The unadorned spice cake layers, which need to stand overnight to develop their flavor, are delicious on their own. Filling the layers with the Orange Curd and frosting them with the orange-scented Meringue Frosting makes Flo Braker's cake extraordinary. Beautiful Desserts
Preheat the oven to 350° and position a rack in the lower third. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves onto a sheet of wax paper. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla in a small pitcher.
In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the light brown and granulated sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the flour mixture at low speed in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, just until the batter is smooth; stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Transfer the pans to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes begin to shrink from the sides. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then turn each out onto a rack, invert onto another rack and let cool completely. Wrap each cake in plastic and store at room temperature overnight.
Cut a 1/4-inch notch in the side of each cake; this will allow you to line up the layers when assembling the cake. Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half horizontally and set on a work surface, cut side up.
Center 1 bottom cake layer on a platter and spread 1/2 cup of the Orange Curd on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Cover with its top cake layer, cut side down, taking care to line up the notches. Spread the top with 1/2 cup Orange Curd, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Repeat with the remaining cake and curd, ending with a cake layer. Spread the top and side with the Meringue Frosting.
The citrus in this light, airy spice cake is a natural match for the tartness of Champagne. Because of the cake's sugariness, a sweeter "extra-dry" cuvée works better than an austere nonvintage brut. Look for Mumm Extra Dry or Mo&235;t & Chandon White Star.
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