Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vanilla cranberry layer cake with orange buttercream

There are no words to describe my love for this cake, so I'm not going to try. I selfishly thought about keeping it to myself (especially after creating a creamy frosting that tastes just like an orange creamsicle) but thanks to your encouragement on my instagram account, I decided it is too special to hide away.
I hope you will try this recipe, it may look intimidating but it really isn't hard. Just a few steps to put together this towering beauty!

Recipe: Vanilla cranberry layer cake with orange "buttercreamsicle" frosting
Recipe source: Emmy in her Element

Note: This cake is easiest to make when prepared a day ahead, or many hours before serving. If possible, plan to make the day before, or at least morning of.

{the cake}
2 boxes white cake mix

{the filling}
2 bags of fresh cranberries (each bag holding 3 cups of cranberries)
1 13 oz jar of cherry preserves
1/4 cup fresh orange juice and 1 tablespoon orange zest
3 /4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt

{the frosting}
pinch of salt
5 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 cubes of butter- room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 tablespoon of orange zest

In a medium sauce pot, mix 3/4 cup sugar, cherry preserves, orange zest, pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup fresh orange juice. Bring to a boil on med-high for 5-8 minutes. Stir consistently. Cranberries will burst and soften.
Remove 3/4 of a cup of mixture and place in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup fresh cranberries. This will be your cake topping.  Pour remaining mixture in another bowl and refrigerate both bowls for 5-8 hours. This will help the mixture set like jam.

Prepare 2 boxes of white cake mix. Here is my trick for a fool proof way to help cakes come out of pans without sticking: Make sure to grease pans with Crisco shortening. Then spray with pam baking spray (this contains flour). The cakes will come out without a crumb left in the pan!
 Pour evenly into 3, 9" round cake pans. (I only have 2, so I baked 2 cakes and refrigerated the batter until I could use another pan). Cool cakes completely and place in a zip lock bag and freeze.
 Why freeze? Frosting frozen cakes makes it so much easier because crumbs will not smear into your frosting... trust me, it's the best way!

Day of cake making:
Prepare frosting by mixing 2 1/2 cubes room temperature butter, a pinch of salt, 2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice, 1/2 tablespoon orange zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and 5 cups of powdered sugar. Whip frosting until smooth and creamy.

Remove 3 cake layers from the freezer, and pull out of the bags. Prepare a cake stand with tin foil, to make frosting more clean and beautiful. See example here.

Place first cake layer on stand. Spread half of your cranberry mixture over the cake. If you are worried about the frosting mixing in, try to keep a 1/2-1 inch space between the filling and the outside of the cake.
Place second layer on first layer. Repeat by spreading remaining cranberry mixture on the second layer.
Place final layer on cake.

Spoon a large amount of frosting on the top of the cake. You will want to frost with a butter knife from the top down. Make sure you have plenty of frosting to work with, spreading the frosting from top to bottom working quickly over the layers. Try your best to not smear the cranberry sauce into the frosting. This shouldn't happen as long as you are using enough at a time.

Once cake is completely frosted, remove tin foil layers. You will have a cleanly frosted cake.
Now spoon remaining cranberry mixture in the top center. I like to cut a few orange peel shavings to curl on top to add some contrasting color and let people know what's in the cake. The cake will be chilled as the layers were frozen, they will thaw quickly now that cake is frosted.

Slice and enjoy!

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