Orange and blueberry layer cake made for my grandfather’s 90th birthday!
Yesterday was my grandfather’s 90th birthday. Although his birthday was yesterday, we had a big celebration where we invited friends and relatives on Sunday. Unfortunately, since I was busy with client work and a surprise video for him, I couldn’t make the cake for his 90th birthday celebration, but I did make this orange and blueberry cake for his actual birthday on the 6th.
There’s a lot to say about my grandfather, but one thing that always impresses me, besides his memory of past events, is his meticulous documentation.We wanted to surprise my grandfather with a short video showing glimpses of his life in pictures. Thanks to my grandfather’s perfect documentation skills, my mom and I were able to easily place his life history in pictures. It was fun going through his pictures, and in the process getting to know more about his life.
I thought I will share the video here on the blog, if any of you like going through old pictures. The pictures date back till 1930s (my grandfather was born in 1927) and document his life through the years.
While working on the video my mom and I would slyly ask him questions so that we had our facts correct for the video. Even at this age, my grandfather remembered each and every detail, down to names of people, places, dates etc. I can’t even remember where I was last week, and here my grandfather went on for hours with his stories, in so much detail. He was in the Delhi police and he has so many stories about his time there. He was there during Emergency, right after Indira Gandhi’s death by a Sikh and being a turbaned Sikh, he almost came very close to being a target of the violence that ensued after. I can listen to his story on how he managed to escape so many times. He has stories from India-Pakistan partition as well and it is always interesting to hear them.
While age might have caught up with him in the recent years, but even now the man is so particular about the way he looks, and is always impeccably dressed. If we have to go out, he will make sure to check with me whether he is looking nice or not, which of course he is. And even at his age, he is up to date with technology and never shies away from learning new things. He has his own iPad, learnt Facebook 5 years back, and just a few months back switched to a new phone because he thought his old phone was outdated.
He has worked very hard over the years and its his and my grandmother’s efforts that his children and grandchildren always got what we wanted. Whenever we needed any help, my grandparents have always had our back. My grandmother is no more, and it has been tough for my grandfather not having his companion of so many years, but I am glad he is here with us, and pray that he continues to live a healthy and happy life.
Coming back to the recipe of this orange and blueberry cake. I adapted the recipe from the orange and blueberry muffin recipe I have shared on the blog eons earlier. Its an old recipe, and those muffins are one of my favorites. I love blueberries paired with citrus fruits like oranges. Since I was making this as a birthday cake, instead of muffins, I doubled the recipe and made two 8 inch cakes. I also subbed a bit of the butter with oil, so that the cake remains a bit moist even straight out of the refrigerator.
While I love buttercream, my grandfather prefers whipped cream, so I frosted the cake with whipped cream. Topped with fresh oranges and some red currant, the cake tasted great. Its not a very sweet cake, but just about right. You could increase the sugar to a cup if you would like a slightly more sweet cake. For us, this was perfect.
- ½ cup orange juice
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 4 eggs
- 6 tbsp honey
- 113 grams butter, melted
- 113 grams oil
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp grand mariner
- 2 cups blueberries- fresh, preferably, or frozen (not thawed)
- 1½ cups whipped cream
- 3-4 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F.
- Grease two 8 inch pans with butter or spray.
- In a bowl, mix the orange juice with the buttermilk.
- In another bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a bowl, beat the melted butter, oil, sugar,honey, and eggs till a little light and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, grand mariner and orange zest. Beat.
- Add the flour and the buttermilk mix to the butter-eggs-sugar mix, alternating the wet and dry ingredients in three steps, starting with most of the flour, then the liquid and then flour, being careful to not over mix.
- Stir in the blueberries and gently mix till just mixed through.
- Bake cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
- Transfer pans to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing the cakes from the pan and letting them cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
- Once the cakes have cooled, torte the cakes so that you will have a nice flat surface to decorate.
- Whip the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar on high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, about 1 minute.
- Place the bottom layer on serving platter.
- Brush the top with some simple syrup, if you want. Brushing the cake with simple syrup adds a little more moistness to the cake. Spread a third of the whipped cream in the centre. You can add some fresh oranges or blueberries if you like. Top with the second cake. Brush it with simple syrup too. Add a third of the whipped cream to crumb coat. Decorate as you like with the rest of the cream. Top with fresh fruit.