Orange Sponge Cake
Living in the Sunshine State means that we have an abundance of oranges. My favorite ones are the naval oranges. Peeling them is a breeze and they do not have seeds (always a disruptive pain when I just want to enjoy eating my orange). Spitting contests with seeds were fun, when I was 8 years old, but now the seeds just get in my way.
Joshua was in town last week, so I did not want to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen. We were going to a friend’s home for dinner, and I thought an Orange Sponge Cake sounded like a fabulous idea.
It is a very quick and easy cake to put together; it does not bake for long and it is, simply, left to cool on the counter – upside down on the pan’s feet. Joshua and I ran an errand while the cake cooled and then headed back home as a friend of ours, Uncle Neil, was coming over to show us his latest toy, which turned out to be a very cool looking car.
As soon as Uncle Neil arrived, Joshua simply HAD to go for a test drive. I cleaned up the dishes from the cooking I had done and headed out the door with the two of them.
Who knew that in the 15 minutes we were gone, trouble was lurking at home? My Siberian cat, Harry, loves his miniature Schnoodle sister, Oreo. As a matter of fact, Harry is kind enough, on a regular basis, to knock off of countertops whatever Oreo indicates she would like to play with or snack on.
This particular day Harry went beyond the call of duty to please his sister. The three of us came back home to find Oreo eating the top of the Orange Sponge Cake. Oreo must have loved the golden top of the cake, because rather than eat all the way down to the bottom in one spot, she decided to eat all around the top of the cake.
For those of you who are concerned, Oreo and Harry are both still living, in spite of my less-than-kind thoughts at that moment. All the time I saved by baking my “quick and easy cake” was wasted as I had to go back to the grocery store to buy more oranges and bake another cake, semi-grumbling along the way.
Throughout the frustrating moments I did think to myself how wise I was that I had chosen such an effortless cake. In no time at all the new one was in the oven and the world was calm once again.
As I stared at all of the oranges, minus their rind, I decided to do something with the fresh fruit to serve with the cake. I sliced orange wedges, tossed them with strawberries and macerated the fruit with Grand Marnier and confectioners sugar. Yummy!
Even though there were a couple of bumps in the road to make my Orange Sponge Cake, the end result was, thoroughly, enjoyed by my friends that night. Now, if I can only figure out a way to stop Harry from helping Oreo, my life would be as golden as the top of the cake.
|Orange Sponge Cake
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 eggs, at room temperature, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup orange juice, fresh squeezed or your favorite brand
- 2 tablespoons orange zest (2 large naval oranges)
- Fruit topping:
- 2 oranges
- 1 quart strawberries
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325°. Set aside a 10" tube pan, preferably with feet. If using a tube pan without a removable bottom, line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Place the egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until thick and light, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down once.
- While the mixer is on low speed, add the orange juice. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium until blended. Add the orange zest. Mix on low speed for 20 seconds more. Finish blending by hand, using a rubber spatula.
- In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in 3 additions. Fold only until the whites are incorporated.
- Pour into the tube pan and bake in 325° oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert pan to cool completely. If the pan has feet on it, invert directly onto a counter to cool. If the pan does not have the feet then place it upside down onto a tall bottle so that air circulates under it.
- For the fruit topping:
- Slice the oranges into sections, without the skin or pith. Wash, dry and slice the strawberries. Combine them with the Grand Marnier and confectioners sugar and macerate the fruit for at least an hour.
- Once the cake is cool, use a small metal spatula to scrape around the edge of the cake. Remove the tube from the pan. Use a cake tester or other small tool to loosen the cake from the inner side of the tube and a small metal spatula under the cake. Turn onto a cake round, covered with plastic wrap, and then flip right side up onto a cake plate.
- Cut the cake with a serrated knife, angel food knife or two forks. Top the slices with the fruit.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- The Orange Sponge Cake may be dusted with confectioners sugar.
- If a glaze is desired, mix confectioners sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice until it reaches a thick pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cake.
- Any fruits may be mixed with the oranges. I prefer the color combination of orange and red, but don’t shy away from the fruits you love if they are not red.