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Orange Chiffon Layer Cake

This impressive cake calls for a celebration! Brightened with tangy blood-orange zest, the cake is layered with cream cheese frosting and orange marmalade. Sliced kumquats add a decorative touch.

Ingredients:

For the cake: 

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour  
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar  
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder  
  • 1 tsp. salt  
  • 1 tsp. dried blood-orange zest, finely ground in a spice grinder 
  • 1/2 cup canola oil  
  • 6 whole eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites  
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice  
  • 1/4 cup water  
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar  
  •   

For the cream cheese frosting: 

  • 1 lb. cream cheese   
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter   
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar  
  • 2 tsp. orange blossom extract  
  •   
  • 1 jar (12 oz.) orange marmalade 
  • Thinly sliced kumquats for garnish (optional) 

Directions:

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

To make the cake, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans and line each with a parchment paper round.



Over a sheet of parchment paper, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and blood-orange zest. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, egg yolks, orange juice and water until well blended. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until the batter is smooth. 


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whites into the batter until almost blended, then gently fold in the remaining whites until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading evenly. 



Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edges of the pans and carefully invert the cakes onto the rack. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until smooth and no lumps of sugar are visible. Add the orange blossom extract and beat until combined.

To assemble the cake, using a serrated knife, cut both cakes in half horizontally. Place one cake layer, cut side up, on a cake plate and spread with half of the marmalade. Top with a second cake layer, cut side down, and spread with a 1/4-inch layer of the cream cheese frosting. Top with a third cake layer, cut side down, and spread with the remaining orange marmalade. Top with the remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with sliced kumquats. Serves 12.



Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Baking, by Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2006).