Thursday, February 20, 2014

orange marmalade triple brownie torte

Sugar recently turned twelve, and to celebrate, we invented a cake as sweet and original as she is.  It got so many raves that I thought I'd share it with you .... the recipe, that is, since the cake itself is now just crumbs and a happy memory.


First, work up an appetite.  You're going to need it, along with a high tolerance for sweet things!

Next, set out four large eggs to come to room temperature.  (Or, if you're in a hurry - not that I'm ever in a hurry for brownies or anything - cover them with warmish water to bring them to room temperature.)

Melt 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan, and stir into it 3/4 cup cocoa (Wilbur's is best, if you can get it).  Remove from heat and allow to cool at least somewhat.

Rub the sides of three 9" round cake pans with shortening, cut out parchment paper (wax paper will do in a pinch) in circles to fit inside the bottoms, and turn the oven on to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Into a large bowl, break the four eggs and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt.  Beat until eggs are frothy and lemon-colored.  Gradually cream 2 cups of raw sugar and 1 tsp. of real vanilla into the beaten eggs.  Quickly fold in the butter-and-cocoa, then a cup of whole wheat flour and a half cup of chocolate chips (or more chocolate chips, if you have a death-by-chocolate wish), just till evenly blended.

Scrape it into the three cake pans somewhat evenly (I didn't spread the batter out, and so got uneven sides) and bake 10-15 minutes, or until the edges begin to look just a bit dry, and the center is no longer wet.  Cool in the pans on cooling racks.

Now make the icing!

[Caveat:  I kind of wing it on icing.  Sometimes - say, for instance, this time - I've forgotten to buy a new bag of confectioners' sugar, so I have to adjust the recipe a bit for the amount I have.  Or maybe I want the orange-flavored buttercream icing but I think cream cheese would taste good, too, so ... I tinker.  And then I don't always remember what all I added, or how much.  So the recipe I give you is an approximation, at best.]

Cream a couple of tablespoons of butter with a few ounces of cream cheese and a tablespoon of orange juice.  Add confectioners' sugar (say, 2-3 cups) until the consistency is right.  Then, freelance!  I added about 20 drops of sweet orange oil, and the chopped zest* of one orange.  We wanted an orange tint to the icing, too, so added a few drops of yellow food coloring and one drop of red.

Taste test, to see if you need to add more sweet orange oil (probably - can't get enough of that), or orange juice, or zest, or who knows - maybe vanilla?

Now, take your cooled brownie layers.  Spread marmalade on the biggest one for your bottom layer. Actually, learn from my mistake, and spread the marmalade on all three layers.  Next spread a layer of icing over the marmalade - yes, it will be messy, and no, it won't necessarily look pretty.  Doesn't matter.  You and your lucky guests will be so enraptured by the flavor that no one will notice messy icing incidents.  Ice all three layers before stacking.  That's what I didn't do, and ended up with a slightly leaning tower of brownie, as a result.  If you marmalade and ice them all on solid ground, you can stack them up the way you want, and (I'm guessing) they are more likely to stay in place!

And voila!  You have created your Orange Marmalade Triple Brownie Torte!  Slice thinly (although the zest and the chocolate chips can make that tricky), because not everyone can finish a standard-size slice.

Brownie Layers
4 large eggs
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups raw sugar
1 tsp. real vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips


cream cheese
orange juice
confectioners' sugar
sweet orange oil
orange zest
food coloring

* I don't own a zester.  Well, actually, I might have one somewhere in that drawer, but I don't use it.  I guess I'm not fancy enough to figure out how it works, or maybe I just bought a lemon.  ;)  I use my vegetable peeler, instead, and then chop it.  So, no cute spirals of zest for me, boo-hoo.  If you know how to do that, I think they'd look nice on top, maybe with some chocolate chips sprinkled artfully about.

** Those are not peas on Sugar's cake.  They look just like peas, but they're actually fondant balls.  She thought it would look festive to make little green balls and put them around the edge, and I blush to confess that it did not occur to her mother, either, that they would look just like peas.  It wasn't until they were on, and presented for admiration to Spice and Nice, that these helpful sisters pointed out how just like peas small green balls can look.  Some tears were shed, but all three girls really like fondant (notice that I am not included in that list), so the "peas" stayed.

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