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Edward Kostyra's Birthday Cake

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This orange-curd-filled cake topped with Mrs. Milman's chocolate frosting was Martha's father's favorite. Make it as a birthday treat for someone special in your life.

  • Yield: Makes one 8-inch layer cake

Source: Martha Bakes, Episode MBLB1001

Ingredients

For the Frosting

  • 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 2 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

For the Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

For the Orange Curd

  • 12 large egg yolks
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks), plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

Directions

  1. Make the frosting: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Pour over chocolate and let sit, undisturbed, for 3 minutes. Gently whisk until combined and smooth. Whisk in the corn syrup.

  2. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer ganache to refrigerator and chill, stirring frequently and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula, until slightly stiff and cool enough to spread, about 1 hour. If frosting becomes too firm, briefly place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until desired consistency is reached. Frosting should be smooth and spreadable, but not runny.

  3. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

  6. Make the orange curd: Combine yolks, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let mixture come to a vigorous simmer and cook, continually scraping sides of pan, for 2 minutes.

  7. Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. If desired, strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until chilled and very firm, at least 2 hours or up to 1 1/2 weeks.

  8. Assemble cake: Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes to make level. Split each layer into two, for a total of four. Place bottom layer on a rotating cake stand and with an offset spatula, carefully top with 1/2 cup of orange curd, leaving a 1-inch border. Place the second cake layer on top, spread with another 3/4 cup of the orange curd. Repeat with the third layer; top with the final cake layer. Insert 3 wooden skewers into the top of the cake to secure.

  9. For the crumb coat, spread the entire cake with a thin coat of frosting using an offset spatula. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

  10. Spread the entire cake with remaining frosting, swirling to coat in a decorative fashion. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered with a cake dome. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Reviews Add a comment

  • breppabwreast
    23 APR, 2016
    I love this, but shouldn't the printed version say medium low not medium high for the curd?
    Reply
  • MS10880639
    11 OCT, 2015
    The cake is okay, but I prefer a moister cake with a tighter crumb that I've found in other recipes. The biggest disappointment was in the frosting. Absolutely, disastrous!!! I'm not sure if the intent was to make a spreadable solid frosting or a chocolate glaze. I realise that it's a ganache but after following it to the "T" this ganache simply would not solidify. In fact, even after 4 hours in the freezer, the stuff would not harden into an easy spreadable frosting. Any suggestions?
    Reply
  • Lex
    19 MAY, 2014
    My new favorite cake! I took other commenters' advice about the frosting and cut the cream down to 2 cups, that was a mistake, the frosting is a bit too hard now. Made everything else exactly as the recipe stated and it came out perfectly. I used 2 8" pans 2" tall and it barely baked up to the rim, the orange curd is DELICIOUS and I'm glad I have some extra.
    Reply
  • Katie Geno
    22 APR, 2014
    Very tasty, if fussy. Orange curd was great, though I think it doesn't need as much butter as the recipe called for; I only got through two sticks of the cubed butter before the butter, plus the stirring, brought the curd down to room temperature and the curd could no longer melt the butter. Absolutely delicious, though, and holds a very nice shape. Like other reviewers, I reduced the cream in the ganache down to 1C, and got a firm but spreadable (and pipeable) ganache. Will make again.
    Reply
  • Big Timus
    1 FEB, 2014
    Not sure what people are doing wrong. My frosting turned out as expected. Make sure you are stir it a couple of times when you are chilling it in the fridge and also don't place it in the fridge until it reaches room temp. I used 8" pan from Williams and Sonoma which are pretty deep (2") and mine cake didn't overlflow. I haven't tasted it yet but the only thing that went wrong was that one of my layers started to fall apart when I was cutting it in two.
    Reply
  • Adrianaz
    15 JAN, 2014
    If using an 8 inch pan, make sure it is at least 2 inches deep, otherwise the cake will ooze out of the top. Otherwise, a 9 inch pan works too. The frosting worked well for me. I used heavy cream and a darker chocolate.
    Reply
  • bogster76
    22 SEP, 2013
    I made this cake for my 3 year-old`s birthday and it came out DELICIOUS. I would definitely make it again! I have read some reviews before I decided which cake I was going to make and somebody was saying the ganache came out too runny. Someone else said it was perfect. I have to agree with LEAH7058 - the ganache was way too runny. Let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours and it still was runny. Next time, I would definitely try using less and maybe go with what she suggested. :-)
    Reply
  • kingscrown
    15 SEP, 2013
    I've made the frosting recipe many times. Definitely way too much cream. Used 2 cups and still my frosting is pretty soft. Cake batter is too much for 2-8 inch pans. Maybe 2-9 inch pans would work better. I just put the extra batter into a mini loaf pan and we sampled the baked mini cake before the big cake unveiling for my son's birthday. He loves orange chocolate and this cake with it's filling and chocolate frosting really hit the spot. It was super yummy. Would definitely make again.
    Reply
  • Cdiep1
    30 MAY, 2013
    This cake came out perfect I added a teaspoon of almond extract to it and i frosted with chocolate hazelnut frosting it taste heavenly! Thank you!
    Reply
  • Leah7058
    13 APR, 2013
    I think there is a mistake in the frosting recipe--I used 1 1/3 cups of cream and it worked perfectly! This is the same ratio of cream to chocolate as my other ganache recipes.
    Reply