One of my colleagues celebrated her birthday on 2nd Jan. I think it's hard having a birthday close to Christmas or New Year as you probably get a joint present as a child and less of a celebration as an adult! However, a birthday is a birthday and I decided to surprise her with a delicious birthday cake especially after she was moaning how no one wants to go out or celebrate the day after New Year. I chose a chocolate orange cake as it's her favourite cake and decided to fill it with homemade orange curd and covered it with an orange curd buttercream. The cake was absolutely divine and there were lots of happy faces in the office.
I made my own orange curd based on my lemon curd recipe. I reduced the sugar amount slightly as oranges are sweeter than lemons and it worked beautifully. I also rubbed the zest of the orange into the sugar by hand as I remember reading somewhere that it releases the oil from the zest and you get a more intense orange flavour. The sugar definitely smelt gorgeous. I did the same with the sugar and zest for the cake recipe and the feedback I got was that the cake tasted better! It's the same cake as the chocolate orange cupcakes with a hidden surprise that I made a week ago. Apparently the cupcakes were more zesty and this cake has a more defined orange flavour. I'm going to try this with my other citrusy bakes next time.
I was sent an egg separator called Pluck to review from findmeagift. I decided it was a good time to try it out as I needed 2 egg yolks for the recipe. It's a nifty little gadget that you place over the egg yolk, squeeze the silicone chamber to extract the egg yolk, then squeeze again to release the yolk. I have to admit I wasn't sure if it would work when I first saw it but it does and I'm quite pleased with it. It's easy to wash and the silicone is food safe. A great gift for a kitchen gadget lover like me!
If you want a chance to win one for yourself then just complete the rafflecopter widget below. A winner will be selected at random. The prize is only available to UK residents. Good luck!
I'm not sure if you can see that the sugar has turned orangey in colour after rubbing in the orange zest.
my cakes have odd shaped edges as I didnt have the correct size of pre cut parchment paper and was too lazy to cut the right size! Luckily frosting covers everything :)
I piped buttercream roses and decorated it with some coloured sprinkles and mini terry chocolate orange slices.
115g good quality dark chocolate
90g unsalted butter, room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
75ml fresh orange juice
zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs
185g plain flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
zest of 1 orange
100g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
pinch of salt
Orange Curd Buttercream Frosting
375g icing sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons orange curd
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 170C
- Melt the chocolate over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Set aside to cool.
- Place the sugar in a small bowl and rub the orange zest in with your hands.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and orange zest infused sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth.
- Add the eggs and beat again briefly.
- Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Mix the orange juice and milk in a jug.
- Add the chocolate to the creamed mixture and beat until just combined. The batter will still be streaky.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mix and beat until it all just comes together. Add half of the juice/milk mix and beat again until the mixture just comes together.
- Repeat these steps until all the ingredients have been incorporated.
- Divide the batter into 2 sandwich tins and bake for about 25 mins until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes in the tin for about 10 mins before cooling on a wire rack.
- To make the orange curd, place a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside.
- Place the sugar in a small bowl and rub in the zest of 1 orange with your hands. The sugar will turn orange in colour and smell strongly of oranges.
- In a medium pot, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest infused sugar, egg yolks and pinch of salt.
- Place the pot over a medium-low heat and add the butter.
- Stir the mixture with a whisk. You may want to use a spatula to scrape down the edges.
- Cook the curd until the butter is melted and the mixture is the thickness of warm hot fudge.
- Remove from the heat and immediately pour into the fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl.
- Press through the sieve leaving any cooked egg bits in the strainer.
- Allow to cool completely before storing and using.
- To make the frosting, beat together the butter, juice and half of the icing sugar until smooth.
- Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and orange curd and beat again until smooth and creamy.
- You may need to add a few more drops of juice depending on the consistency of frosting required.
- To assemble the cake, place 1 cake on a cake board. Spread a generous layer of orange curd on top and place the second cake on top.
- Pipe buttercream roses all around the top and sides of the cake.
- Decorate with mini chocolate orange slices and coloured sugar pearls.