I have a philosophy. It usually goes like “only cook with the ingredients that taste delicious”. Because food needs to be delicious in its entirety, not just in bits and pieces. But I also believe that food engages 4 out of 5 senses, and the visual cues it brings up are just as important as the havoc it plays on your taste buds. So I did something I don’t usually do, recently. I worked with fondant.
A close friend of mine is having a baby girl in 2 months and as I helped her husband organize the baby shower, I took it upon myself to make the dessert, and to challenge myself with something different. There were many firsts with this cake:
- First 2 tier cake
- First time working with fondant
- First time working with gumpaste
- First attempt at creating a strawberry buttercream recipe
The results, though not perfect, were still fantastic. I learned a ton about working with fondant and the different types of fondant in the market. Since this was a 2 tier cake with 2 different cake flavors, and I have much to share about working with fondant and gumpaste, I’m divvying up the blog post into 3 parts.
Part I: Vegan Orange cake with Almond Buttercream
3c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Naked Mighty Mango juice
1 cup Tangerine/Orange juice (unsweetened)
1.5 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp grated fresh orange zest
4 tbsp water
1 c oil
1.75 c sugar
2 tsp orange extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting
2c unsalted butter at room temperature
3-3.5c sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- Dust and grease a 9 x 3 round pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix juices, oil, extracts, orange zest in a bowl.
Tip: You can substitute the 2 different juices with any available orange juice if you don’t have access to the Naked and Cuties brands. I’ve just found that the flavor is great with Naked in it. I might also recommend trying adding 1/2 cup of mango juice to 1.5 cups of orange juice as a substitute for the brands called out in this recipe.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Gently fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not beat.
- Add the water to easen up the mix and pour into the greased and dusted pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Tip: If after 20 minutes it seems like your top is cooking without the bottom, cover the pan with foil to avoid the top of your cake from burning.
- Cream the butter. On the low speed of your beater, add the powdered sugar until just incorporated.
- Increase your speed to medium, and add the extracts, salt and cream and beat till you see stiff peaks.
Note: I don’t like my frosting too sweet – so I typically prefer to add 1.5 cups of sifted sugar to 1 cup of butter. I’d suggest adjusting the amount of sugar to your taste.
- Once your cake has baked, let it cool overnight, or at least 2-3 hours – first on a cooling rack and then in the fridge.
- Cut the cake into 3 even layers with a sharp serrated knife.
Tip: Wash your knife with boiling hot water and wipe down quickly before cutting the cake. The hot knife cuts through the cake much better.
- Frost your cake between the layers and also cover the cake with frosting all around, smoothening it.
- Stick it in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes. Spritz some cold water over the cake (not a ton!) and then cover with fondant. Tip: Since I didn’t have a spritzer, I brushed it with some water instead.
Whenever I describe this cake to people, they wonder about it. It’s not a flavor they immediately gravitate towards. But every time I’ve served it, people go for seconds and thirds. It’s my secret weapon that’s guaranteed to please.