One of the best birthday cakes I’ve ever made – and hopefully the best birthday cake my boyfriend has ever eaten. Since this cake was a surprise, I couldn’t even assign J paltry kitchen tasks like I usually do. He was booted unceremoniously from the kitchen, in fact.
This cake was relatively simple and really tasty! The concentrated orange juice really gives the orange flavour that extra kick 🙂
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (it really makes a difference)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk (heavy cream makes it even more rich – delicious)
- 2 1/2-pint baskets blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups (ish) powdered sugar (add it gradually, you might use more or less)
- 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour cake pans. In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter on a medium speed until fluffy, then gradually add sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the concentrate, peel, and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Using a spatula add flour mixture to orange mixture in 4 additions, alternately with milk. Make sure batter is well mixed! Divide the batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake the cakes until they’re that perfect golden-brown and a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 30 minutes-ish. Cool the cakes in the pans on a rack.
Tip: try not to open the oven too often while the cake is baking, it will cause the cake to rise unevenly or even make the center cave in. Cake should always be pretty.
Another Tip: When grating the orange rind, grate just until the pith (the white part) is visible then switch to another spot on the orange! The rind is the tasty part whereas the pith is bitter.
Delicious Blueberry Filling:
In a large bowl, mash blueberries with a fork. Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan and heat over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil the mixture until it is reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring constantly. This should take about 15 minutes. Refrigerate.
The Best Part – Cream Cheese Frosting:
Using the electric mixer beat the cream cheese and butter in bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar gradually, in about 4 additions. Next add the orange concentrate, peel and vanilla. Chill until firm, but not too long, you want the frosting to be spreadable, not hard.
Cut around the cakes to loosen and turn them out onto your work surface. Using a bread knife, slice the domed top off each cake so that the top is flat and even (you definitely want to keep these pieces for snacking).
This next part is optional, but I think it gives the cake an extra something: using a pastry brush, coat each layer with simple syrup (1 cup white sugar dissolved in 1 cup boiling water). This keeps the cake moist for longer and reduces the amount of crumbs that end up in the frosting. Always keepin’ it pretty.
Place one layer on a cake platter or pretty plate and spread filling over the surface, to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Chill for 5 minutes. Top with the second layer. Spread 1/2 cup frosting thinly all over cake to seal. Chill until icing is firm, then spread the remaining frosting over cake. Mound the remaining blueberries on top (because it’s pretty).