Thursday, August 28, 2014

Orange Sponge Cake with Orange Custard Filling

Having guests over is always my excuse for baking. It offers the opportunity to test extravagant recipes that I couldn't normally justify using 12 perfectly good eggs-for-breakfast on. This cake was magical. Chocolate desserts, crisps, or cream-based desserts seem to be the standard issue, after-dinner go-to these days. This velvety, dense, orange sponge cake, with a rich orange custard took everyone by surprise. I'm not one for recipes, but when it comes to baking.... So the following I have written out from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." It seems like a lot of work, and it is, but it's so freaking worth it! This is in my top 3 favourite desserts I've ever made. In case you're wondering though, this is my #1 - with photo here. But back to the orange cake:


- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- Grated rind of 1 orange
- 1/3 cup strained orange juice
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup cake flour (scooped and  leveled, turned into a sifter)
- 4 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9" round cake pan and measure out all ingredients.

Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating until the mixture thickens to form a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. Add the grated orange peel, orange juice and salt. Beat for a minute or two until the mixture is light and foamy. Then beat in the flour.

Beat the egg whites and salt together in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the batter; delicately fold in the rest. Immediately turn into prepared cake pan and run the batter up to the rim all around. Bake in middle position of preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed and browned, and shows a faint line of shrinkage from the edge of the pan. Let cool for 6-8 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and reverse cake on a rack. If not to be iced, immediately reverse again, puffed side up. Allow to cool for an hour or two. When cake is cold, you can sprinkle it with powdered sugar, or fill and ice the cake with Orange Custard Filling. Serves 8 people.

Orange Custard Filling: 


- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter 
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar 
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks 
- Grated rind of one orange 
- 1/4 cup strained orange juice 
- 1 Tbs orange liquor (ie: Grand Marnier) 


Place the butter, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, orange rind, orange juice and orange liqueur in a saucepan and beat with a wire whisk over low heat (or not-quite simmering water) until mixture thickens like honey. When it is cooking properly, the bubbles that first appear on its surface as it is heated will begin to subside, and if you look closely you will see a little whiff of steam rise; it will not be too hot for your finger. You must heat it enough to thicken, but overheating will scramble the egg yolks. Set saucepan in a pan of cold water and beat for 3-4 minutes until filling is cool. (It may be be refrigerated for 10 days or frozen).

To fill the cake, cut a tiny vertical wedge up the edge; this will guide you in re-forming it later. Slice the cake in half horizontally. Using a spatula, spread enough orange-butter filling on the lower layer of the cake to make a 1/8" coating. Then replace the top layer, carefully lining up the wedge. *I put a little more custard on top and then crumbled Italian cookies over the cake... those "S" shape ones that every Italian knows what I'm referring to...

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