Amaretto Orange Cake 2.0

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AmarettoOrangeCake

My Spring semester finished up last week and I’m happy to have a break, at least until my summer class starts. This is the cake I made and practiced for a few weeks before our actual final. It was inspired by one of my favorite cocktails, an Amaretto Sour. It’s an orange flavored cake with Amaretto mascarpone mousse, and almond Italian buttercream! It took a lot of testing of different cake recipes until I finally found this one that had the best taste, texture, and flavor! The process was stressful, but it was worth it! I am so happy with how my cake turned out! I great reviews on it too by everyone!

Family, friends, and co-workers all tried it each week. With their critiques, I was able to make a wonderful Amaretto Orange Cake! I think I made a total of 3 cakes before I finally figured out which recipe I wanted to use and how much flavoring to add to the cake batter, filling, and buttercream.

My brother had tried a couple versions of it. The second one was the best and he jokingly called it Orange Cake 2.0. I liked it so much I decided to name it Amaretto Orange Cake 2.0!

Here’s the recipe for the cake. I recommend making it at least one day before torting (cutting into layers).

OrangeCake

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups sugar

8 egg whites

4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. orange zest

4 cups AP Flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 cups buttermilk

2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray and line (cut parchment circles) 2 8-inch cake pans.
  2. In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg whites 1-2 at a time. Scrape in between each addition of the whites. Add vanilla extract and orange zest.
  4. Sift all the dry ingredients. Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk and orange juice. Mix until the batter is smooth.
  5. Divide between the two pans but only fill each about half way. Use the extra batter to make about 6 cupcakes.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees until done. The cakes will spring back when touched or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cakes take about 40-45 minutes. Cupcakes will bake for at least 15-20 minutes all depending on your oven.

AmarettoOrange2

For the filling, I made an Amaretto mascarpone mousse! It’s very easy to make and quite delicious!! I love Amaretto!

Amaretto Mascarpone Mousse

Ingredients

10 oz. Mascarpone cheese

2.5 oz. powdered sugar

14 oz. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

3-4 Tbsp. Amaretto (I used 4!)

Directions

  1. Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, mix together the mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar. Scrape the bowl.
  2. Add the heavy cream slowly, while mixing or when it’s off.
  3. Once it becomes thicker, add the almond extract and amaretto.
  4. The whisk should hold a firm peak.
  5. There will be leftovers, but its so good! Use as desired or just eat it.

The buttercream I used was an Almond Italian Buttercream. I love buttercream…a lot! This recipe was taken form the Culinary Institute of America (minus the flavoring).

Almond Italian Buttercream

Ingredients

1 lb. sugar

4 oz. water

8 oz. egg whites

1 lb. 8 oz. butter, chopped into small pieces

2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. Amaretto

1/2 tsp. pure almond extract plus a splash

Directions

  1. Put the sugar and water in a medium pot. Heat to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure there are no dry pockets of sugar before cooking. Do not stir. Use a candy thermometer.
  2. Place the egg whites in the mixing bowl. When the thermometer reaches 230 degrees Fahrenheit, turn on the mixer with the whisk attachment.
  3. Pour the hot sugar syrup over the whipped egg whites slowly near the side of the bowl while the mixer is on (medium high).
  4. Once all the sugar syrup is poured in, let it cool until the bottom of the bowl is cool to enough to touch. (about 10-15 minutes depending on the room temperature)
  5. Add butter slowly, in small chunks. Once it looks a little more like buttercream, it can be added faster. This will take some time.
  6. Add flavoring last once it all comes together to look like buttercream. See Swiss Buttercream for pictures. (There will be leftovers of this as well.)

I also made an orange simple syrup to soak the cake, but the cake itself is already very moist so it could be left out. I used half a cup of water and half a cup of orange juice (fresh or from a carton is fine) and 1 cup of sugar. Place it in a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let cool. I recommend making this at least one day before assembling the cake. If using this orange simple syrup, brush onto each cake layer as you start to assemble and before any filling goes in.

To assemble the whole cake, first cut each 8-inch cake in half. Trim off a thin layer of the top of it isn’t very flat. Fill a piping bag with a little bit of buttercream to create what is called the dam. Pipe using a small star tip around the top of the first layer. Fill with a the Amaretto mascarpone mousse so that it is level with the buttercream ring. Repeat for the next two layers. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

I used a cake turn table to help get even and smooth sides. If you don’t have that just ice the best you can. The cake will still taste amazing!

My garnish was florentines, since my flavors were orange and almond. I thought it would be perfect for my cake. I also made these a day or two before assembling the cake. I got the recipe from school, which was found on chow.com.

Florentines

Florentines

Ingredients

1 1/4 c. sliced almonds

1/4 c. AP flour

2 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest

1/3 c. granulated sugar

2 oz. unsalted butter

3 oz. light corn syrup

1 Tbsp. heavy cream (I didn’t have any so I used a tablespoon of almond milk. Regular milk should work too.)

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 sheet trays with parchment.
  2. Mix together the almonds, flour, and orange zest in a bowl.
  3. Place the sugar, butter, corn syrup, heavy cream, and salt into a small pot. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, pour over the almond mixture and stir together until everything is coated. Divide between the two pans.
  5. These spread a lot so I recommend using pans with edges. Bake for 5 minutes and then rotate for another 3-4 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven. They should be golden brown but the edges do get a little darker.
  6. Let cool and firm up. They are very crispy and quite delicious.

 

Break these into shards and place on the side of the cake to finish it! The first picture has maraschino cherries on top. It was a last minute decision, but I soaked them in orange juice and amaretto! They were good but would have been even better if I had soaked them longer, a week maybe would be best.

AMOR2

Above was my second variation. Below was my first variation!

AMOR1

I hope you enjoy this! It’s an awesome flavor combination!!

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Swiss Buttercream

The first time I made Swiss buttercream was for the Fudgy Chocolate Cupcakes that I previously posted. It turned out great!…even though I didn’t do it completely right. But oh well. This past week in my Pastry 102 class we were learning about the different types of meringues and also making them for various items, such as, macarons, dacquoise, and buttercream…Swiss buttercream that is.

cupcakes

 

We used the buttercream as our filling for the macarons. Then because we had the buttercream, we used it to fill our dacquoise, which ended up being extremely sweet! I don’t recommend filling a dacquoise with buttercream unless you LOVE sugar. It also had marshmallows, M&Ms, and caramel sauce drizzled over all of it. It was every kids dream, but complete sugar overload.

meringue

So now how to make Swiss buttercream the right way. This recipe is the recipe I got from my instructor, who got it from Baking and Pastry, Mastering the Art and Craft by the Culinary Institute of America.

Ingredients

1 lb. sugar                 swissbuttercream

8 oz. egg whites

1 lb. 4 oz. butter, softened and chopped into chunks

2 tsp. vanilla extract (or desired flavoring)

 

Directions

  1. Put the egg whites and sugar in the mixing bowl and place over a double boiler. Whisk to prevent scrambling the eggs. Whisk and heat the mixture until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

swissbc1

2. Put the bowl on the mixer using the whisk attachment on a high speed until it reaches medium soft peaks.

swissbc2

3. Slowly add small chunks of the butter while it continues to whip on a high speed. Adding the butter slowly is especially important if the butter is cold. Let it mix a litter in between adding chunks of butter. Once about half the butter has been added, bigger chunks can be added. If it looks broken or doesn’t look like buttercream, it’s ok. It just takes some time for it to come together to look like buttercream.

swissbc3

4. Lastly, add the vanilla extract or any flavoring you choose. Mix until combined.

swissbc4

I hope you enjoy this buttercream! It’s one of my favorites!