This cake starts off with a Butter Genoise that is then layered with apricot glaze, Grand Marnier infused simple syrup and finally an orange buttercream frosting. Lovely tastes that are delicate and sweet all on a moist and airy sponge cake base.
I'll be the first to admit it - cake decorating is not my thing! I've never been able to achieve that perfectly sculpted and smooth frosting pictured in books. No matter how many top of the line tools I get, no matter how many times I try, it just never works out quite right.
But, the taste... now that I can get right! This Genoise was no exception. I decided to try this recipe from my copy of Baking by James Peterson since it was rather different from the usual cakes I make. I also have my two new half sheets from Williams-Sonoma so wanted to try them out with a sheet cake. The taste was magnificent even if the beauty left a bit to be desired. Hey, maybe everyone can chip in and send me to a cake decorating class. Maybe having someone show me hands on might work!
Anyway, this is a rather involved recipe but the end result is great and if you're a great cake decorator you can really show off for friends and family.
Step 1: The Genoise
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs, warmed*
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Zest of 1 lemon or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted
Confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a 13x17 inch sheet pan (half sheet) with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour and baking powder in a bowl and sift.
Combine eggs and granulated sugar in another bowl and whisk on high speed. (3 minutes for stand mixer or 10 minutes for hand mixer.) Mixture should be pale and almost tripled in volume. Stir in cream and zest (or vanilla).
Spread batter onto sheet pan and even out with spatula. Bake for about 15 minutes or until firm to the touch.
Remove from oven. Take another sheet of parchment paper same size as pan, sprinkle with powdered sugar and quickly flip cake onto it. Peel back parchment from cooked cake and discard. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
NOTE: I found this was much easier to do by using a second half sheet pan and turning it upside down. I then placed the po
*Warm Eggs: Make sure eggs are at room temperature then place in a bowl. Pour hot tap water over the eggs and allow them to sit for 5 minutes.
Step 2: The Simple Syrup
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbls. Grand Marnier
Heat water until very warm. Pour water over sugar in a bowl and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour in Grand Marnier to cool and flavor the syrup.
Step 3: Apricot Glaze
12 oz. Apricot Preserves
Place apricot preserves in small saucepan and warm. Press warm preserves through a wire strainer for a smooth and lump free glaze.
Step 4: The Orange Buttercream
1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter cut into pieces, room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbl. grated orange zest or 2 tsp. orange oil
1-2 tsp. Grand Marnier
Place butter in bowl and beat on high speed for 5 to 10 minutes until butter is smooth and easy to work. Add the sugar, zest and Grand Marnier and beat until smooth. Start on low speed then switch to high speed. Change to whisk attachment and continue to whip for about 5 minutes or until mixture is smooth and has the consistency of sour cream.
Assembling the cake:
Cut a cardboard rectangle about 5 1/2 inches by 11 1/2 inches and place on cake. Trim cake to fit the pattern (you'll end up with 3 layers).
Take one layer and brush with simple syrup using a pastry brush. Keep adding syrup until it seeps up around your fingertip when you press the cake.
Brush the layer with the apricot glaze and then frost layer with buttercream.
Repeat with second layer. Top cake with last layer and spread with buttercream frosting. Smooth the tops and sides of the cake. Place remaining buttercream in a pastry bag and pipe around top and bottom edges of cake using a star tip. Decorate top of cake with other designs or with edible flowers.