This is a classic hot milk sponge cake that yields a light, deliciously tender crumb is complemented by a fragrant orange Italian meringue buttercream made with fresh orange juice and Grand Marnier.
Last few days have been stressful and busy and lost in paperwork. There have been visa issues, lawyer meetings, laptop troubles, digital marketing class assignments and ongoing summer travel plans. We have been all over the place. I have missed blog deadlines, had awful baking disasters, yucky kitchen mess to clean up and missed a few posts. Basically, when my head is not in the game, best to avoid baking because I screw up and then I sulk for hours over whatever rubbish came out of the oven. Bad vibes everywhere! Not good at all.
But then this hot milk sponge cake which was on my calendar for this week, came out of the oven smelling scrumptious, looking golden and moist and the crumbs tasted so good! I found myself, nibbling at the crumbs mindlessly while the cakes were cooling. It is a rich, buttery tasting hot milk sponge. I adapted the recipe from Baking Bites
I don’t know how my brain came up with the Orange Italian Meringue Buttercream. Maybe I saw oranges while grocery shopping. It did not find many recipes in my 1 minutes Google search so I kind of winged it. Oh I did come across this Orange Chiffon cake with Orange Almond Buttercream on Edible Mosaic. Have to try it. Also having made Swiss Buttercream just last week, I definitely felt more confident and audacious. It turned out good, thick and very silky and very buttery. But I realize now, I do love the Swiss buttercream more. I really can eat it by the spoonful. Apologies to all the Italians!
All together this combination works well – the rich hot milk sponge and the silky orange-y filling. My mom will love this one. She loves her orange candies – more than chocolate. Do not understand that!! Here is the recipe..
Hot Milk Sponge Cake with Orange Italian Meringue Buttercream
Ingredients – Serves – 5 non stingy portions
For the hot milk sponge (Adapted from Baking Bites)
1 cups All Purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Bake the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350F. Adjust oven racks in the lower third of the oven. Grease two 5inch round cake pans.
- Sift flour and whisk together with baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Cut butter into small pieces, combine with milk in a small saucepan and bring to simmer. Ensure all the butter has melted. We don’t want to boil the mixture. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract.
- In the meantime, beat eggs and sugar together at medium-high speed until pale, fluffy and tripled in volume. Mine took around 6 minutes.
- Reduce speed of the mixer to low and add the flour mixture alternating with hot milk mixture till fully incorporated.
- Divide into prepared pans evenly and bake for around 25 minutes till skewer inserted comes out clean. Start checking at 20mins. Allow cakes to cool for 15 mins before turning them onto a wire-rack.
For the Orange Italian Meringue Buttercream
1 large egg
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of cream of tartar or 1/2 tsp of lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp orange juice
1/2 cup (1stick) butter (at room temperature but not too soft)
1 tsp Grand Marnier / Cointreu
Whip up the Buttercream
- Place the egg white in a bowl of stand mixer. Have the cream of tartar / lemon juice and 1tbsp sugar at hand.
- Heat the other 3tbsp sugar alongwith the orange juice in a small saucepan until sugar is completely dissolved and solution is very hot. No need to stir a lot, just give it a nudge now and them. With a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer, check the temperature of the solution.
- When it reaches 230F, start beating the egg white. Keep heating the sugar and orange solution.
- When the egg starts to get frothy, gradually add the sugar and the cream of tartar. Beat on high till soft peaks form.
- Check the temperature of the sugar solution, it should be around 245F. Drizzle this solution into the egg whites in a steady stream while beating on low. Turn up the mixer to medium high and beat till the mixture has cooled down. Feel the outside of the bowl, if it feels cool, the mixture should be cool too.
- Then start adding pieces of butter one at a time, while constantly beating. The mixture will look curdled for a while, but it will start to come together. Just keep beating. When it starts to look very smooth add the liqueur and the orange zest. Beat till incorporated.
Spread a thick layer of the Orange buttercream, between the two cakes. Sprinkle icing sugar on top. Eat a big slice with a piece of orange and some tea on a quiet afternoon at room temperature.