Learning 2 Bake, from Scratch – V

No new recipe for this one. This is the Orange Cake recipe from Part III and the Cream Cheese frosting from Part IV.

What has changed?

  • New non-stick 9-inch cake pans. I didn’t put parchment paper on the bottom of the not non-stick pans on the third attempt and it was an adventure trying to get the cakes out of the pans – even though I had floured them. The second attempt was done in a single non-stick cake pan (also spray-greased and floured) – I don’t know the size and I’m not going to measure it, right now – and it dropped out without a problem, so I had high hopes, which turned out to be justified.
  • Trick for dealing with the uneven oven heat: Put a cookie sheet on the lowest rack and back the cake two levels above. I used the large double-walled sheet, which nearly covers the entire rack. A glass sheet was recommended to me, but I had never before heard of such a thing and most definitely do not have one. A pizza stone would probably work, too, but I also do not have one of those.
  • Trick for dealing with domed cakes: Wrap a band around the cake pan so that the edges do not bake faster than the middle. These are sold, but I used the DIY version of a damp paper towel wrapped in aluminum foil.
  • I took pictures.

With just a bit more ado, this is mise en place part one:
[The ado: I can live with “confectioner’s sugar”, but “mise en place” seems ridiculously pretentious for “getting your shit together, first.” Unfortunately, I don’t know a good English equivalent. Unlike “rendezvous” and “meeting” or “restaurant” and “eatery”, we seem to have just stolen the French phrase.]

Almost out of SwansDown and the store only had King Arthur, so violating the recipe branding. I also have no canola oil and that giant jug of corn oil, so it will just have to suffice.

Yep, I have all the ingredients. Next, measure it all for mise en place part two:

Note the orange zest in there with the eggs.

Put the sugar in the dry ingredients, first, so its weight doesn’t de-sift the flour. The egg whites are in the mixing bowl with the cream of tartar (it doesn’t seem to hurt to add it before beating them). Start the egg whites beating, then do the mixing by hand because it’s very wet and a mixer will fling it everywhere. Why, yes, I did do that, why do you ask? Then fold the egg whites in and pour into the pans.

If you look carefully, you can see the aluminum foil bands around the pans, which only appear oval because of the handles on the side. I was very happy to see I didn’t have to worry about them rising over of the sides and despoiling my clean oven (and if you believe my oven is clean, I have this bridge…).

Woo hoo! Although with changing three things at once, one does wonder if all three changes were necessary. I waited for them to come out of the oven before starting the frosting, since they do need to cool. The frosting mise en places: (Anyone want to supply the French plural in the comments?)

Why, yes, I do shop at Sam’s club and get seven pounds of powdered sugar at a time (and four pounds of butter).

The heaping cups are by-design since the marmalade (in the mixing bowl in this picture) adds liquid. (May I be happy that I’m using two different beaters in one day? What a baker I am!). Turn the mixer on and start dumping things in. Here we are ready to frost:

As you can see, the frosting is a little runny and just a bit of cake stuck to the pans. These are also not exactly vertical and the bands have the side-effect of the cake pulling away from the sides as it bakes, too. But, close enough! I want to eat some! But first, the money shot:

A slightly thicker frosting or a bit of trimming would have allowed me to have a smoother side, but this is a VAST improvement over the drunken ziggurat. I’m not entering this in a contest and there are more cakes to come upon which to practice.

Orange Cake victory is declared!

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