Orange Cake for the Birthday Girl
My youngest sister had one of those once a decade birthdays and invited my other sisters and I to celebrate with her in Aspen. Nearly every childhood summer vacation of ours included a few weeks in this idyllic ski town tucked in the Colorado Rockies. It was the perfect journey down memory lane for us plus my first time to see Aspen in the fall. Maddy requested an orange cake for the big bash. I think she wanted me to bake it the elevation of 8,000 feet. Uh, no thank you! Instead I mixed it up at home, added a thick decadent layer of icing, froze the whole shebang, and took it to the airport with my fingers crossed.
Me, Katie, Maddy, and Mary in our temporary Aspen home along the Roaring Fork.
I gained a few new muscles hauling this cake through two airports and on and off our flight. I kept it in the metal 9 x 13-inch pan for safekeeping which added some extra weight. As I placed my bag on the conveyor belt at our TSA check point, I mentioned that I had a cake in my carryon to the kind fellow scanning the bags. He didn’t bat an eye and the orange cake made it through. Everyone loved this rich, dense, and incredibly delicious cake. P.S. It freezes well. It travels well. It is sublime.
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- 1½ cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons orange extract (I used Penzey's)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 8-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
- 4½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with nonstick foil (or just grease with non-stick spray). Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Beat until well blended with a hand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
- When cake is cool, make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Beat in the zest, marmalade, and orange juice. Spread over cake.
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