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« Arepas Dulces: Sweet Venezuelan filled corn cakes | Main | Shrimp in Jalapeño Cream Sauce »

HCB: True Orange Génoise

This week heavenly Cake was the True Orange Genoise Cake and boy was everyone looking forward to that one.  The buzz on this cake was tremendous.

It started with a mad hunt for Seville oranges.  You would think that living in the sunshine state; I would have no issues finding this orange, especially since Florida at one time was the main exporter of Sour Oranges to England! (that’s a fact, look it up). But, you would be wrong.  It was incredibly hard to find them… specially since we had a couple of weeks with temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s, which means that many orchards/groves lost most of their crops to freezing temperatures.

Strike one for the cake!

My hunt began by simply calling our local Fresh Market and talking to “someone” in the produce department, who told me that nope, they did not carry it and there was no way to pre-order them either.

I.was.not.giving.up…There was a cake that needed to be made and the hunt continued

Next up was Whole Foods, I mean WHOLE-FREAKING-FOODS, if they did not carry those little suckers - the end of the world was near. 
Note to Whole Foods management: You need to work on their produce department education because the phone call went something like this:

Me to the produce rep:  Wondering if you have Seville Oranges in stock?
Produce rep: I’m sorry, Sev.. what?
Me [thinking, OH BOY!]: Seville Oranges or you may know then as Sour Oranges?
Produce rep: No, I don’t think so, we have regular oranges, is that what you want?
Me: [counting to 10]: no I’m looking for sour oranges, would you be able to order them for me?
Produce rep: I don’t know
Me: is there a manager there?
Produce rep: I don’ know…
Me: Thank you, never mind. *Click*

Strike two for the cake!

Then during a dinner with the future mother in law, I explain what had happen and she promptly told me to give her a couple of minutes, left the room, picked up the phone and the next thing I knew, I had a bucket of sour oranges compliments of a farmer that had some trees in his back yard.  The power that woman yields!

Point one for the CAKE!


Since I have been keeping up with the bakers and all keep writing how delicate the oranges were, I decided to not take any chances and bake it a week earlier than scheduled.

Baking the génoise cake was easy and as Rose suggests in the book, I baked it a day earlier.  I’m really getting the hang of this new technique of warming the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together before whipping it up to full volume in the mixer.  (Previous sponge cakes were done without this pre-cooking step, and I think it just makes a huge difference on the final texture of the cake).

Then, because I was on a roll, I decided to make the orange curd the same day.  And this was fairly as simple mixing the orange juice, sugar, eggs, butter and zest together and stirring until it thickened - The hardest part for me was factoring in a whole lot of patience while it cooked over the stove. I hate to wait around for anything – you know that phrase, “good things come to those that wait”, It’s OVERRATED, seeing as, this orange curd took FOREVER (at least in my world) to get to the point that the book said it would be done.  You know how boring facing your stove and stirring is?

I bet you all do.  Because IT WAS THAT BORING to the power of 3!

When it was FINALLY done, I put it away and decided to quit while I was ahead and do the syrup and ganache the next day. 

    And those two things went without any major roadblocks.  The only thing I did different was not use Triple Sec, but instead used Patron Liqueur Citronge which I happen to have in my liquor cabinet (I’m fancy that way). Putting the cake together was reasonably easy as well.  The only doubt I had was not using all of the orange syrup and curd as the book pointed out, my instincts were shouting in the inside to use it all, but again, I followed the instructions, so a continued on…after I hid the left over curd from Tom, who stole a quick taste and wanted to eat it with a spoon.

I had a lot of fun covering the cake with the chocolate ganache and I wanted to make sure I did justice to the picture in the book… I was very proud of the way it came out.  Very sophisticated and classy looking. 

But, did it taste as good as it looked?

The Feedbacks:

Tom: Oh, this is my favorite so far.
The Little man:  It’s good, I like the orange flavor, but I like the pineapple one better.
My mother:  The cake was a bit dry for me (A HA! I knew it!), but the flavor was good, and by the way can I have the recipe for the orange curd?
The Future Mother in Law: I like it but, I would not make it again, the orange flavor is quite strong.

As for me?

Remember my cook fruit with cake anything hindrance?

This cake almost made me a believer, mainly because I’m a huge dark chocolate fan, and the dark chocolate combination with the tangy/sweet orange curd was YUMMY!  I had to agree with my mother and found the cake was a bit dry and I know it’s because I did not use the whole syrup/curd.  My other take would be that while is a beautiful cake and show stopper, it’s also a cake that needs a certain sophisticated palate (not to offend anyone here) to be enjoyed.  The majority of people out there would have some reservations to this type of combination (see future mother in law comment above), limiting the pool of people you can served it too.

Would I make it again? Only if Tom really, really, begged for it.  Plus it looks pretty. 

As far as the Orange Curd, that has been made twice already. And if you don't believe me, moosy over to Rose Levy Beranbaum site where you can find the recipe.

Reader Comments (13)


Your cake looks fab.

Those are some interesting sour oranges. They look like blood oranges to me.

Whole foods in New York also did not have sour oranges, although they were much nicer about it (despite the NY stereo-type) and offered to get it for me.

I finally found it though. :)

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMendy

Absolutely stunning! I had the same trouble finding the Seville Oranges... not available anywhere, and most people have never heard of them. Bummer.

Don't you just love it when the people working in the stores are so darn friendly and helpful! ;)


February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterButterYum

Mendy.. you are right... I choose to dry the blood oranges for the top, because I loved the dark color and once they were dry they got even darker. I did dry some of the seville, but did not like the end product. :) and its all about the visual right?

ButterYum: The whole food over here in Tampa are just so green, you would figure working in such a high end store (with HIGH END PRICES) you would have a more knowledgeable team. Not.to.be.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Your cake sounds and looks amazing. Great job!! Those oranges look so good, I will have to try them one of these days and I really want to make the orange curd. I was just too busy this week and couldn't get to it.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSugar Chef

You have an awesome future-mother-in-law!! Wow! This cake looks amazingly beautiful.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMemoria

Beautiful cake and pictures!

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

Wow..i LOVE your photos! And your cake looks awesome! i love how you drizzle the extra ganache on it just like the book! :) I've never seen oranges so red inside, the only oranges i know is sunkist orange..lol!

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfaithy

gorgeous photos! glad you finally found some seville oranges, and from a farmer's backyard, to boot. despite there being many whole foods stores in portland, only one of them carried sevilles. hopefully your guys will figure it out!

February 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterevilcakelady

Your cake looks wonderful with the pretty dried orange slices on top. Love the color of your curd. I'm glad everybody enjoyed it. I appreciate the little man's honest opinion on liking the pineapple cake better :o) Btw, I thought your phone conversation was hilarious, ha ha.

February 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHanaa

Incredible photos.

I love the exchange with the helpful staff!

Beautiful looking cake and those dried blood oranges look amazing.

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicola

BTW, I was not offended by your comment about a sophisticated palate!!! I agree totally.

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicola

To Everyone.. thank you so much for your comments (Don't you love comments??? I DO!) And the praises, I'm very happy with the way the post came out, very proud of the pictures too (I'm thinking is beginners luck, have not clue what I'm doing with the camera most of the time).

Nicola... I know, specially since you linked back to me on your post. I guess the best way to describe it is that this cake is a bit particular and not everyone will take to it. :)

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Nice cake, but where is the recipe?! I'd love to make it.

February 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEsther

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