Usually, I’m all about the sheet cake. But for birthdays or special occasions, layer cakes aren’t that much more work and the ‘wow’ factor is certainly higher! We had friends visiting and their daughter was turning seven. It was predicted to be a hot day, so I wanted a cake that was light. I had made the Orange Cream Layer Cake once before and was dying to make it again. The rich buttermilk cake, scented with orange and filled and frosted with a deliciously light cream cheese and whipped cream mixture, was like a dream. Heavenly for a 7-year-old, and sophisticated enough for all the adults as well. First, get ready by greasing and flouring your pans. I use a light coating of butter, but oil or spray works, too. Then just add about ¼ cup flour to your pan and tap around until the bottom and sides are all coated. Give it a good hard tap over the second pan or sink when it’s coated, to get rid of any excess.
The pans should have a light coating of flour. Just set them aside for now.
Next, grate your orange peel. You’ll need 2 tablespoons plus a teaspoon for the whole recipe, plus extra for decorating, if you like. I have a Microplane mini-grater that is perfect for this task – it makes it easy to get only the flavorful outside layer of the zest and is amazingly fast. Just watch your fingers!
Now, make the cake batter. Nothing complicated here. Start by mixing up the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. You’ll need this later.
Next, combine the sugar with the butter and 1 tablespoon of the orange zest.
When this is creamy, add the eggs, one at a time.
When the eggs are mixed in well, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk until the batter is creamy once again. Take care not to over mix the cake – beat just until it’s all combined.
Spread the batter evenly into your two prepared pans and they’re ready to pop in the oven.
While the cake layers are baking, prepare the filling. This mixture is indescribably delicious. Easy to make, too. Just combine the five ingredients all at once in your mixer.
Beat this mixture until it’s fluffy and you’re done! Separate out ½ cup to use with your frosting, and put both portions of the filling into your fridge for now. (Be sure to leave a little taste for yourself. You will start to get a feeling for how absolutely fabulous this cake is going to be!)
When your cake layers are done, let them cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack. Then, run a butter knife gently along the outside edges.
Invert the layers by placing the rack on top ...
… and simply flipping the rack and pan upside down so that the cake can fall out onto the rack. I like to pat the top of the pan before I pull it off to help ensure it is all loosened from the pan.
Voila! Ready to cool completely. Takes about 20 more minutes. This is a good time to do the dishes.
About 10 minutes before you put the layers together, take your filling out of the fridge. Since your cake is cooling upside down, simply slide the first layer off the rack and onto the serving plate, bottom-side-up.
Stir the filling to get it nice and creamy and then pile it onto the bottom layer, spreading not quite to the edges.
The second layer needs to be flipped and placed on top, so slide it off the rack and hold it between two hands with fingers stretched out.
Then, flip it and slide it off your bottom hand so it is centered on top of the filling.
I made the cake up to this point the day before, wrapped the unfrosted cake in plastic and put it into the fridge. You can also frost it right away, of course!
When you’re ready to frost the cake, take the reserved ½ cup filling out of the fridge and scrape it into your mixer bowl. Add the other frosting ingredients – cream, powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon orange peel – and beat at high speed. Stop and scrape a few times as it starts to thicken.
When the frosting is very stiff, you’re ready to finish the cake!
Begin by placing strips of waxed paper around and under the cake on your serving plate. This makes frosting easy as you don’t have to worry about making a mess on the way to your beautiful presentation!
Start frosting the sides, getting a nice thick layer all around. I love whipped cream frostings; they’re so easy to work with.
Then frost the top. Start by piling the rest of the frosting on top of the cake, and spreading from the middle outward. At this point, you can smooth it out as much as you like.
Then, remove the waxed paper and all your messy edges will disappear.
A little orange zest or some candles are all you need at this point. I got a little creative with my cake, which seemed appropriate for a 7-year-old’s birthday. I wanted to spell her name out and I happened to have some blueberries, so I first tried it on the table to see if it would fit. Hmmmmm …
I figured I would have to go around the cake a bit to make it work. I added a number 7 and some orange zest to balance it all out.
Aside from the trouble we had lighting it outside (I had a lot of little helpers!) …
… the cake was a sparkling success.
And a big hit with the birthday girl!
If you’re tired of chocolate or just feeling like something light and refreshing for dessert, try this Orange Cream Layer Cake. It’s absolutely divine! I’d love to hear your comments, so let me know what you think about this recipe or my blog anytime.
Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.