Triple-Layer White Cake with Orange Curd Filling

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My father has always been the baker in the family. (Mom claims she baked plenty of cakes for us growing up, but since it has been more than 20 years since we all left home, none of us remember and we just have to take her word for it.) Family gatherings such as the one we just had this Easter weekend are the perfect excuse for dad to do his thing, bake some over-the-top, takes-days-to-make, several-trips-to-the-store-for-forgotten-ingredients wondrous dessert.

This triple-layer white cake with an orange curd filling is one of his favorite recipes (from Bon Appétit). It’s a little dense, but really good. You have to make the orange curd a day ahead of time, so factor that into your planning if you try it out.

Triple-Layer White Cake with Orange Curd Filling Recipe

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Ingredients

Orange curd

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Cake: Dry ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cake: Wet ingredients

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cake: Egg white ingredients

  • 6 large egg whites (see note on separating eggs, start with room temperature egg whites)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

Frosting ingredients

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar

Method

Orange Curd

1 Put the lemon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let sit for 15 minutes.

2 Whisk together the sugar, orange juice, egg yolks, orange zest and lemon zest in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the butter and whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens and bubbles start to appear at the edge of the pan, about 9 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture. Whisk the mixture until the gelatin dissolves. Transfer the curd mixture to a bowl, wrap with plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd (so that no air touches it) and refrigerate overnight.

Cake

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift the flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.

2 Whisk the oil and egg yolks in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in the sour cream, then the milk, orange peel, and vanilla. Whisk in the dry ingredients in 3 additions.

3 Using electric mixer, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar, while beating on hight speed until you have stiff peaks.

4 Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in 4 additions. (Do not overmix!)

5 Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake cakes until the center is just golden, a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake pulls away very slightly from pan, about 20 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 5 minutes. Cut around pan sides. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.

6 Place one cake layer, flat side up, on 8-inch tart pan bottom or platter. Spread 1 cup of the orange curd over the cake. Top with the second cake layer, flat side down. Spread 1 cup of the curd over the layer. Top with the third cake layer, flat side down. Cover and refrigerate the assembled cake.

Frosting

1 Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, then 3/4 cup orange curd.

2 Spread frosting over cake. (Can be made a day ahead. Cover with cake dome; refrigerate.)

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Recipe from Bon Appétit magazine.

Showing 4 of 14 Comments

  • Barb Sanders

    Not a cake for the novice cake baker. However I have just pulled mine from the oven so I can say I actually did it! The curd will keep a week in the frig with plastic wrap covering the top. That’s when I started the cake but company arrived and baked another one instead. Today I pulled the curd out and it tasted wonderful. That alone inspired me to give it a try. This is a cake made with LOVE.

  • Julie Rember

    I made this cake last night for a Spring Equinox party and it was delicious! I live at 6,500 feet and my high-altitude conversions worked great. I increased the cake flour to 3 cups, decreased the first sugar measurement to 1 cup, and decreased the baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon. It needed 25 minutes baking time — next time I might increase the oven temperature a bit. I also used a whipped cream frosting instead of the cream cheese frosting. I folded some orange curd and zest into the whipped cream (had to let the curd sit out for a bit because it was very firm). It was light and delicious, perfect for spring. Not a single bit was left over! Thanks for a wonderful recipe and a fantastic site, Elise!

  • Amy

    I needed a white cake recipe for cupcakes, so I gave this one a go (leaving out the orange peel). They turned out ok. They flavor is good, but the cupcakes don’t have a “pretty dome”… they are rather flat. We’ll cover them with frosting, so it’s not a problem, but I’m a little sad that they collapsed after I took them out of the oven.

  • Kimberly

    I tried this recipe over the weekend because of the delicious picture. It turned out pretty well..but I fear I did something wrong because the orange curd was a little watery and kept leeking out of the cake…consquently only a very thin layer of curd was left inside..haha.

    The cake, however, was very good, and the frosting delicious…I just wish that we had more curd inside for that wonderful orange flavor..however, we do have some curd leftover in a bowl still..so I guess we’ll just slop it over a slice whenever we eat some :)

  • Megan

    I made this yesterday as I needed a Superbowl dessert and felt like making a cake. This was incredibly delicious, decadent yet light. It was gobbled up quickly! Thanks for the recipe:)

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