Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dessert of the Week....Candied Orange Cake

MrMartha loves desserts that look elaborate, taste incredible, but are actually quite simple to create. (you never have to tell anyone how easy it was!)

This moist orange cake ring is topped by a simple glaze, and finished with overlapping slices of homemade candied oranges. It looks like it came from a good boutique bakery, but is easily created by enhancing a boxed cake mix, and some easy garnish techniques. Served with a bit of sweetened whipped cream, the nicely flavored cake is balanced beautifully by the intense and slightly bitter pure orange taste of the candied slices.

Read More for the Recipe and How To.

You will need -
boxed orange flavor or yellow cake mix,
eggs and oil,
several fresh oranges,
confectioners and granulated sugar.

To candy the orange slices:
Combine 1 1/2 Cups each granulated sugar and water in a wide shallow pan, and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and liquid clears. adjust stove to keep the pan at a low simmering heat, and add approximately a dozen 1/4" thick slices of navel Orange. Immerse the slices in the syrup and cook slowly, stirring and turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes until the peel turns from white to translucent, but the slices are still firm and intact. you dont need to constantly monitor this, but do check regularly to be sure it isnt getting too much heat.

Remove from heat and allow slices to sit in the syrup until cool. Remove to a wire rack set over a sheet pan to drain. Reheat the remaining syrup and boil down to reduce until slightly thickened.

Make the cake according to package directions with the following substitutions: Use Orange Juice instead of water for the liquid, and add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest. If you are using a yellow cake mix, also add a teaspoon of pure orange extract, or substitute an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau for 1/4 cup of the liquid.

Grease a Bundt or tube pan, and then coat with granulated sugar instead of flour. Alternately, you can create individual dessert servings in cupcake tins. Bake according to package directions.

Prepare a simple glaze by heating 1/4 cup of the orange poaching syrup and 1 tablespoon of butter together until the butter melts. Add a pinch of salt, and approx 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, stirring until smooth and about the consistency of very heavy cream.

Place the cooled cake on a serving plate and drizzle with the glaze. Allow glaze to set slightly. Add the orange slices in an overlapping ring around the top. If desired, allow to set for about an hour, and then glaze the orange slices with more of the reserved syrup from a pastry brush, to give even more sheen.

For individual desserts, place a small cooled cake 'top down' onto serving plate, coat with a bit of glaze allowing it to run over the edges. Center one slice of candied orange on the top. Cut another orange slice in half, and place on either side of the cake. Add a small dollop of whipped cream on top of each garnish slice, just before serving.