Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunny Orange Layer Cake

The dreary fog has descended and the rain has commenced in our busy little city by the bay.  To keep spirits up and bring a little colour into our soggy lives, I decided to bake a much needed orange cake.  I know, it's not included in the "can eat" section of our diet; but, we needed to prevent scurvy somehow.  It's cake for survival, mates!
I got delightful results from converting a recipe I found on
Here is my own vegan version of the recipe by Ris Lacoste:
Sunny Orange Layer Cake

For the filling:
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 large or 4 medium oranges), without pulp
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 Tbs. earth balance

For the cake:
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup earth balance
1/3 cup unhydrogenated vegetable shortening
2 tsp. grated orange zest (from about 1 large orange)
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 1/2 tsp Energ Egg Re-placer + 8 Tbs hot water + 1 Tbs vegetable oil (whisked until powder is incorporated)
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 large or 4 medium oranges), without pulp

For the frosting:
6 oz. (12 Tbs. ) Earth Balance at room temperature
4-1/2 cups (about 18 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
Dash salt
1 tsp. grated orange zest
5 Tbs. fresh orange juice

For the garnish:
1 or 2 small oranges, sliced thinly, slices cut halfway through on one side, laid on paper towels to drain
7 or 8 sprigs fresh mint (pick pairs of leaves)

In a small saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, xanthan gum.  Pour in the orange juice and whisk vigorously to combine.  Place pan over medium-high heat and whisk constantly until boiling.  Once mixture begins to boil, continue to whisk as mixture thickens for about one minute.  Remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe bowl.  Cover and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 round  9" x 1 1/2" cake pans.
I recently learned a useful trick for removing cake from pans.  Trace the pan bottom onto parchment paper and cut out the rounds.  Place them in the bottom of the pan.  You don't need to grease them, and the cake will dump out beautifully when it's finished baking.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl,  (or kitchen mixer) cream the earth balance, shortening, and zest.  Gradually add the sugar.  Cream until light and fluffy.  Add the egg re-placer mixture and mix well.  Alternate between adding orange juice and flour mixture until all is well incorporated.  Don't over mix.  Batter will be very thick.  Pour into prepared pans.  It will seem like it's not enough batter, but remember this is a layer cake.  Pick up the pans and drop them on the counter to remove trapped air bubbles.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.  It doesn't get very golden on top, and that's okay.
Cream all ingredients except orange juice with an electric mixer.  Add the orange juice slowly until desired thickness is achieved.  Careful- too much orange juice will make the frosting separate a little and give it a slightly curdled look- DO NOT WANT!
Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Then flip out onto wire cooling racks.  Allow cakes to cool upside-down on the racks to help flatten them and make them look better when stacked.
If you are impatient: Once cakes are cool, flip one over onto a cake stand or plate.  Spread the filling on top of the cake.  Carefully place second layer on top.  Spread cake with a very thin layer of frosting.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.  Frost the rest of the cake.  Garnish with orange slices and mint leaves.
Alternately: Once cakes are MOSTLY cool, flip one over onto a cake stand or plate.  Spread the filling on top of the cake.  Carefully place second layer on top.  Stick the cake in the fridge.  Go watch an episode of whichever British telly series you're currently in the middle of and enjoy a smallish glass of wine.  When the episode has finished, frost the cake- first smooth over a thin layer to lock in the crumbs, then cover the cake with the rest of the frosting.  Garnish with orange slices and mint leaves.

Tip: If you don't want to waste the orange peels, candy them!  It's easy to do (although slightly time-consuming).

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