Saturday, April 27, 2013


Another birthday.  Another opportunity for me to fuck up in the baking department.

As much as I know I am my father's son, when it comes to baking, I am my mother's son.

My mom is a good enough cook, but I'm telling no lies out of school when I say she can't bake to save her life. She knows this too, so if she ever stumbled upon this blog I don't think she'd be offended by that comment.

But almost every year, I attempt  - and that is an understatement - to bake 710 a cake for his birthday.

Unlike cooking, baking is more of an exact science.  To follow a recipe and not be distracted is kind of key.  When it comes to baking, I don't have that commitment to detail.

Yet here it is, another year and another opportunity / challenge.  I went with an orange cake, infused with an orange / lemon syrup.  And for good measure, I also made an orange glaze.

First the ingredients / instructions.  This is important, as the recipe I went off of had the instructions in pictures, then the ingredients and then the step-by-step instructions in print.  It was bad in ways to follow if you're a novice baker - - like me.  It was a "recipe" for disaster.

1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
3 eggs separated
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
zest of 1 orange 
For the orange sauce:
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges) 
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a electric mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until the peak forms. Transfer the fluffy whites into a bowl and set side.
  4. In a same bowl with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg yolks, sour cream and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy on medium speed.
  5. Add the flour to the mixture and mix until combined on low speed. Fold in the reserved egg whites to the mixture until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake rest in the pan for 15 minutes.
  7. Turn out the cake to a serving platter and poke holes with a wooden skewer. Spoon the orange sauce over the cake when you serve.
  8. To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to to gentle boil over medium heat. cook the sauce for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Pour the sauce over the cake.

It's a messy endeavor. There's a lot of mess.  I find that of most baking. Too many steps and too little pay off.

I did take pictures, of course.   The title image has all the ingredients, well except I forgot to pull out the confectioner's sugar for the pic. Oops.  It doesn't look like a lot is involved, but it is.

Egg Whites to mix for stiff peaks.  But look at my cool Oxo egg separator.  Honestly, it looks cool.  Separating by hand is still easier. 

Sifted flower, baking power and soda.  check!   And one zested orange. 

I didn't take pics of me mixing the butter, sugar, eggs, egg whites, sour cream and flour.  But here's a key tip, don't take a call in the middle of it all and forget to switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment.  Maybe it's not important, but perhaps, maybe it is. 

While the cake baked, I made the syrup to infuse into the bundt. This was the easiest part of the process, though it took more than two oranges to get the 3/4 cup needed.  Just an FYI. 

No way around this - it's sticky and messy.  

I also didm't take pics of me making the 'glaze'.  It wasn't part of the recipe, just more sugar and orange.  2 cups of confectioner's sugar and 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.  Don't put it one if the cake is too just absorbs 

I'll be honest, the cake ended up looking good and tasting good.  That whisk / paddle debacle didn't really seem to matter.  The cake was good.  The citrus flavour was good but not overwhelming.

It is a little labour intensive, but it's a pretty good cake.

Song by: Aztec Two-Step


David Jeffreys said...

Looks absolutely delicious, and I believe you when you say it tasted good as well.

Baking is an ordeal. The sure way to tell I have been baking, is the amount of flour all over me!

We have discovered that my adult son, who lives with me, has celiac disease. So now everything has to be gluten free. And that becomes a real problem when baking. My son loves pizza and would make homemade pizza every Friday night. Last week was a total disaster, as we used Bisquick gluten-free flour. It tasted like pizza on a pancake. Awful, we threw most of it away.
Tonight was somewhat more successful using Bob's Red Mill Pizza mix which even includes the yeast. It was not the best pizza I have ever eaten, but at least it did taste like pizza and the crust was passable. We'll try to tweak it further in the coming weeks.

anne marie in philly said...

I LOVE to bake! BUT there would be some mods to the recipe, e.g., I do not have a kitchenaid mixer, no eggs would be separated, nothing would be sifted.

I tend to take the bullshit out of recipes (most of them are full of it). and I wonder what would happen if I poured the orange sauce over the cake whilst it is still in the pan, thus preventing a sticky mess.

martha stewart I ain't! (thank bob) but your end result looks dee-lish!

happy birthday to 710! :)

Ur-spo said...

I admire you baking.