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I was recently invited to a party-one where you are asked to bring along a dish to share. I’m known for my baking, so of course, I wanted to take a cake. But not just any cake-one that would look like a winter landscape but taste like summer.

In my quest for the perfect recipe, I came across this gem-a beautiful orange cake, and the recipe promised it would be simple. It comes from “The Golden Age Cookbook” by Henrietta Dwight, published in 1898. This cake was gorgeous-and a hit at the party. Here is the recipe, which I prepared nearly to the letter:

Ingredients
• 4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
• 1 cup of granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup of milk
• 1 1/2 cups of sifted flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of baking powder

Instructions
Beat the yolks of the eggs with the sugar until creamy. With my Kitchen Aid mixer, this took about five minutes. Beat half the egg whites to a stiff froth with a hand mixer-this takes about two minutes. Add the egg whites to the egg yolks and sugar, and mix.

Mix the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Next, alternate adding the milk and the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mixture, mixing well.

Pour the batter into two greased and floured 8 inch cake pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, make the filling using:
• whites of 2 eggs
• 1 cup of powdered sugar
• 1 orange, select one dark in color
• about 1/2 cupful of sugar

Beat the egg whites to a stiff froth. Add the powdered sugar, pouring it in all at once and beating hard. Next, grate the rind of the orange into the filling. Squeeze the juice of the orange and add it to the filling. Mix.

I let the cakes cool about 5 minutes before I removed one from the pan, placing it on a serving dish or cake plate. Spoon half the filling onto the cake while it’s still hot, so the cake will absorb some of the filling.  It’s very runny but don’t be afraid, because the cake does soak up much of the filling.

To what filling is left, add enough sugar to make the filling harden. Once the cake is cooled, pour the rest of the filling over the top and sides of the cake. Some of the filling will likely pool around the bottom of the cake, so make sure you choose a serving dish that allows for that.

Garnish with a peeled orange, arranged in a circle on the top of the cake.

I let the cake sit on my counter a few hours before the party. The filling hardened, and made it even more beautiful. The party guests thought it was delicious!

Next blog post: French cooking, pre-Julia Child style.

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