Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ginger Cake with Candied Oranges and Orange Cream

I'm elated to share with all of you that the ongoing holiday bonanza around here has finally concluded. We had our second Christmas celebration on Monday complete with roasted pig, tamales, and 3 decadent desserts.

As happy as I am to be done with all the non-stop cooking and cleaning, I'm a little sad to see some things come to an end, such as putting away the tree.  I bought a new artificial tree this year, which I'm really enjoying.  You see there was this moving incident in which some unnamed person (HDD) was being too lazy to move our old one and it got given away.  So I decided last year to buy a fancy real one, it was tall, full, and looked glorious all decorated.  Until two weeks later when all of the branches fell like a cake yanked from the oven too soon.  Bulbs started falling off on the tile floor and I was cleaning up glass every other day so the dogs wouldn't cut their feet. 

In previous years I've left the tree selection up for family debate and usually I'm overridden, so this year I didn't leave the tree up for discussion.  You see sometimes you just have to be the head honcho in charge and boss around the minions.  I informed the troops I'm the boss around here for a reason.  I take all the decorations down from the garage, I hang all the ornaments in an orderly, perfectly spaced fashion, I'm stuck with making sure all the most breakable ones are located high enough from little fingers, I make sure the lights are spaced 1.48 inches apart, I pack it all away when the fun is over, I vacuum pine needles for three weeks, so back the hell off I'm the boss.  (I know, super adultish to throw a tantrum.)  (Probably from lack of naps I might add.)

So when it came to deciding on what desserts to serve for the 6th, I put my boss crown on and made some executive decisions. I knew right off the bat I would serve a lime, raspberry swirl cheesecake, a pan of chocolate, pecan chess bars, but for the third I just decided to wing it. This cake has a few steps, but all of them can be done the night before and the cake can be assembled when needed.   

I don't make resolutions, but I am resolute on making some changes this year.  Don't fret though; those changes have nothing to do with giving up dessert.

Ginger Cake with Candied Oranges and Orange Cream 
1 cup milk 
1/2 cup molasses 
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil 
3 large eggs 
1 teaspoon orange extract 
1 cup light brown sugar 
1 cup granulated sugar 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground ginger 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
Pinch ground cardamom 
Pinch salt 

Candied Cuties (Mandarin Oranges): 
3 mandarin oranges, sliced 1/4-inch thick (ends discarded)
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1 1/2 cups water 

Orange Cream: 
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
1/2 teaspoon orange extract 
Zest from 1 mandarin orange 
2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
8 ounces mascarpone cheese 

Candied Cutie 
Toffee bits 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Combine milk, molasses, oil, eggs, orange extract, brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt in a mixing bowl and mix until combined with no lumps. 

Pour the cake mixture evenly into two 8-inch or two 9-inch pans that are prepared with butter and flour or sprayed with no-stick spray and lined with parchment rounds (my favorite). I used two 9-inch pans and got thinner cakes, if you’d like thicker ones use 8-inch pans. 

Bake both pans on the same rack for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Note: 8-inch pans will take a few minutes longer to bake.

Add orange slices, sugar and water to a skillet and bring to a boil and let boil on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until the liquid is thickened and syrupy. Remove pan from the heat, cover and let steep for a few hours. Remove the oranges to a rack to dry for a few hours and save the syrup. 

Combine heavy cream, orange extract, zest, and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and mix until stiff peaks form. Fold mascarpone into whipped cream. Set aside. 

To assemble cake, place one layer of cake on a plate, drizzle with half of the syrup, spread on half of the cream, add a layer of candied cuties (reserve 1 for top), add the second layer of cake, drizzle with second half of syrup, spread on the rest of the cream, top with a sprinkling of toffee bits and a candied orange. 

(The toffee bits added a little crunch, but are completely optional.)

Hoping all my friends caught in the Polar Vortex are keeping warm, I've seen pictures on the news and am reminded how grateful I am to live in a place that rarely dips below 30.



  1. Yum, orange cream! And I totally support the "I'm the boss, we do it my way philosophy" especially when it comes to choosing desserts!

  2. Love your 2nd Christmas celebration...molasses cake with orange cream sounds divine!

  3. Gorgeous cake, I love the candied oranges and orange cream!

  4. We always take our tree down on New Year's Day. I don't know how we got started with that tradition, but have been doing it for decades. Does kind of make for a short holiday season, though. Anyway, love this cake! It looks great, and I'll bet the flavors are wonderful. Thanks.

  5. I'm sure the oranges and gingerbread pair quite well! I love the candied oranges!! YUM :D

  6. oooo!! I bet oranges and gingerbread go awesome together!

  7. Happy New Year Gina! looking forward to seeing, if not tasting, all your beautiful cakes in 2014!!! It's a good thing you're the boss ;)