Orange Layer Cake

Orange Layer Cake

This recipe has been adapted from Fine Cooking.

If you like orange or citrus desserts, you will love this cake.  Fresh orange juice and zest is the key to a fresh and flavorful orange taste.  Do not cheat and use orange juice from concentrate.  Don’t forget to zest the oranges before you juice them and after filling the cake, refrigerate, it will be easier to frost.  If you make the frosting ahead of time, it will stiffen up, so you will need to whip it up again in the mixing bowl, to fluff it up. 

Serves: 8-10



For the filling:

2/3 cup sugar

3 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 4 large oranges)

2 teaspoons of orange zest

2 large egg yolks

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

For the cake:

2-1/4 cups (101/8 oz.) all-purpose flour

2-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

2 tsp. grated orange zest (from about 1 large orange)

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 4 large oranges)

For the frosting:

6 oz. (12 Tbs. ) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4-1/2 cups (about 18 oz.) icing sugar

Dash salt

1 tsp. grated orange zest

6 Tbs. fresh orange juice

I added a little orange water(about 1 teaspoon) for extra orange flavor

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)



Make the filling: Combine the sugar and the flour in a heavy-based saucepan. Whisk just to mix. Add the orange juice and egg yolks and whisk vigorously again to combine. Put the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils (3 to 4 min.). Cook another 1 min., stirring constantly (the mixture will thicken noticeably and become less cloudy). Be sure it boils for 1 min. so that the filling will thicken enough to support the cake. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (lay the wrap directly on the filling’s surface), and refrigerate. Chill thoroughly before using.

Orange Filling

Orange Filling

Make the cake: Heat the oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Grease two 9 inch cake pans and line the bottom of each with a round of kitchen parchment. Lightly flour the sides and bottom of each pan.

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.

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. Tap the pans on the counter before putting them in the oven to remove any air bubbles and to even the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25-28 min. Cool the cake layers in the pans for 10 min. and then loosen the layers by running a knife between the cake and the edge of the pan. Remove the layers from the pans and put them on a rack to continue cooling.

Cake Batter in Greased and Lined Pans

Cake Batter in Greased and Lined Pans

Baked Cake Layers

Baked Cake Layers

Make the frosting: Cream the butter in the mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and combine thoroughly. Add the orange zest and mix to combine. Add the orange juice and mix on high speed until well blended, scraping down the sides. It will be light and creamy. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Orange Frosting

Orange Frosting

Assemble the cake: When all the components are cool, put one cake layer on a cake stand or a cardboard cake round. Spread the orange filling over the cake to make a 1/4-inch layer. You’ll have about 1/3 cup extra filling; serve it alongside the cake, if you like. Put the second layer on top of the first and refrigerate the cake until the filling has chilled again and firmed up, about 45 min.

Spreading Orange Filling on Bottom Layer of Cake

Spreading Orange Filling on Bottom Layer of Cake

Cake with Filling in Between the Layers

Cake with Filling in Between the Layers

Frost the Cake: Loosen the frosting by beating with a spatula (if it’s very stiff, beat it with an electric mixer). Using an icing spatula, spread just a very thin layer of frosting over the whole cake (this is called a “crumb coat” because it secures loose crumbs) and refrigerate the cake to let the frosting firm up, about 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 ever so slightly because of the filling. If it slides, just push it back. Create a pattern on the frosting using the icing spatula (heat it up under warm water and dry it). Transfer the cake (on its cardboard or by lifting it with spatulas) to a cake plate or pedestal.

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.


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