slide around a bit because of the orange curd. If it slides, just push it back. 


Garnish the Cake: 


Twist the orange slices into “S” shapes and put seven or eight around the top of the cake. Tuck a pair of mint leaves into each orange twist.


This is such a light, delicious and refreshing cake! Perfect for Easter! Perfect for spring birthdays. Especially when citrus is in season and you need a pick-me-up from the ho-hum of late winter! Enjoy. 

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