February 27, 2013

Mom's Beloved Orange Birthday Cake

Last weekend was my Mom's 70th Birthday!  She always wants me to make her the same birthday cake.. the cake her Mom made for her every year as a child - Orange Cake!  I love doing it because it's a nice break from the chocolate, vanilla, yellow cakes.  This cake is very yummy, with a light taste and texture.  My Grammy always made it with applesauce filling and 7-minute frosting, so of course I make it the same way for Mom.  This is the only cake I've ever made 7-minute frosting for.  It's sort of a finicky frosting that takes some effort to make (for me anyway), but it always turns out good in the end, and it's worth all the work when my Mom bites into her piece of cake and says "You've done it! ..you've taken me back to my childhood." :) 

The cake recipe itself is actually out of my Cake Doctor book, because my Mom has been unable to locate Grammy's original recipe.  It makes enough for two 9-inch pans but I did a 10" round cake so I tripled below.  
Orange Cake
1 Yellow cake mix
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs (the book calls for 4 but I wanted to follow the amount on cake box)
 **I also add the zest of 1 orange to this batter - for additional orange flavor and texture**
 Regular applesauce, drained well in sieve or strainer
The 7-minute frosting recipe is one that I've used for the past couple years.  It's actually a Paula Deen recipe, but Mom loves it and claims it tastes just like Grammy's did, so I stick with it.  I also tripled this because I wasn't sure if it would make enough, although it actually made a lot more than I ended up needing for my 10" cake (note to self).

7-Minute Frosting
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
Place sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water, and egg whites in heat proof bowl and beat for 1 minute.  Place bowl over boiling water (homemade double boiler since I don't have an actual double boiler), being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy). Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes.  
**I always have to beat longer than 7 minutes.. it was more like 14!  Even then the frosting was still too soft to frost a cake with, so I placed the frosting in my Kitchen Aid and whipped it with the whisk attachment on high for another 5-10 minutes.. until it finally started to stiffen up.  I'm sure I just need more practice with this frosting, as I don't make it that often (think this was only my second time).  Once you're done beating/whipping, and the frosting is the consistency you want, gently stir/fold in your vanilla extract.  

Here are some pics of my Mom's cake.. I decided to add some orange peel embellishments as well.  I made shamrocks using a mini heart cutter and rolled up pieces of mint!  The base of the cake is decorated with grated orange zest and more sprigs of mint.


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