Tuesday, January 25, 2005

[Recipe] Orange Butter Cake

This butter cake recipe is easy to make. My mother used to bake this cake when we were little but my father does most of the baking these days. Even my niece knows how to bake this cake. I'm not really a cake baking person but I have baked this on several occasions. I remember this one time when we were children, each of us attempted to bake a cake. My brother and I each made an orange cake and my sister baked a chocolate cake. My brother's cake was dense and flat. Mine wasn't any better (I remember eating it anyway and enjoyed it). My sister's cake however was like an erupting volcano complete with chocolate fudge oozing from the top. :)

Ingredients:

3 cups cake flour (decrease by 1/4 cup if using all purpose - self rising flour not suitable)
2 eggs (room temperature)
3 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup shortening (normally I use butter)
1 2/3 cup white sugar (white sugar is not packed when measuring)
1 cup orange juice (Orange Soda is also fine)
1/2 cup milk

Directions:
Cakes tend to fail when instructions are not fully followed. Note that folding is a mixing technique used when mixing cakes to introduce air gradually in the mixture. Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt (note that sifting may not be necessary for breads and cookies but is essential when making light cakes). Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream sugar and shortening on a mixing bowl. Add one egg at a time (unbeaten) folding in the mixture before adding the next. On the sugar-shortening-egg mixture, add a little sifted flour mixture then add a bit of orange juice alternating between the two. When the orange juice is added in the mixture completely, start with milk alternating with the flour as before. Note that it is important to start with the flour mixture and end with the flour mixture at the end, using up the liquid ingredients in between. Don't ask me why. I don't know. It's one of those mysteries of baking I suppose. hehe.

Mix in a folding motion until all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly. You may want to clean the sides of the bowl from unmixed ingredients with a rubber spatula from time to time. Apply a very thin layer of shortening on a cake pan then dust lightly with flour until all are covered (do this even if using non-stick pans). The batter mixture will be enough for 2 8x8 inch pans. Tap the pans lightly on a flat surface to remove large bubbles from the mixture (it will cause unwanted swelling of the cake during baking - my sister baked a cake that looked like an erupting volcano once). Continue tapping until you observe no more big bubbles rising to the surface. Note that you should not overdo this, the small bubbles are essential for the cake to rise during baking. The cake will also not rise properly as a result of improper folding of the batter during mixing. Using orange soda actually helps.

Place in the center of the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not open oven until this time has elapsed! You could use a flashlight to monitor the baking from the outside. After 20 minutes, test the cake by placing a [clean!] wooden toothpick into the surface. The toothpick should come out clean if it the cake is done (no batter is sticking to the toothpick). The surface of the cake will have a golden orange appearance. Cool first before removing from the pan. Cut into 2" squares. It's good freshly baked but also good even if straight from the fridge as long as kept in an airtight container. In fact I prefer it cold, it tastes a little bland to me when freshly baked for some reason.

Enjoy!

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