Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Food: Best Orange Cake on the Planet


Thursday’s glorious fog and cold rain made me do it.

It was my “day off” (aka no computer screen time, but I admit there was more than enough phone and TV screen time). Penelope was on Fall break and we needed something to do.

So we made a cake. Correction. I made a cake while I ordered Penelope to watch.


I guess my desire for making a pretty cake overcame the desire to make it fun for Penelope. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I do that all the time. I crowd her out so she ends up watching or getting bored and going to her studio to craft.

Hanging out with the kids Thursday opened my eyes to two (okay more than that, but I’ll only mention two here) shortcomings of mine as a mom. I take over our creative projects and I rarely get the kids out of the house. My mom took us to galleries, museums, symphonies at least once a week growing up.

Time for some resolutions.


Back to the cake. I used what I had on hand, which worked perfectly for Lizzie’s Orange White Chocolate Cupcake recipe.

I have no idea what happened to my regular cupcake tins so a tiered cake was in order.

I also didn’t have a white box cake, oranges or white chocolate. I substituted butter pecan box cake, clementines and dark chocolate for the missing ingredients. And it was a major win.


I also filled the middle tier of the cake with blackberry preserves. I could’ve done the ganache in the middle, but I love how the dark chocolate lattice work could be mistaken for a spider’s web.


This quite possibly beats out the delicious cake served at our wedding. And that was an amazing cake.

Chris and his brother kept sneaking bites throughout the evening and next morning. Between the 5 of us, we devoured the cake in a matter of hours.  I felt triumphant.


Orange Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Your Cup of Cake (the book) by Lizzie Early


  • 1 box butter pecan cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • zest of 3 oranges


  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream

Orange Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar

Line two 8″ cake pans with butter and cut out and place discs of parchment on the inside of each pan for easy cake removal. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Mix egg whites, oil, orange juice buttermilk and orange zests in a large bowl. Add sifted cake mix and stir until smooth.

Bake cake pans for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (it was 15 minutes for mine). Remove cake from pans onto a cookie sheet. Allow to cool completely.

For Buttercream: beat butter until smooth. Add zest and juice. Add powdered sugar a little at a time while beating until you get to the right thickness. I used 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 3 cups of powdered sugar.

For Ganache: mix chocolate and cream in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan on medium/low. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely melted.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake Recipe


Monday night I made the most delicious cupcakes ever. They were so delicious, some folks in the tweetiverse even asked for the recipe. I was very flattered to see the response. So here it is.

How to Make Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes:

  • Make the fluffy white cake from epicurious. (this makes over 3 1/2 doz cupcakes, so you may want to half the recipe). I’m sure any white cake recipe would do, but I really like this one.
  • Fill cupcake cups with a heaping spoonful of batter and bake at 350º for 15-17 minutes.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool. Put the cupcakes in an airtight container and allow to rest for a few hours or overnight. If you don’t cover the cupcakes, they’ll dry out!
  • Make the lemon curd recipe from epicurious. You’ll want to half the recipe if you don’t want loads of leftovers & even if you’re making the full 3 1/2 dozen cupcakes. You could always just buy the curd if you wanted to.
  • Poke a hole in the middle of each cupcake using the back of a fork or knife.
  • Fill pastry bag with lemon curd & fill each hole with curd.
  • Make strawberry lemon icing (recipe below).
  • Fill pastry bag or plastic bag with frosting and frost each cupcake.
  • Garnish cupcakes with sliced strawberries just before serving.

Strawberry Lemon Icing
from the kitchen of Melissa Esplin
makes enough to frost about 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes

1 tablespoon lemon juice
4-6 fresh strawberries
1 cube or 1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar

Puree strawberries & lemon juice in a blender. Allow strawberries to macerate for about 10 minutes; it helps with the flavor. With a hand mixer beat strawberry mixture, butter and sugar until consistency is smooth. You may want to add more sugar or more lemon juice to get your preferred consistency. Frosting is perfect for sugar cookies, cupcakes, cakes, etc.

Hope you like them! Let me know if you have any questions about the recipe. I used the fluffy white cake recipe for Penelope’s birthday cake. It was really good, but I think this recipe works better as a cupcake. I don’t know what it is, but that’s just how I feel about it. Enjoy!!

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