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Orange-Almond Cream Cake


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  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter - (1/2 stick) cut 1/2" cubes, and at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • SYRUP:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange-flavored liqueur)
  • CAKE:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter - (1/4 stick)
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour sifted, then
  • measured
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons grated orange peel divided
  • 8 large navel oranges
  • 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup coarsely-crushed amaretti cookies* (Italian macaroons)
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam melted


Servings 8


Step 1

* Available at Italian markets and some supermarkets.

For Cream Filling: Bring milk and orange peel to simmer in heavy medium saucepan; remove from heat. Using electric mixer, beat yolks in large bowl to blend. With machine running, add sugar and beat until mixture is light yellow and thick, about 4 minutes. Add flour, beating until well combined. Gradually beat in hot milk mixture.

Return custard to same saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer cream filling to medium bowl; press plastic wrap onto surface. Refrigerate cream filling overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

For Syrup: Bring sugar and 1 cup water to boil in small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil 5 minutes, swirling pan occasionally. Cool syrup slightly. Stir in Grand Marnier. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

For Cake: Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line each pan with parchment paper round. Bring milk and butter almost to boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat eggs in large bowl on high speed 2 minutes. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until mixture is light yellow and thick, scraping down sides occasionally, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high; add vanilla. Gradually beat in hot milk mixture in steady stream. Immediately add dry ingredients and beat until just blended, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl (batter will be thin). Mix in 3 teaspoons orange peel. Quickly divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake until cakes are golden, pull away from sides of pans, and spring back when pressed in center, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes; peel off parchment paper. Turn cakes right-side up on rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic and let stand at room temperature.)

Using small sharp knife, cut off peel and white pith from oranges. Working over strainer set over large bowl, cut between membranes to release segments. Transfer orange segments to paper towels to drain.

Beat cream and 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl until cream holds peaks. Fold 1/2 cup whipped cream into cream filling, then fold in crushed amaretti and remaining 1 teaspoon grated orange peel.

Using serrated knife, cut each cake layer horizontally in half, creating 4 layers. Place 1 layer on plate, cut-side up; brush generously with syrup (about 6 tablespoons). Spread 3/4 cup filling over. Arrange 1 layer of orange segments (about 20) over filling. Repeat layering twice more with cake, syrup, filling, and orange segments. Top with remaining cake layer, cut-side down. Brush cake with syrup.

Fill pastry bag fitted with large star tip with 1 cup whipped cream. Spread remaining whipped cream over top and sides of cake. Pipe cream in rosettes around top edge of cake. Cover center with orange segments. Brush oranges with melted apricot jam. Refrigerate cake 3 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

This recipe yields 8 to 10 servings.

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