The Newbie Cook
- 16,892 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
NOTE: I will not classify this as a disaster since the cake tasted great overall. However, the frosting was not blended properly. It should have been smoother. Will not make this mistake again in the future.
For Mom’s 50th birthday, I couldn’t think of a nice cake to bake. We’re all a bit tired of the standard chocolate. I thought about dimply plum cake, then a plum pie, but decided that I’m not in the mood for pie. The reason why I didn’t ask Mom what she wanted is because she’s far, far away in the Philippines with the rest of the kiddies while Dad and I are in Riyadh. But we still celebrate each other’s birthdays as if we’re geographically together. 🙂
Just before I slept last night, I settled on orange chocolate cake.
When I woke up this morning, Dad laid a big glass of fresh orange juice on my desk. I instantly panicked.
“Oh. My. God. Did you throw the orange rinds away?!”
“No, they’re on a bowl. I haven’t cleaned up yet. Why?”
“I’m making cake!”
I instantly went to work with the small grater, making sure there wasn’t a smidgen of zest left in those rinds. For the nth time, I wished I had a microplane zester/grater because the grater just isn’t very hand-friendly, especially if one needs a lot of zest.
I stayed faithful to Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and did just as she instructed because I didn’t want this cake to fail. (I had no oranges left for a second cake.) But since I had no chocolate chips, I skipped that part. And because I keep on forgetting to buy a bundt pan, I used a rectangular teflon-coated. I also used a different recipe for the ganache.
The smell of the cake while it was baking was heavenly and the kitchen was infused with a warm citrus scent. The result was a light orange, springy, moist cake with a rich flavor. Yum! The ganache was ever so slightly lumpy with teeny-tiny dots of cocoa (my fault… didn’t mix it enough) but it was still very delicious.
Or at least I thought it was delicious. This…
… quickly turned into this.
(Clearly, judging from the lower-right photo, Dad agreed with me.)
We called Mom on Skype, wished her a loud happy birthday and showed her the long-distance birthday cake which we promised to eat in her honor.
ORANGE CHOCOLATE CAKE
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/2 pound (230 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup grated orange zest (from 4 large oranges)
3 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp flour (for chocolate chunks)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups good semisweet chocolate chunks/chips (optional) [I skipped this]
Ganache: (Deb’s SK has a different recipe)
Ingredients for easy chocolate frosting
1 teaspoon coffee
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the orange zest.
Sift together 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chunks with 2 tablespoons flour and add to the batter. Pour into the pan, smooth the top, and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until a cake tester (e.g. toothpick) comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Remove the cake from the pan and set it on a tray. Allow the cake to cool completely.
For the ganache, cook the cocoa powder, butter, and condensed milk in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Don’t stop stirring until the mixture boils to ensure smoothness. Add the instant coffee, stir, and remove from heat. Pour over the top of the cake.