Tender orange butter cake with cardamom buttercream.
My birthday was Monday. I think I am at the point where you can no longer politely sing “How old are you now?”
So this was my birthday cake.
I made it myself.
Although that sounds a tad bit sad, I really didn’t feel that way. I made it on purpose. Because I knew it needed to be shared. I recently become aware of the intense awesomeness of orange and cardamom together. I had never bought cardamom in the past, because it is really rather pricey. If you’ve never heard of it, it is the seed of a plant in the ginger family. It has floral overtones, and a hint of lemon. But mostly it is altogether yummy.
I originally made this flavor combo in an attempt at a whoopie pie, which was a total fail. I recovered them enough using some round cookie cutters and renaming them orange cake sandwiches 😉
But once I tasted those, this cake immediately popped into my mind, orange layer cake with cardamom frosting. My favorite butter cake is super tender, since I make it using a two step method. Instead of the traditional creaming of butter and sugar, the fat is blended into the flour first. The fat coating the flour prevents gluten from forming when the liquid is added. What you gain is the most moist, tender, melt in your mouth buttery cake that you could ever imagine.
Due to the lack of gluten, this method sacrifices a bit of height and structure. I wouldn’t use this type of cake for an elaborate fondant creation, but for a simple layer cake it holds up well. Use extra caution when removing from the pan, as its tenderness makes it easier to break than a traditional cake
Besides this awesome cake, my birthday brought me great luck! I was driving to soccer practice flipping channels when I landed on one that had a birthday giveaway. I pulled over to call in, much to the amusement of my daughter, and tried my luck. I figured how many people that are listening share that birthday? How exciting when they said I won $100. Not bad for 5 minutes of time! Although I panicked a bit when they asked what station is the best and I had no idea what station I had landed on. Good thing the car was still running and I could easily read the station – phew – yay for the quick recovery!
In case you are wondering… the best station is clearly 99.9 on Cape Cod!
- 3 Cups (12 Ounces) Cake Flour
- 2 Cups (14 Ounces) Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Sticks (8 Ounces) Unsalted Butter, Very Soft
- 4 Large Eggs
- ½ Cup Milk
- ½ Cup Orange Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Orange Extract
- 2 Sticks (8 Ounces) Unsalted Butter, Softened
- 8 Cups Confectioners Sugar
- 6-8 Tablespoons Milk
- 1 Teaspoon Cardamom
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 six inch cake pans, I also like to line the bottoms with parchment for extra easy removal of the cake.
- In a small bowl beat together the eggs, milk, orange juice, and orange extract. In a stand mixer bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Stir until everything is combined. Add the very soft butter, cut into pieces and beat until sandy. Add ¼ of the milk mixture, then beat until thick and creamy, it will look kind of like a thick brownie batter at this point. Scrape down the bowl and beat again for another few seconds. Add the remaining egg/milk mixture in three parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating for one minute in between.
- Pour ⅓ of the batter into each prepared pan. I use a scale to make sure all the layers are roughly the same. Smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Place into the oven and bake 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. I like to place my cake pans on a cookie sheet during baking to ensure the bottoms do not brown to quickly.
- Remove the pans from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans onto a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely.
- Beat the butter until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and 6 Tablespoons milk. Beat until whipped and creamy. Add additional milk as needed to create desired consistency. I usually beat mine 3-5 minutes for the best creamy texture.
- Place one layer of the cake on a cake stand or cake cardboard. Add about ¾ Cup of frosting to the center of the cake and spread to the sides. Top with the second layer and repeat with more frosting. Top with the last layer.
- Use an offset spatula and apply a crumb coat to the cake. A crumb coat is just a very thin layer of frosting that "seals" the crumbs in. The crumb coat is extra important with this super tender cake. After the crumb coat, place the cake in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Remove and continue to frost the cake. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.