Feb 8, 2010

True Orange Genoise

I only made two mistakes with this cake: one that was fixable, and one that wasn't. Well, they were actually both fixable, if by fixing you mean starting all over again. Still, despite the starting over, the multiple steps, and, of course, the difficulty in getting Seville oranges, I would definitely make this cake again. If I'm ever so fortunate as to see Seville oranges in any store, I'll buy them up immediately, knowing that I can put them to good use.
Vicki sent me a ton of oranges, and if I'd been a better orange shepherd, I'd have had plenty to give to Hanaâ, who also lives in Minnesota. But I was a poor tender of the sensitive oranges, and I ended up tossing the moldy ones. I squeezed the rest, and made the orange curd last week.
This is the orange curd against which all other orange curds should be judged. OK, I've only made it one other time, and that was Rose's recipe too, from her Christmas Cookie book, but the Seville curd is just so amazingly intense. I still have a little left in the refrigerator, and I haven't yet decided what's worthy of it. Bagels? Toast? Not unless they're first-rate themselves.
The genoise is my fifth or sixth, so I wasn't even anticipating any problems with it, but this time it failed. It seemed fine. My first clue that something might be wrong was when I noticed it didn't come even close to filling the pan halfway.
And when it came out of the oven, it was a sad-looking little disc, barely an inch tall. After it cooled off, I wrapped in plastic and put it in the freezer, so in case I ever feel like eating a probably tough, and definitely puny cake, I'll know just where to find it.
The second try turned out fine.
I think my initial problem was probably underbeating the eggs, and I think that was because I was getting tired of hearing the high-pitched whirr of the KitchenAid on high speed. (I outsmarted myself, though, because I ended up beating them for almost ten minutes the second time, just to make sure). I wonder if we should all be wearing earmuffs when we bake genoise cakes. After my second try, I wrapped the cake in StretchTite and went to bed.
The only things left for Sunday were the orange-Triple Sec syrup
and the ganache.
I accidentally took some milk chocolate from the freezer instead of dark chocolate. After the ganache was cooling, I noticed that it was really anemic looking.
"Why," I said to myself, "that looks like milk chocolate." In my best Sherlock Holmesean manner, I checked the freezer and noticed that the milk chocolate baggie was smaller than it had been, while the dark chocolate was untouched. So I melted some dark chocolate and added the milk chocolate ganache to it until it was the right more or less consistency.
Now comes the hard part.
Cutting the cake into two small layers is always a challenge, but it went all right this time. (See the bread in the background? I made Pain a l'Ancienne this weekend, which I will blog about on the bread blog, as soon as I get around to it). I will say that bread is way less fussy than cake. Finally, I get to use the orange curd.
And then quickly put a thin layer of ganache on the top and sides. The texture was perfect when I started but began to harden just as I was almost done.
Drat! I forgot to use my new cake turntable.
I still had a little milk chocolate ganache left, so I drizzled that on top of the cake. The color and texture were just enough different to allow the drizzle to stand out. I forgot to dry the oranges last night, so I didn't have that extra bit of decoration, but really, have you ever said to yourself, "That cake would have been just about perfect if it had had a couple of slices of dried orange on top?" I didn't think so.
When I told a friend of mine what cake I was planning to make this weekend, she made a little face. She said she didn't like fruit and chocolate together--she liked fruit, and she liked chocolate; she just didn't like them together. Chacun a son gout, I always say, but I don't understand how you could like orange and chocolate, and not like this cake. The chocolate--especially the dark chocolate, I'm glad I didn't keep the milk chocolate ganache--is such a lovely foil to the sweet-tart orange flavors. Although I don't usually order dessert at restaurants, I would order this--if only anyone other than me had it on their menu.


Jim: "I like the chocolate and orange together. The orange flavor is really strong, but not too strong for the chocolate. The texture was grainier than I expected, but I still liked it."
Tony: "Delicious!"
Rachel: "Excellent!"


Melinda said...

Marie, it looks marvellous! And I admire you for remaking the genoise cake when you were so unhappy with the first one. If it were me, I would have had a hissy fit and ripped it to shreds and gone off to bed. (Your readers are very lucky I am not you. There would be no blog posts, most likely!)
It sounds delicious to me with the orange curd and dark chocolate ganache. The Seville oranges have been in the shops only recently as it is the season for them in Spain. The British love home made marmalade, and the Seville orange makes wonderful marmalade because the orange peel has no pesticdes on them. They disappear quickly from the shops, in only about two weeks.
But, we may have Seville oranges, but I have yet to see a Meyer Lemon here. I want to try one so bad, too!

Bunny said...

I would adore this cake. Chocolate and orange are so wonderful together. I've never seen orange curd before, I can't wait to make it. Wonderful Cake Marie!

Lois B said...

I have to make the orange curd with Seville oranges next year. This looks wonderful.

I'm sad to say that my cake resembled your first one, and you are a more dedicated baker than I.

doughadear said...

Lovely cake Marie! What a difference in height in your second genoise. I get really upset when something I make doesn't turn out right so I remake right away so that I can forget about the failure. Now not to take away from you lovely cake but I'm really eyeing the Pain a l'Ancienne in the background.

Monica said...

You made another cake? Points for you Marie! Like Melinda, I would have quit while ahead and gone to bed to sulk.

The cake looks yummy.. I made this last weekend, so seeing it again in pictures has me itching to make the curd AGAIN!

And tip: on bagels, with cream cheese and the curd on top - DELISH. *licking fingers*

Virginia Taylors said...

Jim has just giving me insight. I said the cake was dry but grainy texture is a much better description! Your cake is beautiful.

Jenn said...

Marie - great post as always. Points for you for remaking the cake. Mine turned uot 1 inch tall too but I didn't remake it. Too lazy yesterday! I will post my entry tonight when I get home.

Vicki said...

Your lovely looking bread is begging for the leftover orange
curd! Beautiful looking cake Marie.

evil cake lady said...

I vote your bread and your curd should have a clandestine meeting, sometime around midnight, in your mouth. Maybe with a little butter.

I looked at my tiny little 1 1/4 inch genoise, and said, damn, how can I make this work? I admire your dedication to making another cake! You could use your tiny layer for a trifle.

Hanaâ said...

Kudos to you for your perseverance. I would have made another one too because it doesn’t take that long and you can make it instantly (the eggs are heated anyway so no need to bring them to room temp; same thing for the butter because it’s melted anyway). Your curd looks beautiful. It’s very orange. Mine was more yellow-ish. I’m glad you and Jim liked it. I’ll pay more attention to the cake tonight and see if I can feel any graininess in the cake. I did use Wondra flour (my first time but I think I prefer all cake flour; I haven’t tried the cake flour/corn starch mix yet).

I LOVE the fact that you like caramelized milk solids too. Now I don’t feel so weird anymore :o)

Rachelino said...

Marie- Your cake looks beautiful! I was looking forward to the fried out orange slices and sliced an entire navel, only to have discovered the pilot light was out in the oven and the house smelled like gas. So into the trash they went. Then my oven needed to be disconnected, so I won't have a complete report on this cake till later this week. Not one finished component of this cake! Am I a Not-So-Heavenly Baker or what?

Rachelino said...

ha. DRIED out orange slices I meant. But I am sure someone has fried orange slices on a menu somewhere!

Kathleen said...

This cake looks divine! Orange and chocolate are the perfect combination on a great cake.

I had to look up Seville oranges to learn just what they are. I read they are also called bitter orange and sour orange.

I was just given a dozen sour oranges and I plan on making marmalade, as this is the orange of choice for making this preserve. I want to save some for making curd, after seeing your lovely photo.

gartblue said...

I really would have sulked and gone of to bed .. you're such a dedicated baker, I'm so impressed.

I'm always edgy when using eggs as leavneing in cakes that I always overbeat the eggs. I think I let it beat for close to 8-9 minutes, maybe 10. and the noise! I agree with you.

the cake looks perfect and moist and I could smell the orange, 2 continents away. Mine dissapeared before i could blink.


Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

Big Smiles Toni! i'm smiling my way through all of your postings. i'm wishing we could all meet somewhere fun. naturally hector thinks that should be hawaii. toni, that littlest of your children has the happiest face ever.

i put my hands to rest on my hips tonight and tried to figure out if they had gotten bigger or my waist smaller. still not sure.

Mendy said...


Your cake looks really great Marie! I've been making ice cream with my curd.

Looking forward to your Pain a l'Ancienne post!

Wafae said...

Marie, your cake looks splendid. the curd's color looks very vivid, I'm glad you used dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate for the ganache. I personally used 72% cocoa choc. with a bit of added sugar. I don't mind the bitterness of the chocolate.
I'd love to read your blog after posting le pain a l'ancienne. Ton pain was peaking from the picture creating suspense...It looks heavenly. wow!!
Again thanks for adding me to the blog.

faithy said...

This is the 3rd t ime i'm trying to post comments..i can't get through just now..kept saying some error message..

Back to what i wanted to say... Marie, I think your cake looks great! I love how you drizzle the chocolate over the cake! I wish i have seville orange to try but nonetheless my sunkist orange curd tasted great too! :)

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

I love all the step-by-step pictures and your orange curd looks beautiful! Thanks again for letting me join, I'm looking forward to getting to know you all better. And yes, my post is up! :)

faithy said...

I have a question. Can i freeze my orange curd so it will last longer than 3 weeks as mentioned in the book? Cos i liked it so much i actually made 2 more extra portion of it just recently. But i was thinking if i can keep it longer by freezing it without losing the citrus flavor after 3 weeks.

Bungalow Barbara said...

Lovely cake, Marie!

Faithy, I have frozen orange curd with success. I think Rose may have written something about this over on her blog, too.

Everyone, I apologize for my long absence from the Heavenly Cake Bakers -- I have baked several cakes but not posted about them. I will start posting my catch-up posts on Tuesday. By next week I hope to be caught up again!

faithy said...

Thanks Barbara! Yes, we have been missing you! Hope you see your post real soon! :)

faithy said...

sorry..i meant to say "hope to see your post real soon!"

NancyB said...

I too had "shortcake" (not the way I like to use that term), made another, but even try #2 wasn't the tall 2" cake you got. I thought I might have over-beaten, but next time maybe I'll give it even longer since yours went for 10 minutes.

Anyway, I used the shorter cake this week, and the slightly taller try #2 in the similar passionfruit génoise. The texture seemed fine to me in both. :)

Nicola said...

I am totally impressed you set to and made another cake. A trifle sponge in your freezer maybe? Your cake looks delectable.

Right now, I would love a HCB meet up. Preferably somewhere warm and sunny and free!!!

That bread looks incredible (though I am not sure I believe you when you say it is less fussy than the cake!).

Marie said...

I never claimed I didn't have a hissy fit; in fact, I'm pretty sure I did. Get down to your closest market and buy yourself a stash of Seville oranges, and if you don't bake this cake, at least make the curd! Not that I'm being bossy.

Thanks. I'm also a big fan of this curd, as you probably figured out.

Lois B.
Maybe just more OCD.

Good point--it's better to fix the problem instead of fretting about it to no end.

I would have quit while I was ahead if I'd been ahead, but that's different than quitting when you're behind.

Marie said...

I didn't know what he was talking about at first, but then I started thinking about it and realized that grainy was a very good description. I'm not sure if that's bad, though. Definitely not dry, with all that syrup.

I'm not sure I would have remade it if it weren't for the prospect of trying to slice a one-inch cake in two. I figured if the second one was also short, I'd just put the two of them together.

I don't know why I didn't realize myself that the bread and the orange curd would be a match made in heaven.

Done! It didn't even need butter.

I've always used Wondra, but I think that I'll try it with cake flour the next time I make it just to see what the difference is. Wondra really dissolves easily in the egg mixture.

No, I love the idea of "fried-out" orange slices. Sounds like state fair food!

Oh, you're so lucky to have come into a box of these oranges! Do use them up quickly--they do have a limited shelf life.

Marie said...

I'll bet you wouldn't have sulked at all. You don't strike me as being a sulker. Isn't it amazing that we can bake the same cake two continents away? Yay!

I know with me it's the hips that are bigger. Jim and I are going to Hawaii in a couple of weeks--let's all meet in Maui!

The curd mixed in the ice cream or as a topping? Either way sounds great.

The pain post is up. It ws very fortuitous that they appeared in the cake picture--I didn't realize they were there until I looked at the photos. The mixture of the dark chocolate and the milk chocolate ganache turned out to be just about the right bitter-sweetness, but I don't think I could recreate that exact mixture.

I'm having problems with the blog, and with the HCB widgets too--I don't know what the problem is.

Jill and Wafae,
Welcome to both of you!

Bungalow Barbara,
I''m looking forward to your posts as well.

Nancy B,
Thanks for the info that your cake tasted good even though it was "short." Maybe the one in my freezer won't go to waste after all.

Come to Hawaii! It's sunny and warm (but not free). Two out of three....
It's SO much less fussy than cake!

jini said...

marie, you just keeping doing it, week after week after week. i am impressed and just have to say that i love orange flavored chocolate. yum yum. i don't know that i would ever start over on a cake....not so confident with cake baking, but you are a real trouper!
have a lovely time in hawaii.....how could you not!?

Jenn said...

Marie - a lot of people make this week's entry. I counted 19 people (including you). Wow!

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Hi - I found the Seville oranges and since I knew my kitchen wouldn't be ready to bake for another week or more, I froze them whole. Now, I wonder why I didn't squeeze them first.They sound temperamental, so I hope they make it. I am really looking forward to this cake, and it has been interesting to read your fun stories. I worked hard on genoise process a year or so ago bec I had so much trouble getting it right, so maybe Lady Luck will be there finally since the cake just sounds so delicious with combination of dark chocolate and unique orange. Thanks for all the great experiences!! joan

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

it works very well to squeeze and freeze (the seville oranges) for future use).