My family and I are starting a new chapter in our lives. We’re moving to a house! The first one I’ve ever owned and it comes with fruit trees!
I was a teenager the last time I lived in a house which is like 20 years ago. Words can express how excited I am and all this new space, I don’t no what to do with it. I have a modern kitchen where I can go crazy and bake cakes like there’s no tomorrow, I have a basement – in my dreams, I have a little bakery here, where I can make my customized wedding cakes – and I have a GARDEN. Jeeez! It’s not big but my plan is to grow a lot of edible flowers and herbs for my pastry and of course a variety of vegetables for the family. There are a couple of miniature apple trees as well and since I love to make and eat pie, there won’t be any wasting time or apples come fall. This new adventure will of course be noticeable here on the blog, I’m not really sure how much and in what way but nonetheless, I hope you will join me for the ride.
In the spirit of new life changes I thought I’d share the recipe for the birthday cake I made when my youngest, A, turned 6 months (everyone must have cake, even babies!). It’s an orange and cardamom butter cake (very yummy in its own) and I got the inspiration from Tessa Huff at stylesweetca.com. I chose to frost and fill my cake with a combo of Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Blood Orange Curd. I use my to got to lemon curd recipe, and just replaced lemon juice with blood orange juice. I put some white chocolate in my SMB to make it a little bit more stable and easier to work with. I got three 12 cm/4″ round cakes, three 15 cm/6″ cakes, which I put in the freezer, and four cup cakes from this recipe. You can of course use larger pan sizes in other shapes. The recipe gives approximately 1600 ml of batter. Be sure to fill each pan with equal amount of batter so they bake evenly. I always bake three layers in three pans in one go.
Orange & Cardamom Cake with Blood Orange Curd
and White Chocolate Butter Cream
All ingredients are organic.
375g plain flour
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp freshly ground cardamom
400g sugar (I always use raw sugar)
zest from 1 orange*
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
60 ml fresh orange juice
*Make sure you use only organic oranges when using the zest. We don’t want any left over pesticides in our cakes, do we!
** You can easily substitute buttermilk, if you don’t have any at hand, by mixing 1 tbsp of lemon juice with 230g/1 cup of milk and let it sit for 10–15 minutes in room temperature, until the milk starts to curdle and thicken. Use as you would buttermilk in your recipe.
1. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and orange zest and mix. Then, add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl
3. Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the milk, orange juice and buttermilk in between. Mix for no longer than one minute to smooth out batter.
4. Pour batter in prepared pans and bake in 175 C/350 F for 20–22 minutes, or until cake is firm and a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
BLOOD ORANGE CURD
150g raw sugar
150g fresh egg yolk
100g fresh blood orange juice
50g fresh lemon juice
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp orange zest
1. Pour orange and lemon juice in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl together with sugar and a pinch of salt.
3. Carefully pour some of the hot orange juice into the eggs and sugar mix. The juice will start to cook the eggs so keep on whisking to prevent them from turning into scrambled eggs – I love it but no, we don’t want that here. This method is called tempering, when you gradually warm up the eggs with hot fluid.
4. When all the the juice is mixed with the eggs and sugar, pour it back into the pot. On low heat, while whisking gently, cook the curd just until the first bubbles appears on the surface and it has thickened.
5. Strain the curd through a sieve and add the salt and orange zest. Let the curd cool completely before placing it in the fridge. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to avoid a skin forming.
SWISS MERINGUE BUTTER CREAM
150g fresh egg whites
200g raw sugar
320g butter, at room temperature
a pinch of salt
0,5–1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
60g white chocolate, melted and cool
1. Wipe a heat proof bowl with some lemon juice. Put egg whites and sugar in the bowl and place the bowl on a pot with simmering water. While whisking gently, heat the eggs and sugar until it reaches 68 C/154 F. This method will pasteurize the egg whites which is necessary when you make a meringue that is not baked or cooked.
2. Remove bowl from the pot. In an electric mixer or with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites into a quite stiff and glossy meringue.
3. When the meringue (and the bowl) has cooled down and you can touch it, add the butter in chunks while whisking on low speed – it’s important that you whisk on low. When the meringue butter cream starts to curdle and break a little bit, don’t worry, this will happen before it comes together. Keep on whipping on low until you have a nice, smooth and glossy butter cream.
4. Add salt and vanilla extract if you like. Finish the butter cream by folding in the melted and cooled white chocolate.
5. Let the butter cream cool in the fridge for a couple of minutes before frosting the cake. But be sure to keep an eye on it, it will harden, like butter, if it sits too long.
6. Flavoring and natural coloring: You can flavor and color the butter cream with some of the orange curd. I did this for the outer frosting. Fold a little bit of the curd into the frosting at a time until you get the flavor you want. Be sure not to mix in too mud curd so it will affect the texture of the butter cream. I also added a little bit (very little!) grounded turmeric, dissolved in water, to enhance the yellow color.
Assemble the cake: Trim each cake layer from any bump or unevenness. Place butter cream in a pastry bag fitted with a plain, round piping tip. Pipe a ring of butter cream on the cake layer and fill it with blood orange curd. You can smear some extra butter cream under the curd if you’d like. Place the middle cake layer, the flat bottom facing up and repeat the filling step. When the cake is filled, frost it with a thin crumb coating, sealing in all of the crumbs, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Frost the cake with a smooth or rustic finish, whatever you prefer. Chill the cake but serve it a room temperature. The cake can be kept in the fridge for at least 3–5 days. Read more about what to think about when storing and wrapping cakes on thekitchn.com.