Last few months passed by in a glimpse.Sometimes, I want to stop the clock ticking and freeze the moment. I was so busy to even come and check the comments on my blog or update it.There are so many things, I have to tell you all about my trip to Boston on long weekend, our trip to Canada and how excited we were to watch Formula One Grand Prix. And, a birthday surprise that I planned for my husband. It takes a lot of lies, poker face to plan a surprise. It was so tough for me to keep a secret. But, I somehow managed to keep it up. He could smell that something was fishy when we were at the place for the surprise.
I had planned everything in advance in such a way that he couldn’t find out anything. I had made a list of dishes that I would be serving and the cake flavor had to be decided. I started with making a list of friends I were planning to invite. Then, I went on evite and made invitations and sent them out. I had to make sure that the friends are also a part of this surprise.They all were wholeheartedly ready to support me.
The day before the surprise, I had taken off at work and wanted to prepare everything in advance, after all I was cooking for about twenty people. Not, only that I had to hide everything from my darling husband. What if he found out.
I went grocery shopping with one of my friend and made sure I got everything I needed for the surprise. I had made a list of dishes I was cooking, I had made a list of what I have to remember to carry to the park. I had kept the gathering in very lovely park close to our home.
Lucky me, my husband was working on Saturday, day before the party. So, I could catch up on all the last minute details while he was at work. The food was ready and I had kept some of the stuff in the friends car. Some things, I had planned to keep in my car while my husband was busy getting ready to leave for the music concert. Yes, he was told that we are going to a music concert in the park. He believed me , that his problem.
I had asked his friends to come a little early, so that when we arrive they all are ready to give him surprise. It went exactly the way I wanted it to. The friends were on time, the food tasted great and the cake was the highlight of the afternoon, and everyone loved it. I didn’t really plan any games or anything because I wanted people to have time to chit chat and talk to each other. Overall, it went really well.
Only, that after the party we came home to curry filled car. I had placed the red curry in the trunk, it spilled a little bit. Till today, we can smell a little bit of red curry. We are hoping, the smell would just go away.
Everything turned out to be really good. Everyone loved the cake. I could not take my eyes off that cake; as I had no idea how I would decorate the cake. But, the at the end it came our looking pretty.
Here’s to the delicious cake.
Recipe for the orange cake adapted from here
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 8 ounce cream cheese package, room temperature
1 1/4 or 1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
zest from 2 oranges
1 cup of orange juice fresh
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional – You can add cranberries, chocolate chips, etc in the batter. I liked it the way I made it. Also, I made the cake with 1 1/4 cup of sugar. But, you can make it with 1 1/2 cup which is ideal measurement.
Before any baking take out all the ingredients from the refrigerator. Everything should be at room temperature for best results.
Preheat the oven at 350 F.
Take the butter in the mixer bowl and with the help of paddle attachment cream the butter then cream and sugar altogether. Once it looks light and fluffy, add the orange zest and mix it. One by one add the eggs, at a low speed and mix it till the all the eggs are well incorporated.
Mix in the vanilla in the orange juice.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. With mixer at low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and orange juice, one by one until everything is mixed well and get well incorporated.
Divide the batter into buttered cake pan, if you are using two pans. If not, then pour all the batter in one pan. Bake it for 45-50 mins or when toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave them for few minutes and then remove from on a wire rack and let them cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Mousse Frosting
1 1/2 to 2 cups of milk or dark chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate)
1 1/2 cup of Heavy whipping cream
1 cup of Chocolate Glaze (method below)
Fruits for garnish
Chocolate decorations or chocolate curls
Heat the heavy cream on a stove. Let it simmer and come to boil. Once it is warm enough, take it off the stove. Add the chocolate chips to the cream and mix it really well until everything is well incorporated and you have smooth chocolate cream.
Let it cool in the fridge and then when you are ready to frost, with the help of a whisk attachment whisk the cream until it is fluffy and doubles in volume. Your frosting is ready. This is an easy chocolate mousse or whipped chocolate cream. You can frost your cake immediately or store the frosting in the fridge but whisk it anytime you take it out of the fridge before frosting if you have stored it in the fridge.
So, to assemble the cake.
Take the cake, cut it into two layers or if you have made two separate layers then frost them. Place a small dollop of frosting on the cake board in middle so that the cake sticks to it. Place one of the layers, and with the help of a piping bag spread frosting on the cake (piping bag makes the work easier but if you do not have one or do not want to use one then simply spread the frosting with the help for spatula). It’s okay if the extra frosting is falling off on the sides. Just leave it as it is. Then cover it with the second layer of cake and spread lots of frosting to cover the cake. This is crumb coating. I usually place the cake in the fridge after this step and then spread extra frosting. (Crumb coating helps to frost the cake faster without any crumbs sticking to frosting or spatula and you have smooth frosting).
I use a revolving cake stand and with the help of spatula at around ninety degrees angle, keep spreading the frosting until it looks smooth and take off extra frosting with every spatula. Make it even.
Lot of times, my cakes would not be even, there will extra frosting on one side and little lesson the other side and so it looks sloppy. But, I have learnt my lesson. It comes with practice. Once , the cake is completely frosted , let it go back to the cool place i.e. refrigerator.
Meanwhile, lets make Chocolate glaze recipe.
There will be some leftover chocolate frosting. With the remaining frosting add 1/4 cup chocolate chips and melt it in the microwave or double boiler.It will look shiny and smooth and liquid. Once, the cake is cold enough, take it out place it on a wire rack, place a dish almost bigger size from the cake below the wire rack so that extra glaze run out wire rack and gets collected in the dish. Drizzle the chocolate glaze (I used a pouted cup) and let it spread on its own , drizzle until it the whole cake is covered. Then, let it set in the fridge.
Meanwhile, chop the fruits like Kiwi, apricots, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc. of your own choice. And, garnish the cake as you want. I placed them randomly and I had chopped them in different shapes as well.
Make chocolate decorations. Let it rest in the fridge.
Until then, make chocolate decorations. Chop the fruits.
Garnish the cake with fruits and the chocolate decorations.
The happy husband and the happy me!