I’m not great at cake decorating, so I have to rely on things like a rough frosting, glazing to give it an impressive cap, and shaping candied orange peels into roses in lieu of fancy frosted roses. It’s my goal to learn how to properly frost, with piping and using different tips to create flowers… but for now, I will DIY my way to a pretty cake. Not bad, right? I did the whole vertical cake thing again. I did say in my previous post that I had a whole series of vertical cakes planned for you. So here’s one more. It’s a twist on the classic Japanese shortcake, which is made up of light sponge cake, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries. It’s the tail end of winter, so strawberries aren’t exactly in season here on the East coast. There were strawberries available, but I decided to go with something in season. Oranges. I love the brightness and positive energy citruses bring to a cold and dreary winter. Not only is it loaded with vitamin C, the taste is unbeatable! I made a plain sponge cake, spread copious amounts of orange zest whipped cream, and rolled it all up.
If you follow me on Instagram and on Facebook, you’ll know that it was my husband’s birthday yesterday! One of his favorite cakes is the Japanese shortcake, and he loved my twist on it. We had a wonderful weekend dining at Myers and Chang, visiting friends with puppies, and cooking steak/salmon (steak for him, salmon for me). I don’t talk about him in every post, but his presence is usually here in some way. Ever wonder how I take photos of myself without clutching a remote? Alex lets me drag him away from his studies to get a shot with my hands in action, or with me presenting a food. I’m too lazy to set up the tripod, the trigger, or put it on timer, and focus to the exact spot… so Alex is the magician behind almost all the shots with me in it. He has been instrumental in helping me shape my blog, not just with photography. He’s the one encouraging me to put myself out there, to trust my writing, and to have confidence in my work. I love him dearly and I definitely would like to celebrate the day he entered this world.
It’s March!! How can that be? Just yesterday I was celebrating Christmas at home in California, kneading a large dough for two loaves of challah by hand because my parents don’t have a stand mixer, and now we’re preparing for March, the start of spring, and our upcoming trip to New Zealand!!! We’re finally going on our honeymoon. After we got married (June 2014), we took a 2-3 week trip to Asia, not for us but for our family. Actually, that’s not exactly true. We did stop in Japan to visit my best friend and to spend some time with just each other. That was great, and we call it our “mini-moon”. However, the main purpose of that trip was to visit our extended family. Both of our parents were born in China, so most of our extended family is still in China. Alex is also the only grandson for both sides of his family, so he is.. quite important, if you know what I mean. I got a lot of “it’s all on you” talks…. Eh… that’s at least a few years down the line.
We’re heading to New Zealand at the end of April, staying for two weeks. We’ll mostly be on the South Island, and we have a whole list of activities lined up: bungee jumping (DUH!), hiking on Mt. Cook, heli-hikes, cruises, dark water rafting, kayaking, swimming with dolphins, scuba diving – basically anything you can do in NZ!! We ordered our go pro and are prepping our gear for the journey. Thank goodness most of our gear is water sealed. And insured. Because who knows what will happen??!!! Now that it’s March, I feel like I can actually start to think about it and look forward to it. April is going to come by in a flash, and then suddenly it’ll be summer. ?!?!?
This is a vertical roll cake. You can check out this post to see more details on how to assemble it.
Top with anything. I candied some half orange slices and rolled them up to create a tiny little rose shape. I also candied some grated orange peel and sprinkled that around the edges. Caramel is a great complement to creamy orange and provides a lovely contrast to the white whipped cream frosting.
RECIPE: Orange Cream Vertical Shortcake with Caramel Glaze
If you want to use candied oranges and caramel glaze, make these ahead of time. You will need them to dry/cool down.
6 egg yolks,
5 egg whites
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1| Line a jelly roll pan or deep baking dish with parchment paper. Prepare a clean tea towel and sprinkle powdered sugar over it. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400F.
2| Sift cake flour. Set aside.
3| Whisk together egg yolks and 1 tsp sugar until pale yellow and thick.
4| Whisk egg whites until foamy. Add in remaining sugar and beat until glossy peaks form.
5| Combine: Fold yolk mixture into egg white mixture until just combined. Add cake flour and fold until just incorporated.
6| Pour melted butter in and mix to combine. Pour batter into jelly roll pan.
7| Bake for 7-8 minutes, until toothpick test comes out clean.
8| Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto your prepared tea towel. Gently remove parchment paper. Gently roll, starting from the shorter edge, to create a loose roll. This shapes the cake without causing any cracks. Cool completely to room temperature.
9| Make caramel glaze and whipped cream filling:
Salted Caramel Glaze
2/3 cup heavy cream, warmed (I heat it in a saucepan until it is warm to the touch. Set aside for later).
1 cup granulated sugar
7 tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp sea salt
10| In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat up sugar until it is melted. Swirl around pan with a wooden spoon to help with this process.
11| When all the sugar has melted, add in butter, 2-3 cubes at a time. Keep swirling to melt butter.
12| Turn heat on low and gradually add in warm heavy cream, swirling after each addition. The mixture will bubble so be careful. Stir in sea salt.
13| Let cool to room temperature.
Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy cream, cold
4 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp freshly grated orange zest
fresh orange slices, cut into thin pieces. Dab with a napkin to absorb excess juice.
14| In a cold bowl, whip cream, sugar, and zest if using, until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill in fridge.
15| When cake roll is at room temperature, gently unroll it. Spread whipped cream across the surface. Add fresh orange slices, if using.
16| Assemble the cake: this is the tricky part. Please be patient with me as I try to explain the process.
- Using a knife, cut cake, with whipped cream, into 1-2″ strips lengthwise, hotdog style. Start from the short edge and run the knife all the way to the other short edge, and try to be as straight as possible. I like to put a ruler next to one side so that I can get equally wide strips.
- Start with one strip and roll. When you get the the end, simply pick it up and place it right on top of the edge of another strip. Roll the new strip over the roll you have already. Repeat with every strip. Soon, your roll will be big enough that a new strip won’t even cover one circumference of the roll.
- When you’ve reached the last roll, simply gently tip it over and place it on its circle-face on a plate. Now when you cut into it, you will have vertical stripes, a result of the numerous rolls you produced.
17| Finish by frosting a crumb coat – take a little bit of frosting and simply spread it, using an offset spatula, across the surface. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
18| Spread rest of whipped cream frosting across surface.
19| When caramel is at room temperature, pour gently over frosting. Top with candied orange slices.
Candied Orange Slices
1.5 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 orange, sliced thinly. I cut half the orange slices in half to create semi-circles
In a wide saucepan, boil sugar and water for 1 minute. Carefully add in thin orange slices and push with a spoon to submerge completely. Cover and cook at a simmer for 1 hour. Make sure water level does not dry off (if it does, add in some more water). When slices are translucent, they are ready. Spread peels on a wire rack over a backing sheet with parchment paper and let excess syrup drip. Let dry for 5 hours. Store in an airtight container.