Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Love Lucy

Last week, I was doing my normal office routine, when I'm handed a recipe card. "We think you should make this next." Thank you Robin and Lucy. You know I do love to bake things for the office. (I try to send something in once a week.) But this was no ordinary recipe card. It's a Williams-Sonoma recipe card. Oh how I love Williams-Sonoma. *sigh*

My dear friend, Lucy, is celebrating a birthday today and since she fancied this recipe I decided this was the ticket.
I Love Lucy!!
Isn't she beautiful?
When I first met Lucy, I thought she was the nicest lady I had ever met. She's sassy, she's funny, she's sweet and I want to be like her when I grow up. Seriously. She can make you laugh when you're having a crappy day. She is sincere. She is honest. She is a fantastic mother and grandmother. Oh, I could go on and on here.

Well, I took her a piece of this cake

as she sat in her office, happily chatting away with a client on the phone, at least I suppose that's who she was talking to. As soon as she hung up the phone, I began my rendition of the Happy Birthday song and she did a quick taste test. She gave me a sort of Exorcist head spin and said "Yo....Mama!!" I think she liked the cake.

I must admit, my cake was ugly. In fact, the frosting didn't set up well at all, generally, cream cheese frosting tends to be soft anyway and not very spreadable. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. And I don't exactly have a ready supply of kumquats to garnish with, and frankly other than Martha Stewart, I'm not sure of anyone who does. I improvised with fresh orange zest and a couple of orange slices. Eh, not so bad. I'm finding out that ugly cakes tend to taste the best. So, cheers for the ugly cake!! Mine was a smidge different than the Williams-Sonoma recipe, but tasty nonetheless.

I hope this year is full of happiness for you!

Williams-Sonoma Recipe for
Orange Chiffon Layer Cake

All ingredients should be at room temperature.

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tb. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried blood-orange zest, *finely ground
1/2 cup canola oil
6 whole eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

For the Cream Cheese frosting:
1 lb. cream cheese
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp orange blossom extract

1 jar orange marmalade
Thinly sliced kumquats for garnish (optional)

To make the cake, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans and line each with a parchment paper round.

Over a sheet of parchment paper, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, slat and blood-orange zest. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, egg yolks, orange juice and water until well blended. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until the batter is smooth.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whites into the batter until almost blended, then gently fold in the remaining whites until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading evenly.

Bake the cakes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edges of the pans and carefully invert the cakes onto the rack. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until smooth and no lumps of sugar are visible. Add the orange blossom extract and beat until combined.

To assemble the cake, using a serrated knife, cut both cakes in half horizontally. Place one cake layer, cut side up, on a cake plate and spread with half of the marmalade. Top with a second cake layer, cut side down, and spread with 1/4 inch layer of cream cheese frosting. Top with a third cake layer, cut side down, and spread with the remaining orange marmalade. Top with the remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with sliced kumquats. Serves 12.

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