I was having trouble writing this because I was hangry. The cure? I found a hazelnut baci cake in the freezer then blasted it in the microwave along with some salted caramel sauce from the fridge and then shoved it in my gob. To be fair I feel slightly sick and an apple probably would have been better for me but screw it. The warm and gooey baci cake was delicious AF. Blood sugar levels are a go go.
Zinged up to my eyeballs in energy I can now write about another sort of cake.
I rediscovered Pinterest and found a whole bundle of recipes I fancied making. I was pinning here there and err where. I now remember why my grades in second year uni took a dip.. The problem with making lists (other than spending all your time making them) is that then you have to start ticking items off that list for fear of going crazy and drowning in an ever growing cake list. I decided efficiency was key here. As choosing which cake to make was too difficult I mashed a couple of them together in order to make these glorious cakelet hybrids. Some of the OG recipes seemed tedious; I was skeptical that the effort wouldn't be worth it. Hindsight is a glorious mistress and I am legit so glad I spent an hour and a half of my life in peak traffic trying to acquire orange blossom water.
A post on Butter and Brioche inspired me to make these. I was in the mood for something a little bit different. I was also drawn in by the salted honey buttercream that I discovered over on Matters of the Belly who in collaboration with Butter and Brioche had make a salted honey and orange blossom cake (ugh its such a small world). I figured as orange blossom was the common denominator between the two I could mix and match cake and icing and there wouldn't be too much public outrage. There wasn't.
Dylan took these into work and was instructed by colleagues (Steve in IT) to make an honest woman out of me. I am going to interpret that as they liked them. DJP himself said these were the best cakes I had ever made which is saying something considering he isn't THAT into cake.
Both of my inspo cakes were majestic towering layer cakes. I really love layer cakes but the problem with making them is that you often need a lot of people to help you eat it. Finding consumers that's no issue but I can't really give away a cake with a slice missing from my own consumer research. I couldn't resist a tiny layer cake though so I sacrificed a few cakelets worth of batter to make up two 10cm layers. I ended up sending Dylan off to work with a miniature layer cake with the strict instruction of giving this one in particular to something who needed a tiny cake in their lives (which is basically every body because you know, cake).
I hope you love these as much as everyone else did.
Orange Blossom Almond Cakes, Salted Honey Buttercream, and Orange Curd
Makes 12 small cakes or 9 small cakes and two 10cm layers
Adapted from Butter and Brioche
For the cakes
250g salted butter, softened
400g white sugar
5 large eggs
Zest of 1 orange
300g plain flour
130g ground almond
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
250g sour cream
60ml orange juice
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon almond essence
For the buttercream
120g mild honey, clover is perfect
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
200g salted butter, softened
250g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
For the curd
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
For the caramel
300ml cream, warmed in the microwave
1 ½ cups white sugar
1/4 cup water
Around 1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (adjust to taste)
For the curd
Start by making the curd first as you want it to fully cool before you use it. In a double boiler (aka a heatproof bowl sitting above a pan of simmering water) heat the butter, orange juice, zest, sugar and citric acid. Once most of the sugar has pretty much dissolved remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk the two eggs together in a cup. Start whisking your curd and then slowly start pouring in the eggs. Keep whisking; you don't want scrambled eggs in your curd. Return the bowl to the simmering water and gently whisk until the curd thickens. This step is rather tedious and might take as long as 20 minutes. Once the curd coats the back of a spoon it is ready to take off the heat and leave to cool.
For the caramel
To make the caramel place the sugar and water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a fierce simmer. Keep the sugar simmering away, after five or so minutes the sugar will start to turn a golden colour. Once the sugar has turned a deep amber colour, remove from the heat, put a thick rubber dish glove onto your stirring hand and while stirring the sugar start to pour in the cream. The cream will cause the sugar to splatter and boil up so do it slowly but keep stirring. At this point you can return it to the heat and keep stirring until all the sugar at the bottom has been incorporated. Remove from the stove and leave to cool before using.
For the cakes
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Take your Texan muffin trays, grease up the sides well and then place a square of baking paper at the bottom of each well.
Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly. Beat until the egg has been fully incorporated and the texture is super fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, orange juice, orange blossom water, vanilla essence and almond essence. In another bowl sieve together the flour, ground almond, baking powder, cardamom and salt.
Add a third of the liquid mixture to the creamed butter and mix until just combined. Then add a third of the flour and mix again. Continue to alternate until all of the sour cream mix and all of the flour has been included. Give it one good final mix to remove any lumps.
Divide the batter between the muffin pans; it works out at approx 110g per tin. If making 10cm layers you will want 250g per 10cm cake tin.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer just comes out clean. The 10cm layers will take more like 25-30 minutes.
Leave to cool fully before icing.
For the salted honey buttercream
To make the delicious salted honey buttercream, place the honey in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Once simmering away add in the baking soda and stir stir stir to combine it while it froths. Once the honey has achieved maximum froth, remove it from the stove and leave to cool to room temperature. Once cool, beat together the honey mixture and the butter until smooth. Add in the orange blossom water and then gradually the icing sugar. Beat on high until a nice fluffy and smooth icing forms (warning: it will taste delicious).
To assemble the wee cakelets first turn the muffins upside down so that the smaller surface is facing upward. Next with a knife carve a hole into the top of each, about 15mm wide for the curd to go into; make sure it doesn't go through to the bottom of the cake. Spoon curd into each cake so that it just sits underneath the lip of the hole. Place the icing in a piping bag and swirl and dollop in any way you please over the top of the cakes. Drizzle over some more curd as well as a good drizzle of the caramel then decorate with freeze dried fruit bits, orange zest, foliage of some descript or some shards of a failed toffee experiment like I did here.