Fans of Jan Karon’s Mitford series will appreciate this recipe. (And yes, I am a huge fan of the series. Loved those books and read them voraciously. Didn’t want to even open the first one, but that’s another topic for another day.) After reading about Esther’s famous Orange-Marmalade cake for so long, my mom got a hankering for it and asked me to make it for her birthday. I did and we all enjoyed it.
3 C cake flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
2 C granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten lightly
1 T grated orange zest
1.5 t vanilla
1 C buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Orange Syrup:
1 C freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 C granulated sugar
For the Filling:
1-12oz jar orange marmalade
For the Frosting:
3/4 C well-chilled heavy cream
3 T sugar
3/4 C well-chilled sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 325. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment or wax paper, and butter and flour the paper, shaking out the excess.
2. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In another bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 of the buttermilk until combined well. Add half the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk and beat until combined well. Finally, beat in the remaining dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.
4. Evenly divide batter between pans; smooth the surface, rap each pan on the counter to expel any air pockets or bubbles, then transfer to oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes back clean. Transfer to racks and cool in pans for 20 minutes.
To Make the Orange Syrup:
5. Meanwhile, make the orange syrup: in a bowl, stir together the orange juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
6. With a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes at 1/2-inch intervals in the cake layers. Spoon the syrup over each layer, allowing the syrup to absorb completely before adding the remainder. Let layers cool completely.
To Make the Filling:
7. In a small saucepan set over moderate heat, heat the marmalade until just melted. Let cool 5 minutes.
To Make the Frosting:
8. In a bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the sugar until it forms firm peaks. Add the sour cream, a little at a time, and whisk until the mixture is of spreading consistency.
To Assemble the Cake:
9. Arrange one of the layers on a cake plate and carefully peel off the wax paper. Spread 2/3 of the marmalade over the top, smoothing it into an even layer. Invert the remaining layer onto the top of the first layer, peel off the wax paper and spoon remaining marmalade onto the center of it, leaving a 1.25 inch border around the edge. Frost the sides and the top border with frosting, leaving the marmalade on top of the cake exposed. Or, if you prefer, frost the entire cake, adding the marmalade as a garnish on top. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
**See photos View from the Prairie Box or on my Flickr site.
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