Saturday, February 15, 2014

Exotic Orange Cake

 First off, Happy Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I didn't bake or cook anything as much as I wanted to. We just had dinner at Sweet Tomatoes with my brothers' and their family. DH surprised me with flowers though (and a dozen donut later on though this is not a surprise). It might be normal for others, but not for him. He is not the romantic kind usually, so I was surprised.

I had a lot of plans, a lot. But very few goes to reality lately.

Take this for example. We were planing to go back to M's family place in Louisiana. We made plans, booked our flights, bought this and that, planned to visit my sister and her husband as well. Eeverything seems to fall into place, until the two days before the departure date. I felt so sick to the point the I couldn't move from bed. Then I found out that it was because I am pregnant! I felt worse and worse and had to cancel the flight hours before the departure time. Thank God for understanding hubby. Poor him, trying to take care of me and everything else. He made his own quesadillas, made me instant noodle for the first time (not that I could eat), trying to encourage me when I cried, and all that. This happened for 6 weeks. I was finally able to start going to work two weeks ago and hopefully, things will get better from here.

So there you go, we spent Christmas at home, we celebrated my birthday (in January), very low key. No cakes or foods have come out from my kitchen (except one last week), but I will post the cakes I made before all this happened.

This cake was for my nephew's birthday from last September. I had bookmarked this recipe for a long time when I was looking for a cake which has a combination of orange and caramel. This came about a few months before, where I was making either a caramel creme brulee or salted caramel ice cream or something, and someone cut up some oranges next to me. The smell of both of them together were so good and I could not believe that I didn't think of that combination before. Well, I actually know why, it's because I don't generally like orange-flavored cake. So I started to browse if people had made this combination before and this recipe came up. I read the whole forum. And though I didn't find many pictures online, the forum convinced me enough and the fact that it has mango and passion fruit, it's a go.
My nephew's birthday was the perfect time to try this, since the cake will be consumed by my family only (they are usually the toughest critics). Many people said that the orange flavor was very subtle and that it could use a stronger one. So following the suggestion, I rubbed the orange zest with the sugar to release all the oil from the zest, just like how I make lemon tarts. This is where all the flavor comes from. They also said that the recipe doesn't make enough of the orange bavarian cream, but I followed the recipe anyway and it turned out fine, as long as you are using the correct size for your cake. I didn't have any leftover at all, but I prefer it this way. I hate when I had to waste anything.
This cake requires a bit of assembly (the forum explains this) to get the top of the cake hollowed so that you can pour the mango passion jelly on top. I followed the suggestion on how-to and although I had some difficulty removing the "prop", it turned out fine. I only made half of the jelly recipe as I think from the photo, the jelly layer is way too thick. I still think it is a bit too thick. I used more mango puree than specified, just because passionfruit is very sour and strong. It still turned out more on the tart side that I would have liked for my taste. Some of my family who dislike sour, it was too sour for them, but the other half of my family who loves lemon-flavored anything, they loved it.
Overall, it was a success although I want to tweak it next time to suit more to my liking. By itself, the orange bavarian cream is not strong at all. In fact, I was afraid that after combining everything that the orange taste is going to get lost among the other strong flavors, but it wasn't. Since the orange cream is the major components of the cake, it definitely tastes like an orange. A bit too much for me who doesn't normally like orange cake, so I will cut down a bit next time, leaving just a subtle flavor.
The mango passion jelly was still on the sour side, so I will add more of the mango puree and less passion fruit next time. I love the way it looks though and I love that this cake is different than any other cakes I made. Definitely a positive variation.