Hey, guess what I did last weekend? I bought a kitchen scale! Not terribly earth-shattering I know, but I’ve been having too many butter-related incidents with my baking recently (this one, for example), so I thought it was time to invest in one (read “spend $20 at Walmart”).
I used my scale for the first time today, when I was making this week’s recipe for my bake-a-long group: Odile’s Orange Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook.
This is basically a simple one layer sponge cake, with flecks of orange zest in it. Once out of the oven, it’s brushed with a simple syrup made of sugar, water, cinnamon, and orange slices. Finally, one arranges the poached orange slices on top, and finishes the whole thing off with a glaze of orange marmalade!
At least, that’s what the recipe says. What did I do? Well, remember I call myself the Queen of Substitutions!
- I ran out of white sugar (How does this happen? It’s a baking catastrophe, I tell you!) so I used brown sugar in the cake. Also in the simple syrup. I considered using icing sugar, but thought brown sugar was the closest in texture, even if it changed the colour and deepened the flavour a bit. (Random Kitchen Hack: run out of icing sugar? Grind some regular sugar in your spice grinder! Not perfect, but close enough in a pinch!)
- Also, I had no orange marmalade. I also had no inclination to buy a jar of orange marmalade in order to use maybe two tbsp. glazing this cake. So I used the jam that I did have in the fridge…triple fruit strawberry jam! Same thing, right? Eh, it works as a glaze. So it gives the cake a bit of a ruby colour — that’s a good thing, right? Dorie does say that one can use blood oranges to top the cake with, so really, I’m just using her colour scheme, albeit slightly differently than intended.
- And…just to top things off, literally, it’s the DH’s birthday tomorrow (technically today, since it’s past midnight as I type this), so I cut out some letters from fondant and stuck them on top. Two birds, one stone, bam! I shall do a super-duper fancy-pants cake for this coming weekend, when we’re celebrating with family, but I thought two cakes in a week was enough so this cake is now his birthday cake. You’re welcome, honey!
But back to the recipe. I measured the butter very carefully, even making sure not to measure the weight of the bowl that held the butter. I was only 3 grams under Dorie’s recommended amount. So if this cake doesn’t turn out, it’s not because I added the wrong amount of butter! (It may be because I didn’t let the butter get to room temperature, or the eggs for that matter, but really, who has time for that?)
Is the scale worth it? Well, the proof shall be in the pudding, er…cake! I haven’t actually tasted it myself, because I’m waiting for the DH to wake up and cut a slice. (What’s that? Cake for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do!) But as soon as he cuts a slice, I’ll update you all with his reaction!
Want to see how everyone else in the bake-a-long group made their cakes? Check them out here! Truly a great group of bakers.
Edited to say: The cake! It was a hit! It was eaten with great gusto, and I’m saving one of the last slices to eat after my evening workout. Workout + cake slice = null calories, right? Mmm…cake!
Next Post: I’ve been busily writing up draft posts and then not getting around to posting them, so I’ve got a backlog. First up, the Dinner Roll Odyssey I’ve been promising. The result will be worth the wait!