When I think of layer cakes, I think of a celebration. There is something about layering decadent, sweet, flavoured buttercream in-between layers of moist, scrumptious cake. For me, I don’t need much persuading or reason to make a celebration cake. The simple act of making a cake is enough to call for a celebration…is it not? Or maybe that’s just me?! 😉
The reason for this celebration? FATHER’S DAY! Of course! I’ve been lucky just recently to have had my dad visiting me from Australia. His visit just so happens to coincide with Father’s Day in the UK, so what better reason to celebrate this day for my Dad and my Husband. As I’ve mentioned before, making and sharing food with the people I love is the ultimate pleasure and joy. Making this cake to share with them was no exception, just my way of saying ‘Thank you! For being the incredible fathers that you are.’
This charming cake was inspired by The Kitchn, whom as usual, never disappoint. I was, at first, a bit hesitant about using cardamom as it can be quite a strong, aromatic flavour, whilst being sort of spicy and cooling at the same time…It really is quite unique. Of course you can make this recipe without using it if you aren’t too sure about it. I found it added a hidden depth to the cake without overpowering it and teamed beautifully with the vanilla and orange flavours.
In this recipe, I made two batches of the buttercream mixture. One batch to ice the inside layers and the other batch to frost the outside of the cake. The addition of vanilla bean and orange rind add even more decadence and zest to this beauty while the cream cheese makes it wonderfully velvety. My super addictive topping for the cake were made a few days ahead! Crystallised orange peel, dipped in dark chocolate! SO, SO, SO, SO, DELICIOUS!!!! Like all things worthwhile, they take some time and patience to make but are worth the effort if you really want to impress your guests, or treat yourself to something uniquely yummy. Feel free to use any topping you prefer or even just leave the cake plain, as the speckled vanilla bean seeds and orange zest are simply beautiful scattered through the buttercream.
Lastly, my most favourite thing about this cake is that it will last quite easily in the fridge for a few days. What this means is that you can make it for serving a small family and have plenty of left overs to pick on for morning tea, afternoon tea and dessert for the next three days! 😉 An abundance of cake will always get me excited….OR, you can feed a group of 12 people quite easily as a celebration cake.
- *For the cake*
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp + ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom
- 1 cup unsalted butter - softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- One large orange - zest only
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup milk
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- *For the frosting* - (multiply by two if you want to ice inside and out)
- ½ cup unsalted butter -softened
- ¼ cup cream cheese
- 3½ cups icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean pod - scraped for the seeds only
- One large orange - zest only
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- *To make the cake*
- Pre-heat oven to 170℃. Grease and line the base of two 18cmx18cm cake tins.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground cardamom.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Add in the sugar to the butter, and cream together until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer on low and add the orange zest, vanilla paste and the eggs (one at a time). Until just incorporated.
- With the mixer on low, add in ⅓ of the flour mixture. Continue mixing while pouring in the milk. Add in another ⅓ of the flour followed by the buttermilk and orange juice. Follow with the remaining ⅓ of the flour and mix to form a smooth batter. Don't over mix. You just want all the ingredients nicely incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pans. Bake until the cake is firm to touch, and most importantly, a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out well clean — mine took about 40-45 minutes but let your toothpick do the best test.
- Let the cakes cool on a wire rack before removing them from the pan.
- *To make the filling*
- In an electric mixer beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- With the mixer on low, carefully pour in the remaining ingredients. Once all of the ingredients are added, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Add in a teaspoon or two of milk, cream or orange juice if the mixture is too hard. Continue mixing until you are happy with the consistency.
- *Cake Assembly*
- Once the cakes are cooled completely, remove them from their tins.
- Carefully slice each of the cakes in half. Use four tooth picks at the north, south, east, west positions on the sides of each cake to help guide you in getting a nice even slice through the middle.
- Frost each layer of the cakes with a 0.5cm-1cm layer of the buttercream filling. Continue to frost the outside to your liking.
Ensure the cake is completely cooled before frosting!
Watch your cakes closely for cooking time, especially if you choose a different cake tin shape or size. A skewer/toothpick test is the best trick! It needs to come out clean when inserted completely into the centre.
The cake will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store in an airtight container to preserve freshness and moisture. It can easily be made the day before needed.