Sunday, September 9, 2007

White Cake, Orange Zest, Whipped Cream & Crystallized Flowers – Romantic or Heavenly?

Wondering if I am on a baking spree? Not exactly! It’s been a season for celebration, birthday and anniversary, and we have been indulging ourselves in some sweet luxuries. Baking cakes on special occasions has been a small sweet-tradition I have been following ever since I learnt to bake a cake properly. Hence when it was time for one such special occasion (I know…u can make out that from the design of this cake!), I asked CJJ what he wanted exactly and the answer came quickly,”Something very simple…some sponge cake…. Yellow-ish….white-ish type”. Baking an ordinary plain cake did not sound all that exhilarating to me….so to make it a bit more exciting, I gave him a very vulnerable choice to add orange zest and as expected, the answer was positive. Next thing I saw myself giving him another option, tickling his memories of a whipped cream covered Black Forest Cake which I made recently. Well, one thing led to the other and finally we ended up with a White Cake flavored with orange zest covered in whipped cream and topped with candied flowers and leaves, which did bring smiles on his face!

I don’t know if there is one single recipe for White Cake flavored with orange zest covered in whipped cream and topped with candied flowers and leaves; this was something I customized to suit our palate which usually has a strong inclination towards some simple light cakes compared to heavy cakes covered in butter cream. Experts can make your own variations; beginners, you may stick to the basic cake recipe, with or without orange zest. Adding lemon zest is also a good idea.

White Cake with Orange Zest

(Recipe Source: “Wedding Cakes You Can Make” by “Dede Wilson”)

  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract (Original recipe suggests 1 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp Orange zest (Not required if you want a plain basic white cake)

For the moistening Orange Syrup:
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp Orange juice ( I used Tropicana)
For Filling and frosting:
  • 2 cups heavy (double) cream
  • 3tbsp Confectioners Sugar
  • 1tbsp Orange Juice (I used Tropicana)
  • To Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare cake pan by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the sides and sprinkle lightly with flour. Note: I used a single 8-inch heart shaped cake pan, and it was correct; the original recipe calls for two 6-inch round cake pans.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; Set aside.
  • Whisk together the egg whites and milk in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Beat the butter for about two minutes, until soft and creamy. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl once or twice and then add the vanilla and combine well.
  • Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternately with the egg white + milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beat until smooth on low –medium speed after each addition.
  • Pour the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick/skewer comes with a few moist crumbs or none. The edges will be barely tinged with brown and will have begun to come away from the sides of the pan.
  • Cool on racks in pans for 5 minutes and unmold directly onto racks and peel off the parchment paper and let it cool completely.
  • To make the Orange syrup: In a small saucepan, stir together water and granulated sugar over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot. Turn off the stove and let it cool completely. Add the orange juice just before assembling the cake. Note: The moistening syrup can be made in advance but should not be flavored with orange juice until right before using.
  • For Filling and frosting: Combine heavy cream, confectioners sugar and 1 tbsp Orange juice in a stainless steel or glass bowl and beat on medium-high speed, until it forms soft peaks. Note: I made the mistake of overbeating the cream which changes the texture of the whipped cream, so do not make the mistake I did.
  • Assembling the cake: When completely cook and ready to assemble, split the cake horizontally using a serrated knife or a cake leveler. Brush 3 tbsp Orange syrup onto the top of each cake layer and spread about ¾ cup whipped cream evenly over the first cake layer. Now place the second cake layer and frost the entire cake, sides and tops, with the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving. Note: To be on the safer side, I applied a very thin layer in the beginning to lock in all the crumbs and immediately after that final frosting was applied. If still few crumbs are visible, use a toothpick to remove those crumbs.
  • Decorate: You can decorate your cake anyway you want; let me write down how I did it!! . I tried to create some “ripples” (Really?? Does it look like that?? ) on top by moving the spatula in a back and forth action. You can do this with a spoon too. It is difficult to achieve a smooth surface when you work with whipped cream, unlike butter cream. To create a simple, attractive and romantic look, I made some crystallized flowers and leaves and placed on one side. Before placing the flowers and leaves, pile up some whipped cream, wherever you wish to place the flowers, to gain some height and then arrange the flowers, to have a neat look. (HOW TO for Crystallized flowers follow.)

Crystallized flowers/Candied Flowers/Sugar Frosted Flowers.
(Source: “First Steps in Cake Decorating” by “Janice Murfitt”)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup extra fine sugar (Not powdered)
  • Fresh Flowers preferably EDIBLE flowers.
  • Mint Leaves
  • A Small Paintbrush – Food safe.
HOW TO: Make sure that the flowers you pick are edible ones and not a poisonous variety. Great care must be taken to ensure that no insecticides has been sprayed which means, flowers from your garden are the most preferred ones as you know your flowers for sure! Wash and dry the flowers without any bruises on petals. Whisk the egg white until frothy. With the paint brush, apply beaten egg white evenly over the petals on both sides. Holding the flower above another bowl, spoon some superfine sugar lightly over the flowers on both the sides. Gently shake off the excess and place them gently on a wire rack covered with paper towel. Frost the leaves also in the same way. It will take 1-2 days to dry completely. The flowers will have the best shape if allowed to dry upside down. Some edible flowers are roses, lilacs and violets. Browse for more options. This is also a great idea for decorating individual cupcakes. Check out Annita’s for a pictorial.

Baking Schedule I followed:
  • Made the crystallized flowers 2 days in advance, so as to get them fully dried on the day of assembling and frosting the cake.
  • Baked the cake one day in advance and when completely cool, double wrapped in a plastic wrap and kept at the room temperature.
  • Made whipped cream just before assembling everything.

Verdict: The White Cake, with a light and delicate taste, is best for tea time. It is soft and has a nice texture. When flavored with citric zest, it gives that extra kick to the cake and when frosted with whipped cream and sugar frosted flowers, it presents a simple, informal, lighthearted look and romantic touch to the occasion, if baked in a heart shape. The moistening syrup is not required if you are not planning to layer and frost the cake. The orange flavor is not overwhelming if you stick to the measurements. The lightness of the cream and the smell of the orange, with a soft and moist cake give a completely fresh and light feeling. Simple & Easy. An addition to my baking repertoire and a topper in CJJ’s favorites :)

A good recipe…..some cool practical ideas……..a bit of patience……frost with tons of love and care…that’s all you need to bring surprise and smile on your loved ones’ face and make your special days sweet, simple and romantic ! :)


No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. Happy birthday, anniversary, Shn! The cake looks lovely and decadent!

  2. Hey Happy Anniversary Shn... and birthday wishes too (to You or CJJ) :)... Another beautiful creation... I can just look and drool... I've never baked a cake, and won't even attempt :)

  3. many happy returns :-) Beautiful cakes!!

    I saw the readymade cake decorations here in the market... imported... I'll have to write off half my income to be able to use those!!

  4. I am just out of words, cake looks perfect. Happy anniversary !!!

  5. Greetings on the special day!! and wishing you a happy birthday.. :-)

    I must say you should seriously consider starting a niche bakery or a restuarant..awesome looking as always..

  6. Hope you guys had fun ....
    you roped me in with the name...the flowers look amazing..

  7. Shn, Best Wishes for the occasion. The cake looks lovely, the occasion would have been enhanced by this beautiful creation for sure.

  8. Wishing you many happy returns of the day! The flowers have such a beautiful matte/ powder finish to them, they remind me of old "classic" paintings.

  9. To say Heavenly is an understatement! It's beyond Heaven!!
    A fit treat for Birthday and Anniversary, enjoy both. Hugs to you!:))

  10. Congratulations on your anniversary!! The flowers really enhanced the look of the only if I could grow some flowers here!

  11. It's beautiful Shn and so perfect.

  12. Beautiful cake shn...Happy anniversary + birthday wishes. Wow, what a good baker + decorator you are. Now you should start a bakery of your own and bake these delicious goodies.

  13. Been looking for a good cake recipe, and yours looks so moist and nice.


  14. I am just droolin n drooling over and again, back n forth....simply fantastic...Shn, I am sure you had a great time decorating this cake, It shows all your love poured in, I guess its your anniversary, right?

    Thanks for such wonderful post..

  15. Happy B'day and anniversary!...the cake looks heavenly and Romantic!

    I am coming across sugary edible flowers on a cake for the very first time!

    Lovely post! always!:)

  16. happy anniversary!.....i think CJJ is indeed very lucky to have you for a wife! are a born artiste!

  17. Loads of love and wishes for all the special days and even the ordinary days :)

    That cake is so very beautiful, I loved those flowers. You are such an accomplished baker, first the Black Forest and then this.

  18. That is one gorgeous looking cake - happy celebrations!

  19. Shn,
    You are a genius. The cake looks divine. And yes, those ripples worked out great. You have put so much hard work to make it so beautiful.
    Best wishes on the birthday and anniversary! God bless both of you.

  20. HEAVENLY!!! no doubt about it...I envy the large bite you got out of it:)

    Congrats guys and hope you had great fun on this important day:)

    Good luck for the rest!!

  21. Many happy returns!Cake looks lovely as usual! You are so creative..god bless you!

  22. Brithday, Anniv.... happy everything!! May I hv a (BIG) slice please?

  23. Happy Anniversary Shn and birthday wishes too (to CJJ) My cakes never look this gorgeous. I just come here to drool :)

  24. Happy Anniversary!

    Oh la la, I can see that you are on a bking spree! And all of your creations are always so impressive!

  25. Happy Anniversary to you and CJJ! And warm B'day wishes too :). Thats one gorgeous cake! You outdo yourself with each one, Shn!

    Those flowers look sooooooo pretty! Really, you are a master bakerina, Shn!

  26. Awesome, Awesome Awesome!
    You should be so proud of yourself for being so creative.

    I am so tempted to steal the idea of candied flowers. What variety of flowers did you use?

  27. Well, well, I'd have to say that it's both - romantic and heavenly. You are one fantastic cook and baker! Go on with your bad self :)

  28. oohhmyyyy....thats the most amazing cake , i have ever seen...gorgeous...extra romantic !!!..i really envy you !!!"Neighbours envy, owners pride !!!"..your hubby can very well boast about you!!!

  29. Another lovely presentation. You always outwit urself in each of ur blogs. Hats off to u. Cant wait for your next edition.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Hello Friends:)

    I had a long day y'day...left home in the morning and when we got back home after 10 at night and seeing all these greetings and wishes and words of appreciation, it did lighten and refresh my mood and lifted off some heavy tiredness. Probably this was the first anniversary we celebrated with so much of well-wishes. Thanks a ton, friends. MEANS A LOT!

    I will reply to all of you in detail later.

  32. Belated wishes!!! Ok now, real frosted flowers on cake! Wow..that's new cooking for me! :D

  33. Happy Anniversary!!!!!!!!!!. Both the cakes this and black forest look great. I really adore your presentations.

  34. hey, belated wishes on your anniversary and b'day. the cake looks simply tempting and first time in my life I am craving like hell looking at your pics. it is so beautiful, I have no words.

  35. thanks poraaa!!
    we need a big slice delivered to our places to mark this ocassion!!;-P

  36. Happy belated anniversary, dear shn ...hope you had a lovely day...well, I'm sure you had...what with that gorgeous cake as the centerpiece :)

  37. Belated wishes on ur anniversary,Shn!
    Again what a wonderful feast for the eyes!!!!!!!!!!That looks so lovely&romantic!..........
    Regarding BFC,thanx Shn,I searched those sites &found one such product;hopes to collect the right ingredients by this weekend;shall surely let u know the'outcome'!

  38. Happy Anniversary, dear, and many more! Beyond that, I am completely speechless at this amazing creation of yours! :)

  39. Wow Excelent cake
    Wish i could makes so beautifull like you.
    Belated Happy B'day

  40. wow gorgeous gorgeous flowers and amazing cake... looks totally delicious... my belated wishes to you....

  41. Your words are romantic and your cake look like romantic and when we eat then feel like heaven my dear.....beautiful cake...very nice work for sugar frosted flower first time know about this.........really wonderful cake.:)

  42. Both, if you ask me !! That cake is a statement of pure elagance.
    Happy anniversary, have fun !

  43. oh my, romantic and heavenly! happy birthday and congrats! the cake is sooo beautiful!

  44. Mishmash,
    Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday wishes. oh..wht to say.The cake looks boht romantic and heavenly.

  45. Shn, I am awed! Truly. This is a most splendid creation, and the love you baked into it is evident. :)

  46. Shn,
    How Black forest cake may turn out if we use preserved cherries?As u may be aware,we get fruits ,mostly from other countries&for fresh cherry, we get those from mid may to August only!I've checked many supermarkets,but rakshayilla....So what to do........

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. Liz, if fresh cherries are not available, two options are there, 1) go for dried cherries which will be quite plump when soaked in the moistening syrup for 30 minutes. 2) Else use the preserved cherries itself, but dont go for that pie filling which will be extremely sweet....Am sure you re aware of those red-sweet-processed cherries we get in bakeries in Kerala..I guess they should be fine as they are not overly sweet. taste will be slightly different but that is negligible if the fresh ones are not available...use the canned ones....if they are overly sweet, use sparingly. and they will taste good when sandwiched with whipped cream.

    Hope this helps. Again If Kirsch is not available there, use rum or brandy in lesser quantity as they do not have a refined taste like Kirsch...since you have children, you may consider avoiding them too. Instead of that make the syrup (1/4 cup water+ 1/4 cup sugar) and when it is cold, add 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla extract (depending on the taste you want), just before you assemble the cake.


  49. happy b-day and anniversary!!!
    too good cake only if I cud get a slice ;)

  50. Thanx Shn,for ur quick response!
    Red Glaced cherries that we get here,are overly sweet,better reduce the qty,alle...And it's not easy to grt Kirsch here,I thought of using Rum only.And regarding cream,those I found have 30%fat content.I doubt what u mentioned in ur recipe is the one with higher fat content?(I found such diff.on searching-will substituting the other one make much diff?)Hope I'm not troubling u....

  51. troubles...feel free to ask me or mail me ...I can understand your concerns especially when you re trying such a recipe :)Well, I guess 30% will work...before you start making the cake, why dont you try with a smaller quantity of cream and try whipping..if it doubles in quantity and volume and thickens (will take
    a couple of minutes) then you found the right one.
    Yes, use the glazed cherries & rum in small quantities. You may try vanilla too since kids are young.
    check these sites...

    Liz, You can mail me,if u want.....I will try to answer your doubts until you bake the cake successfully :)


  52. HI guys...Thanks again for all your heartwarming wishes on our anniversary. We are so glad to have you all here and wish we could share a slice of cake with you all :D

    Sra, Thank you my friend :)

    Sig,conveyed your b'day wishes to CJJ:) Why do you say that you dont want to attempt one...its just a mind block..start with a box mix and see how easy it is and surprise Siv :P

    Raaga, we can make many of these beautiful things at home , so why waste money on such things, especially when handmade one are more appreciated by your family than the store bought one?? Try this's very easy and can finish making flowers while watching a movie:D

    Sreelu, Thanks so much:)

    Mathew, Gladly accept the anniv wishes and passed on the b'day wishes to CJJ :) Bakery thudangan maathram onnum ellanne....ethokke oro numbers alle :P Btw, the big slice you wanted, I can fedex one whole cake itself , if you can return the gesture with a parcel of beef "malarthiyathu" :) My hubby had a good laugh at the mention of that title :))

    Rajitha, yes we did :)Thanks!

    Indosungod, thanks so much for those sweet words :)

    Nupur, I am flattered!!

    Nags, :)

    Asha, thank you my dear :)

    Jyothsna, hey check with your local florist, they would be able to help you pick the right ones :) Good Luck !

    Laavanya, Thank you :)

    Pravs, heheh....I will bake goodies for you from my matchbox that ok? :))

    Kanchana, Hope you like this recipe...try and let me know for sure.

    Padma, yes dear,,.it was our anniv. and yes I did enjoy all the baking and decorating and was happy too :)

    Bharathy, Thanks a bunch :) frosted edible flowers have been a way of decorating cakes for a long time now....especially in the western world....and I think they are cool and so refreshing too. Wanna give a try ? :)

    Nanditha, I should say we both are lucky to have each other:) Anyways, I showed your comment to him :P

    Sandeepa, thanks a lot, my dear ! I guess sometimes I get lucky with such jobs....its just that I enjoy doing all these, so put extra care too :) This one is so simple than the Blackforest try this one:)

    Evolving tastes, Thank you :)

    Swapna, you re the first one say to mention the ripples, I am so glad :) Thanks a lot for all the wishes.

    Mansi Desai, thanks for dropping by and leaving the trails here. And I really wish i could share this with all of you. A warm welcome here :)

    A little light, thank you dear :)

    Manasi, YES , please:)

    Mandira, let me see your cakes first and then we will decide on the categorisation ;)

    Anh, thanks dear :)

    Musical,hahah.....thanks dear:) Its the same I told Sandeepa, sometimes I get lucky with such stuff...:)

    Tm,you can steal the idea as it's not mine :) Welcome here !

    Cynthia, heheh...thanks sweetie :)

    Kitchen Scientist, hahah....showed your comment to hubby :) A warm welcome here :)

    Mocha, my dear you re always so supportive :)

    Toothlesswink, hmm...may be it is not so widely used in our place....but a great idea for wedding cakes:)

    Rina, Thanks a lot. and thanks for dropping by :)

    Sharmi, I wish I could share this with you all!! Give it a try...

    Sunita, yes dear...we had a lovely day and nice to get that compliment from a daring baker :)

    Liz, so have you started baking the cake ?:)

    Linda, oh...thanks a ton always uplift my spirits :)

    happy Cook, You sure can and thanks :)

    Rachna, thanks a lot :)

    kajal, cant take so much of appreciation :D

    Archana, Coming from you, thats a real compliment. Means a lot, Thanks :)

    Cinderelly, not as beautiful as those gorgeous dresses you make :)

    Prajusha, thanks you :)

    Susan, :) blushing :)

    Mallurecipes, come over...I will bake a full cake for you :)


  53. Dear Shn - Wishing you many more happy occasions, the more excuses to indulge in grand and gorgeous cakes, the better. Your creation is a dazzler!

  54. If you can bake such beauties in a matchbox kitchen...then i wonder what it will be like if you have a full fledged kitchen...hmmm ??

  55. Wow! Happy Anniversary adn Happy birthday! What a beautiful cake. It is romantic and heavenly:)

  56. Shn belated wishes dear Birthday and Anniversary wishes!The cake looks like a bride!

  57. Seem to be on a baking spree mishmash..........anyways an awesome cake and thanks for so many ideas.....pretty useful to me :-)

  58. Forgot to tell u...Belated wishes on ur bday and anniversary dear :-)

  59. hey shn,m commenting for the first time in ur blog,but im a regular visitor...infact a frequent visitor...ur cakes and ur expertise in decorating them.......oooooh.....its amazing....just looking at them,my stomach gets full...hehe...cant even find such beautiful cakes in bakeries....very good artistic mind u got...and ur response to doubts and questions,excellent....tomorrow m gonna have a couple of guests and i wanna try one of ur cakes....but what confuses me is the measurement.....i mean for the flour and sugar and butter and all u used cup measurement, it the american measurement u used,i.e.1 cup flour in americam measurement is 115 gms,1 cup sugar=225 gms....or do u use the big coffee mug??m always confused wen i get the mesurement in cups...

  60. Susan, Pravs, Savithri,Sumitha,Sirisha, THANK YOU , my dear friends :)

    Shabeena,thank you for following my blog regularly! The measurements are strictly in American Standard cup and spoon measurement and NOT coffee mug measurement. Also pls note that flour used is not all-purpose flour but cake flour. For conversions to any other measurement, use the "cooking conversion" online tool given on the side bar. If this is your first time making cakes from the scratch, pls read the recipe carefully before you start baking.All the best!


  61. This is one AWESOME cake Shn, I'm totally kicking myself for not having stopped by your blog sooner. I love to bake too and its always a pleasure to meet fellow bakers :)

  62. Sometimes I visit just to re-look at your creativity Shn. I'm not just saying this, but you are extremely extremely gifted!

  63. you really have magic on your fingers

  64. Is it okay if i replace cake flour with all purpose flour?Or is there any specific reason for using cake flour?


  65. yummy!!!!!!am gonna try dis ....on our wedding anniversary........will let u know the result.........

  66. hi Shn....this cake looks lovely n quite tempting too...i am planning on to make the same for my son's b'day (with ur permission).....just wanted to know wats orange zest???

  67. zest is the outer skin of a citrus...i mean orange rinds

  68. Hi what flowers did u use for this cake

  69. Hi Shn,
    Thank you again for getting back to me through email. I tried this cake with the cake flour substitute (APF and corn starch) and it came out very well, finally. Its almost a dream come true :)

    I tried your Christmas cake as well, and that was amazing !

    Planning to sweep my husband off his feet with your Mexican Wedding cookies on Valentines!

    Thanks a lot for all these Shn...


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