Friday, June 3, 2016

chocolate orange cake with salted cream cheese frosting...

...those words should be enough.

But then there's the cake from Hummingbird Bakery that actually goes along with those words. It's gorgeous to look at. Look at it! AND the flavor combo is ridiculously delicious.

Maybe it's the sliced oranges on top, but it looks like Summer to me.

See more of this cake and additional baked goods of awesomeness by Michelle (she's also the photographer behind her baked creations) at Hummingbird High.

Here's Michelle's recipe. Enjoy and Happy Weekending!  -angelo


For the Chocolate Orange Cake:
(makes three 6-inch layers, or two 8-inch layers)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • zest from 1 large orange (I used a navel orange)
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee 

For the Salted Cream Cheese Frosting:
(makes around 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 cups (1 pound) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • zest from 1 large orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


For the Chocolate Orange Cake:
  1. In a medium glass bowl, combine 2 cups granulated sugar and zest from 1 large orange by using your hands to rub the zest and sugar together. Once the zest is fully incorporated into the sugar, cover with plastic wrap and allow the zest to infuse orange oil into the sugar, preferably overnight (see baker's notes). Once you're ready to use the sugar, uncover the sugar and use a fork to break up the sugar clumps.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans (or two 8-inch round cake pans) by spraying generously with cooking spray and lining the bottom of each pan with parchment paper circles. Spray the top of each parchment circle and set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups orange-infused granulated sugar (from step 1), 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix on low speed until throughly combined.

  4. In a separate medium bowl, combine 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup oil, 2 eggs, and 1 orange liqueur. Whisk together gently until just combined. 

  5. With the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly add the wet ingredients (from the 3rd step) to the dry ingredients (from the 2nd step). Add 1 cup hot coffee. Continue stirring on low speed until just combined, before stopping the mixer and using a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix into the batter. The batter will seem really liquidy, but again, this is normal. 

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of each cake comes out with a few crumbs and the tops of each cake bounce with a sponge-like texture when poked gently with your finger. When the cakes are ready, remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes, before turning out to cool. Remove parchment paper and allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the Salted Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until completely smooth and glossy. 

  2. Add 2 cups cream cheese all at once and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add zest from 1 large orange and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and continue beating until just incorporated. Use immediately.

Some baker's notes:
  • Plan ahead for this one; the recipe calls for you to combine sugar and orange zest a day ahead to make orange-infused sugar. Of course, you can always just combine the sugar and orange together on the day of — using your fingers to rub fresh orange zest into sugar and letting it sit for 10 minutes will allow the oil from the orange zest to soak into the sugar. But allowing this to marinate overnight leads to a stronger aroma and flavor. 

  • The cake batter will seem like it's super liquidy, but don't panic — it's just how it is. Trust the recipe!

  • I love the flavor of both salted chocolate and salted orange, but know that some people find that to be a bit weird. So let me warn you now that the frosting that accompanies this cake is sweet, but also salty. I think it goes well with the sweetness of the chocolate orange cake, but if you're not into that, reduce the salt quantity in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon.

  • I'm not usually a stickler for sifting ingredients, but in this particular recipe, it's key that you sift the confectioner's sugar or you'll end up with a lumpy frosting. This is especially important if both your butter and cream cheese aren't at room temperature — if all of the ingredients aren't at the same temperature, you'll have a harder time getting a smooth frosting. If in a rush, you can even soften both the cream cheese and butter in the microwave at 10-second interval, until completely squishy but not melted. Be sue to check the texture between every interval!

Chocolate Orange Cake with Salted Cream Cheese Frosting
(Cake is adapted from The Vanilla Bean Blog, frosting inspired by Lady and Pups)

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