Be sure to check out the SALES and CLEARANCE items on kitchen, home, and garden finds from my favorite home furnishing, food, and gift retailers HERE 🙂
I am certainly no cake boss. Cake is pressure for us 'non-bakers,' but this Semi-Homemade Orange Marmalade Cream Cake makes even the most novice home baker appear all the mighty pro.
This is a beautiful July birthday cake incorporating flowers and fruit. It also makes for a gorgeous Easter cake or even a sentimental treat for Mother's Day.
Semi-Homemade Orange Marmalade Cream Cake recently saved my reputation as the spirited neighborhood food blogger. It began with a request from a neighbor for another neighbor for a surprise birthday cake. She was hosting a 'social distance driveway party' for this gal which was so sweet. Easy enough I thought. But then the list of cake requirements were emailed to me, and the intimidation set in. "Must be feminine, must be garden-inspired, must not be chocolate, and must not look like a birthday cake." Crikey...
Now, it might seem as though my family eats cake all of the time and that I am some sort or another of a cake aficionado. I am not, and we do not. I am not a baker. Despite how often I publish a cake post, I cheat. Baking in general is frightening for me. I am fearful of my attempt looking lop-sided or worse yet tasting yucky. Yet when there is a need, I timidly mosey into action. Cake is pressure for non-bakers, but this Semi-Homemade Orange Marmalade Cream Cake makes even the most novice home baker appear the mighty pro.
Thank goodness for my Mom and Gram's well taught kitchen shortcuts, otherwise I would be lost in life...seriously.
I have done this before. Yes, I have - those of you who follow Not Entirely Average made me blush based of the sheer number of you who tried my Semi Homemade-Cranberry Orange Christmas Cake and wrote to me telling me how much you LOVED IT. Thank you for passing that recipe post onto your family and friends because you definitely gave the website some action. Oh, and then there were my Semi-Homemade Blueberry Streusel Muffins that I made for a friend's shower. Huh...I guess you could say that I cheat fairly often, but sometimes with 'life' and having very little to no time, you may have to cheat.
Flour sack towels and pottery bakeware for your kitchen. As beautiful to look at as they are entirely functional. Made in USA. Click images for pricing.
From our friends at Pottery Barn, a set worthy of gifting to the bride...or better yet, to yourself.
8-piece non-stick bakeware set includes a cooling rack. From USA Pans, click image for pricing.
Well, there is not much to say here except that I think I met all of the criteria for the birthday cake. Orange was the flavor I was asked to use, so I went back to some of my previous 'semi-homemade' recipes and swapped out a flavor or two so I could easily incorporate the orange. I also knew marmalade would be a must, but not so much as to overpower. It was rather fun focusing on a biggie batch of cream cheese icing and the decoration on the top of the cake, rather than stress over the cake itself. In terms of favorite boxed mix, I ALWAYS go Duncan Hines. I have no affiliation herein to them, but feel I must endorse them because in taste test after taste test, they just rank the highest. If you're gonna cheat, cheat deliciously...
When it needs to be pretty. Vintage-inspired Mosser Glass cake stand, USA made, click images for pricing.
The best gift for the baker, aside from sugar and spice that is. Kitchen necessaries.
Harmonious flavors of orange and vanilla are lovingly baked into this mid-summer birthday beauty.
The top of the cake was my favorite part of the preparation. Bess is a gardener with the best flower beds of any of us. So, her beds inspired the top. Using a homemade cream cheese frosting gave the fruit and flowers a stiff base. The fruit remained in the direction I placed them, and the flowers didn't shift. I used ranunculus which are non-edible. In order not to contaminate my cake, I had to address the stems.
First, I cut them to 1.5 inches in length. I then washed them under cold water, and inserted into water-filled plastic flower picks. Now, I could then safely insert half way into the cake. I also placed both orange slices and mint leaves between the petals and the cream cheese frosting. This helped to avoid any direct contact. Decorate the cake with flowers no more than 24 hours before serving. I prefer to decorate the day of, but I have not had any issues with decorating a cake the evening before an event and keeping it in the fridge.
Handheld mixers, swank cotton aprons, and alternatives to marmalade. Try banana jam infused with whole bean vanilla, cherry with a hint of chai, or strawberry with citrusy lemongrass. Get your jam on, kitchen necessaries. Click images for pricing.
Ingredients for the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened (two 8 ounce packages)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 6 tablespoons orange juice
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups Confectioner's sugar I do not enjoy overly sweet frosting, so I begin with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, then taste
Ingredients for Semi-Homemade Orange Marmalade Cream Cake
- 1 box Duncan Hines Orange Supreme Cake Mix
- 1 3.4 ounce vanilla instant pudding mix
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup full fat sour cream
- 3 large room temperature eggs
- 3/4 to 1 cup sweet orange marmalade
Prepare the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine the softened cream cheese, softened butter, orange juice, orange zest, and confectioners sugar. Beat on medium speed using a handheld mixer until well combined. Halve the frosting into 2 bowls. From one of the halves, spoon 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of the frosting into a small plastic zipper bag. Place the bag as well as the remaining frosting from both halves into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before frosting. Remember which half you used for the piping bag. This half will be used for the crumb coat. The frosting will be very stiff, so you may need to allow 10 minutes or so for it to soften so you do not damage your crumb.
Prepare the Marmalade Cream Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (2) 9×2 inch cake pans. If using a parchment liner in the bottom, prep and grease/flour also and set aside.
- Using a handheld mixer, mix the cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, vegetable oil, milk, sour cream and eggs until very well combined.
- Pour cake batter evenly into 2 prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove from pans to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
To Frost The Cake Layers
- Once cakes are cooled, use a serrated knife to remove the domes on each cake and slice the cakes in half. This cake will have four layers. Use a silicone pastry brush to gently brush away all crumbs before beginning to frost. Use this video by Food & Wine's own Justin Chapple for easy instructions on getting your halves perfect.
- Prepare a cake stand by spooning a small amount of frosting directly on to the center to anchor the first cake layer. Use 3 or 4 sheets of parchment to slide halfway under this bottom layer. This helps to avoid smudging the frosting on your cake plate. The parchment is easily pulled away once the frost is complete. Place the first layer on your cake stand and press gently to secure it to the base.
- To begin, knead the bag of frosting gently for a minute or so to soften it up. Cut the tip of one corner of the bag and using a steady hand, pipe a plump line of frosting just along the inside edge of the layer. This is your "dam." The idea is that the "dam" keeps the marmalade from spilling out over the sides as we build heavier layers on top. The dam also meets the (eventual) frosting on the sides and help the overall look appear smoother and without gapping. Creating a dam whenever you frost a cake is a professional method that you should add to your arsenal of kitchen hacks. Now spoon onto and evenly cover the top with half the sweet orange marmalade almost, but not quite, to the dam wall.
- Add a second layer of cake overtop the first. Again, pipe another plump line of frosting just along the inside edge of the cake. Unlike the first layer of marmalade, this will be a cream cheese frosting layer. Spoon an amount of frosting equal to the amount of marmalade you used on layer number one atop this layer and spread evenly to the edge of your dam.
- Add a third cake layer. Repeat by piping a line of frosting and spreading the remaining half of marmalade just to the dam wall. Set the last layer atop. At this point, and if necessary due to your layers sliding, if you have a long-ish wooden skewer, you can run it right down through all of the layers to secure the stack and prevent any layer from shifting while you frost.
- When ready, use an offset spatula to spackle the sides. Scrape the frosting over the edges and top to perform a crumb coat. A crumb coat is a very thin layer of frosting that is applied to a cake before the final or finishing coat of frosting is put on. Once the crumb coat is applied to the sides and scraped, use the excess to do the same to the top. Place the cake into the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes or as long as overnight. With the crumb coat, you will have visible crumbs in the frosting, holes, gaps, and edges. It is not the 'pretty' coat.
- Finally, to frost the finishing coat, spoon the remaining fresh half of frosting atop the cake and over the sides. Use an offset spatula to move the frosting from the center outward using a gentle motion. You can use an edge to scrape your sides straight and smooth. I actually prefer my cake to appear more rustic so everyone will know it is homemade. I seldom 'fill in' gaps and holes and like to allow the cake edges to peek through.
- Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes. Remove the skewer before decorating, making sure to smooth over the hole.