Tuesday, May 20, 2014

But Wait! There Was Cake!

You know I took the day off for my birthday.  Whenever I have the opportunity to do so, you can count on it.  Every employer should allow their employees to have their birthday off, without having to use a vacation or sick day.  Your very own personal national holiday.  I had to use vacation hours, but it was worth it.

I spent a good portion of the day in the kitchen baking cookies and crackers for an order that was due the following day.  I decorated my birthday cake and now looking through my photo feed, realize I only took one photo.  The birthday was also the beginning of a mini-heat wave out here and before noon it was already flirting with the 90 degree mark.  Hot weather and buttercream don't mix all that well.  My goal was to decorate the cake before the frosting had a chance to melt.

Happily, I didn't have to worry about cooking on my birthday.  I had a surprise lunch date with my favourite person and went out to dinner with two very special friends.  There was birthday chocolate ice cream and an old fashioned involved.  It was a good day.  And the baked goods were a total hit that Friday.

All this to tell you that I made a mini orange cake with vanilla buttercream.  I had these little square cake molds that I bought a couple of years ago and finally decided to use.  Originally, the cake was going to be a little tower of squares.  Larger 4 inch squares topped with 2 inch squares.  Turns out they reminded me too much of a wedding cake.  Nixed that idea.  So, the cake was a little 2-layer square.  It was a little wonky even after trimming the layers.  There were also 10 cupcakes since the recipe makes enough for 2 8-inch layers.  This was also one of the rare occasions where I didn't wander (too much) from the original recipe.  It was fabulous.  Just the right amount of orange flavour.  It was light.  It was Springy.  Covered in vanilla buttercream, it was just lovely.

Orange Birthday Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
From Bunny's Warm Oven
Makes 2 8-inch layers or 12-14 cupcakes

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (also known as bakers' sugar)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed (mine was a combination of navel, blood orange, and cara cara)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tbsp grated orange zest

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour or line cake pans, or line muffin pan with cupcake liners.  In a small bowl, combine milk, oil, orange juice, and eggs.  Mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, add flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.  Mix until combined.  Make a well in the center and add liquid mixture.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Pour batter into pans or muffin tins (about 2/3 full) and bake for 30-35 minutes (for cakes) or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  For cupcakes, start checking around 20-25 minutes.  Let cool in pan before removing.

Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp half and half

Cream sugar and butter until smooth, add vanilla and mix.  Add half and half until desired consistency is found.

An aerial view to hide the wonkiness

Enjoying cake for decades.

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