Week 2: Winter Citrus Baking Pt. 2 or Tay and I Bake a Crazy (and complicated) Chocolate-Orange Cake!

This weekend I made a decision…when Tay and I bake on Saturdays I will let her pick the recipe, with a few stipulations, 1) the ingredients have to be readily available or easily obtained (this means nothing that calls for pistachio paste!), and 2) the recipe can’t be too complicated.  So with this in mind, Tay and I set down with Martha yesterday and started going through recipes…unfortunately, almost every recipe failed the above criteria with out-of-season ingredients or simply to difficult for an easy Saturday afternoon of baking.  Tay was feeling discouraged, so I showed her the chocolate-orange cake recipe that I had been drooling over last week, and she immediately said “yes!”

The recipe can be found here (at what Tay calls my favorite website): http://allrecipes.com/recipe/decadent-chocolate-orange-cake/detail.aspx

Now I had read the recipe several times and knew it was involved, but was optimistic that it wasn’t going to be “difficult”.  We started at about 2 pm (I know because we were trying to get the cake in the oven by the 2:30 kickoff of the 49ers versus the Saints).  Right off I knew it was going to be a long afternoon of baking…I set Tay to cutting out the parchment paper for the cake pans while I peeled the oranges.  Both tasks proved a little more difficult than anticipated…and I should have known it would be a complicated recipe when it required a food processor, mixer, sifter, custom cut parchment paper, and layers of cake, filling, and ganache…but of course, being me, it didn’t quite click…needless to say, we got the cakes in the oven around 3pm, which means that I missed kick-off and instead had a hyper tween running between the kitchen and living room giving me updates (LOL!)

So far, getting the cakes together had been complicated, but I was optimistic that everything else would go smoothly.  The cakes cooked beautifully in 35 minutes, I let them cool for 10 in the pan, and another 30 on the racks.  So it is now about 4:15, we made the cream-cheese filling with no issues, but because I have 9 inch pans, rather than the recommended 8 inch pans, we decided that cutting the cakes in half was not going to work, and settled on a two-layer cake instead of a four-layer cake.  The next step involved making layers as follows: cake – cream cheese filling –  chocolate ganache – cake – chocolate ganache…needless to say, we were excited!  The first layer went fine and looked amazing, but I neglected the recommendation that the ganache should cool slightly before adding the next layer…I know you can see where this is going…anyways, I immediately added the next layer of cake and topped it with the rest of the ganache, which poured beautifully onto the cake and over the edges of the pan, all over the counter, Tay, and myself! Yes, we had too much ganache because we only made two layers rather than the recommended four.  Despite being a major mess it was also very funny…picture a cute 11 year-old licking chocolate off her fingers and trying to wipe it off the counter, yes, she had chocolate all over her face! 

Anyways the cake was basically done, but as I put it in the fridge to firm up the layers it started sliding (!), resulting in a slightly off-balance two-layer cake… The kitchen was a mess, but as I have told Tay numerous times, a mess didn’t happen if nobody witnesses it (of course the “nobody” in this equation is her father :)), so we cleaned the kitchen and sat down to watch the end of the football game as the ganache firmed.  At 6pm, right before my guy was due home from work, we pulled the cake out and added the final touch…mandarin oranges in a flower pattern!

We waited until after dinner to eat the cake (aren’t we responsible adults), and I have never seen a child more excited about cake…she kept talking about it all evening.  When the three of us finally sat down to try the cake, my guy gave us the highest praise and said that the cake looks like something you would see in a pastry or coffee shop!  We all loved it, each layer tasted amazing and when eaten together was the perfect balance of orange, chocolate and sweet…this was a big win for us…go team!

p.s. The 49ers won and the Broncos didn’t!! It was a good day at our house…


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