Friday, January 31, 2020

Strawberry Orange Heart Cake for Valentine's Day

Strawberry Orange Cake, Orange Cake, Strawberry Cake, Valentines Cake, Heart Cake, Pink Heart Cake, Valentines Desserts, High Altitude Baking, High Altitude Cake RecipesStrawberries and oranges are so delicious together, so for a Valentine's Day cake this year, I paired them in this beautiful cake shaped like a heart.  Did you know that you can make a pretty heart-shaped cake without a special heart-shaped pan?  Read on to find out how.

The cake is so soft and moist, flavored with the oranges and juice from canned mandarin oranges, as well as a little orange extract.  For an extra hit of orange flavor, you could brush the cakes with a little orange liqueur, or maybe spread a bit of sweet orange marmalade in between the layers.

For the buttercream, I reduced fresh strawberries into a jammy compote, and then whipped the cooled compote into the buttercream.  The natural flavor and pretty pink color is so delicate, and I love the little specks of strawberries throughout the frosting.  A few orange slices and strawberries on top make a lovely and simple garnish.

To make the heart shape, you don't need to have a heart-shaped pan as long as you have square and round pans that are the same diameter; when you cut a round cake in half, and arrange the two half-circles on two sides of a square, they form a heart.  I baked my cake in two 6-inch round pans and two 6-inch square pans so that after assembling all the cakes into two layers, it was about 9 inches in diameter and 5 inches high.  Since I might only use a heart-shaped pan once a year, and don't really want it taking up room in the cupboard, I like having the option of making a special shape using just the pans that I already have and use often.




Strawberry Orange Cake, Orange Cake, Strawberry Cake, Valentines Cake, Heart Cake, Pink Heart Cake, Valentines Desserts, High Altitude Baking, High Altitude Cake Recipes

Strawberry Orange Cake, Orange Cake, Strawberry Cake, Valentines Cake, Heart Cake, Pink Heart Cake, Valentines Desserts, High Altitude Baking, High Altitude Cake Recipes

Strawberry Orange Cake, Orange Cake, Strawberry Cake, Valentines Cake, Heart Cake, Pink Heart Cake, Valentines Desserts, High Altitude Baking, High Altitude Cake Recipes

Strawberry Orange Cake, Orange Cake, Strawberry Cake, Valentines Cake, Heart Cake, Pink Heart Cake, Valentines Desserts, High Altitude Baking, High Altitude Cake Recipes

Strawberry Orange Cake, Orange Cake, Strawberry Cake, Valentines Cake, Heart Cake, Pink Heart Cake, Valentines Desserts, High Altitude Baking, High Altitude Cake Recipes

Strawberry Orange Cake, Orange Cake, Strawberry Cake, Valentines Cake, Heart Cake, Pink Heart Cake, Valentines Desserts, High Altitude Baking, High Altitude Cake Recipes




Baking Notes:
  • All of my cakes are tested and baked at high altitude (5,000 feet in Denver, CO).
  • If you don't have buttermilk, pour 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar into a measuring cup and then add whole milk up to the 1 1/2 cup line.  Microwave on high for one minute to curdle the milk.  You can also swap 1/2 cup orange juice for the same amount of milk/buttermilk for more orange flavor in your cake.  I used the orange juice that I drained from the canned Mandarin oranges.
  • You might wonder why I used canned oranges instead of fresh, and it's really just because fresh oranges can have a tough, pithy skin that's undesirable in baked goods.  Canned Mandarin oranges are soft and juicy, and work really well in this recipe.
  • To make the heart shape, you'll need two 6-inch square pans and two 6-inch round pans to make a two-layer heart cake that's about 9 inches in diameter and 5 inches tall once assembled.  (If you like, you could make a one-layer heart cake by baking the batter in one 8 or 9-inch square pan and one 8 or 9-inch round pan, but the assembled cake will be much larger in diameter and will need to be frosted on a large baking sheet or serving platter.  Using the smaller cake pans keeps the assembled cake a more standard sized-layer cake.)  After the cakes are cooled, you'll make the heart by cutting the round cakes in half right down the center.  Arrange the half circles of cake against two sides of the square cake (joining them together with a little buttercream), and you'll have a heart.
  • Before frosting the cakes, I've also pricked them with a toothpick and brushed them with a small amount of Cointreau or orange-flavored liqueur.  This is optional, but really delicious.  You could also add a little orange marmalade in between the layers.

Strawberry Orange Heart Cake
printable

Cake.
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk (see note)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 8 ounces canned Mandarin oranges (in juice, not syrup), drained and chopped

Buttercream.
  • 8 ounces strawberries, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Cake.
Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease two 6-inch square pans and two 6-inch round pans with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined, then beat on medium speed for two minutes.  Divide the batter between the pans. (You should put slightly more batter in the square pans, which have greater volume, to keep all your baked cakes the same height.)

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Cool the cakes in the pans completely.

Buttercream.
In a saucepan, combine the strawberries, granulated sugar, water and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy, and reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Cool completely and puree.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter with the (completely cooled) strawberry reduction for one minute.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder and salt.  Increase the speed to medium and whip for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy.  Add the milk, only if needed, to thin the buttercream a little for desired consistency.

Assembly.
Remove the cooled cakes from the pans.  Keep the square cakes whole, but cut the round cakes right down the middle, so that you have two squares and four half-circles.

Place one square cake on a large cake pedestal, and arrange two half-circles on two sides of the square to form a heart.  Use a little buttercream on the cut edge of the half-circles to secure them to the square cake.  Frost with a layer of buttercream on top, and then arrange the second square and half-circles on top to form a two-layer heart cake.

Frost all over with a thin crumb coat of buttercream, then chill for 30 minutes.  Frost with a final layer of buttercream.

Garnish the cake with fresh strawberries and fresh or canned orange slices.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen
 

Strawberry Orange Cake, Orange Cake, Strawberry Cake, Valentines Cake, Heart Cake, Pink Heart Cake, Valentines Desserts, High Altitude Baking, High Altitude Cake Recipes

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