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Orange Zest Cake frosted with Champagne Buttercream

Orange Zest Cake frosted with Champagne Buttercream

Who doesn't love a brunch mimosa? It's a wonderful way to start the day, especially when that day is Mother's Day! This cake is made with fresh squeezed Cara Cara orange juice, tangy orange zest, and is coated in champagne buttercream frosting. Sure to inspire bubbly giggles, it's a positively perfect way to celebrate the mom you love. 

As a mother of three, I've come to learn that being a mom is the toughest job you'll ever love. It's a job with no salary, no vacations, day and night hours, and very few thank yous. It's all consuming. It's completely self sacrificing. It's exhausting. It's overwhelming. Sometimes it's terrifying. You worry, you stress, you obsess, mostly over things you can't control. You spend every day feeling as though your heart is on the outside of your body. It changes everything about your life. It changes you. 

It's a tough job. But I love my job. I've never loved anything more. I feel remarkably blessed to have three mini-men following me around everyday. Sure, there are days when I want to hide from them, and sometimes I do. We all need a minute to ourselves, right? That's life as a mom. It will be years before you pee by yourself, shower in peace, have a clean house, eat dinner without interruptions, brush your teeth before noon, and remember what day of the week it is. But it's the best job. Truly it is. These boys are my world. And as much as they drive me crazy, I love them crazier. 

Mother's Day is an occasion to celebrate those who have loved us, cared for us, and given us life. But it's also an occasion for moms to celebrate each other, and to celebrate ourselves. We're part of a club; a club where you have to lose your mind just a little to be member. A club where your house is ruled by little people. A club where your needs are typically the last to be met. And a club where you're the most important person in the world. 

And we are important. We are the booger wipers. The spider killers. The nightmare soothers. The boo boo kissers. The referees. The mess cleaners. The dinner makers. The lesson teachers. The chauffeurs. The encouragers of dreams. The shapers of little hearts. We're a pretty big deal. 

So let's celebrate! Celebrate all moms, including yourself. Because great moms lead to great people. If someone was nice enough to help you with your groceries yesterday, it's because they had a great mom. Someone took the time to make you feel special, it's because their mom made them feel special. Life is about the little things, there's nothing bigger. Moms provide a lot of little things. 

I will certainly be celebrating my mom on Mother's Day. She has always made me feel the most special of specials and she deserves a crown with jewels. 

Now have a mimosa, brunch like it's your job, and eat cake! 

Eat this cake! I'm going to. It's a mimosa in itself, filled with fresh orange juice and champagne. It's light and fluffy, sweet and zesty, and has a nice little zing with the champagne buttercream frosting. It's an ideal cake for a Mother's Day celebration.

I use Cara Cara oranges because they're especially sweet and I love the deep color. But any type of orange will do. For the champagne frosting I recommend using a nice quality Rose, as it will add a genuine flavor and you can drink the leftover. Win win! 

Orange Zest Cake

Makes three 8" cake rounds

  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (if at high altitude decrease by 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 baking soda (if at high altitude decrease by 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups of sugar (if at high altitude decrease by 2 tablespoons)
  • zest from one large orange (I use Cara Cara oranges)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • scrapings of one vanilla bean
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (if at high attitude add 3 to 5 tablespoons of juice)
  • 4 eggs (if at high altitude add an egg)
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (375°F if at high altitude). Butter and flour three 8" cake tins.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the vanilla, vanilla bean scrapping, and oil. Mix till combined.
  5. With mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time. Scrap the bowl as needed.
  6. With mixer on low, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients. Mix till combined.
  7. Continue mixing on low, add the milk and orange in a slow steady stream.
  8. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix till just combined. 
  9. Distribute the batter evenly between the cake tins. Bake for 22 to 27 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
  10. Allow the cakes to cool for 20 minutes before removing them from their tins.

Baker's Note: For a full explanation of high altitude adjustments see here.

Champagne Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 good quality champagne, I suggest a Rose
  1. With an electric mixer, beat the butter till light and fluffy. 
  2. Add the powdered sugar, beat on medium speed till combined.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Beat on medium speed till light and fluffy.

To assemble

  1. Place one round on a cake stand. Add 1/3 of the frosting and spread evenly to cover. 
  2. Add the second layer on top. Add 1/3 of the frosting and spread evenly to cover.
  3. Add the third layer on top. Add the remaining frosting to the top layer. Spread a thin layer over the top and along the sides, allowing some of the cake layer edges to show through. 
  4. Decorate with fresh flowers or candied orange peels.


Stonewall Kitchen, LLC
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