As early as the 1600s, icing was used on the very expensive and delicious cakes more so than frosting, back then, it was a cooked mixture of raw sugar and eggs whites and boiled to be spread on cakes.  It wasn’t until the 1900s that cream, milk, processed sugars and butter was added and frosting gained it’s popularity.  “Butter cream”  frostings began replacing that and as advancements developed, a bakers life became so much easier. It was discovered that you could whip fat into the powdered sugar or added melted ingredients into it  that some combinations of icing was introduced. Today it takes it’s form as in custards, ganache, creams, glaze with the addition of fruits, nuts etc.  It’s economic value meant people could make better cakes and even buy them from local stores already made and decorated to order as well.  The message remains the same, cake means” I love you” and “you’re important to me” and is served for special occasions because often is the best things we “make”, present or purchase to honor our most loved ones…

The most popular cake is the birthday cake, it was in Ancient Greece that traditionally, cakes celebrated the births of their gods with cake in their honor. Theories suggest that cakes were decorated with candles so it would glow like the moon.  Candles stood for the light of life and when blown out the smoke carried the wish to heaven.  We can’t forget the obviously popular engagements, wedding, holidays, or special occasion cakes  who generally have an intended purpose in all cultures, festivals, or holidays.

Of the most favorite cake I had, was a “Blood Orange Cake” in San Clemente, CA.   A stunning and happy cake, the rich color in the prettiest shades of orange with deep pink hues, and a flavor that was wonderful with highlights of the perfume of citrus, light and buttery cake adorned with a very pale orange creamed white chocolate  frosting topped dramatically with bright blood orange candied  slices of oranges  that makes you salivate just looking at it.

Blood Orange Cake

Peel from 3 large Blood Orange

1  1/4 C. granulated sugar

2 sticks of butter

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Whites from 5 large eggs (save yolks for another use)

2  1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. juice from the oranges mixed with 1/4 milk

Directions:      Preheat too 325°.     Coat two 8-in. round cake pans with non-stick spray.  Line bottoms with wax paper; then grease the wax paper.  Make cake~ Put orange peel and sugar in food processor until peel is chopped. In a large mixing bowl beat butter, baking powder and salt on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add orange sugar; beat until pale and creamy.  Beat in egg whites 1 at a time. beat, scraping down sides of bowl twice, until mixture is fluffy.  On low speed add flour in 3 additions alternating with the juice mixture in 2 additions, beating until blended after each.  Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.  Bake 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cool in pans on a wired rack 10 minutes before inverting on rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile make candied orange slices:

2 c. granulated sugar, 2 c. water, 2 oranges, preferably in whole thin-slices.

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a wide skillet.  Add slices, reduce heat and simmer, moving slices so they cook evenly, 35 minutes or until translucent.  Cool in the syrup.

Make Frosting.

6  oz. white chocolate, 2  sticks of butter, 2  1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar, 1  1/2 tbsp. grated orange peel,  1/4 c. orange juice.  Garnish:  fresh mint sprig (optional)

Beat ingredients in a large bowl with mixer on low speed until blended.  Beat on medium-high 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy.  If needed, refrigerate frosting briefly until firm enough to spread.

Place 1 cake layer flat side up on serving plate.  Spread top evenly with 1/2 cup of frosting.  Remove all but 7 orange slices from liquid: place on double layer of paper towels to drain.  Arrange slices, overlapping, in circles on frosting; spread with 1/2 cup frosting.  Top with remaining cake layer, flat side up.  Spread top and sides of cake with a thin layer of frosting to set any crumbs;  Refrigerate 20 minutes.  Cut reserved oranges in half, remaining 4 slices in quarters. Swirl rest of frosting over cake.  Arrange half slices on the middle, press quarter slices around the sides and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Tips and techniques offered.

⦁              Steps 1-7 can be prepared up to 1 day ahead.

⦁              Wrap and refrigerate cake layers

⦁              refrigerate frosting and oranges airtight.

⦁              Keep refrigerated, covered  assemble and decorate cake up too 1 day ahead.

There’s a lot of steps to this cake, but I promise you won’t hear the end of compliments.  You can reach me at  [email protected], if you have a favorite cake you want to share. So, Happy Fooding, or since were talking cakes, Happy Caking! Erma Bombeck shared this once, “Seize the moment.  Remember all those women on the “Titanic” who waved off the dessert cart!”