Friday, March 25, 2011

Cake and Flowers

wedding cake flower before . . .
Flowers first:  The flower for the cake topper is essentially finished.  It still needs a little drying time and may later need a bit of royal icing to demand some of the petals remain where I want them.  The daffodils, on the other hand . . .  Thus far I'm just not happy with the results.   Unless I can figure out a better way to make these, they may be abandoned.  While I think daffodils on a spring wedding cake will be absolutely lovely, it won't be so lovely if the daffodils are themselves pathetic.  I did learn to pipe royal icing daffodils in one of my Wilton classes that are cute, but not what I want for an elegant wedding cake.

. . . and after.
 And now for cake: 
In checking with Justin, he let me know there is absolutely no problem using alcohol in the cake.  That was music to my ears, so one of the tiers will definitely be the bourbon and brown sugar pound cake.  One flavor decided; two to go.  Today I thought I would try a variation of the lemon pound cake recipe I made for lunch with Clora Mae and Rhonda, using orange instead.  Since there is orange juice in the syrup for the bourbon cake, I'm thinking an orange cake would tie in better than lemon.  Unfortunately, my recipe did not impress me.  The orange doesn't stand out nearly enough and for some reason, it almost tastes like cornbread.  But I think with changes, it has potential.  What I started with is below.

Cornbread flavored orange pound cake sans glaze.
 Now, what will I do differently? 
First, I think I'll cut out the heavy cream and go with 1 cup of sour cream.  Then I will be mindful of the type of orange I'm using.  I used one of the Cara Cara oranges, and the zest really didn't seem as fragrant as that of a regular navel orange.  In addition to the 1/2 teaspoon of Grand Marnier, I will also use 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and possibly 1/4 teaspoon of orange extract.  I will also be careful and now allow the syrup to pool in the center of the top of the cake, and WAIT for it to cool completely before cutting.  I seriously don't know if I'm capable of learning patience at this point in life.

Grand Marnier Pound Cake
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 extra large eggs
Zest of one orange
1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
1/2 cup canola oil

3 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
3 Tbs Grand Marnier
1/2 cup granulate sugar

Glaze (optional):
1 Tbs Grand Marnier
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F for at least 20 minutes.  Brush a 9 x 5 loaf pan* with cake release and line the bottom and two long sides with parchment paper.

Whisk or sift the flour, baking powder and salt to combine.  In a larger bowl, combine the sour cream, heavy cream, sugar, eggs, orange zest and Grand Marnier.  Whisk until completely combined.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet and use the whisk to gently fold the ingredients together.  Add the oil and slowly whisk until combined into a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, combine the orange juice, Grand Marnier and sugar in a large glass measuring cup.  Microwave for one minute, stir to mix in the sugar and microwave another minute until the sugar is dissolved.

When the cake is done, allow to cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.  Invert the cake onto the baking rack and remove the parchment paper.  Set the rack of a rimmed baking sheet.  Brush or spoon the syrup over the bottom and sides of the cake and allow it to soak in.  Turn the cake right side up and brush the top with syrup.  Cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the Grand Marnier and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth.  Drizzle over the top of the cake, letting it fall down the sides.

*To use an 8” round, prepare the pan in the same manner.  Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.