Orange and White Chocolate Layer Cake

An old-fashioned hot-milk cake turns into a spectacular layer cake when enriched with white chocolate and paired with a white chocolate-cream cheese frosting. White chocolate curls top the cake for a final, festive flourish.

CAKE

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut up

2 oz. white chocolate, chopped

4 eggs

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

FROSTING

6 oz. white chocolate, chopped

10 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel

4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

GARNISH

White chocolate curls, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 2 (9x2-inch) round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper; spray parchment. Flour bottom and sides of pans.

2. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. In medium saucepan, combine milk, 1/2 cup butter and 2 oz. white chocolate; heat over medium-low heat until butter and chocolate are melted and mixture is smooth and hot, stirring frequently. (Mixture should be about 150°F.)

3. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat eggs and sugar at medium speed 3 to 4 minutes or until thick, fluffy and lightened in color. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons orange peel. At low speed, beat in flour mixture until blended. Slowly beat in hot milk mixture until smooth. Pour evenly into pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 20 minutes. Run knife around edges of pans to loosen cakes. Invert onto wire rack; remove parchment. Cool completely.

4.To make frosting, fill medium saucepan one-fourth full with water; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat. Place 6 oz. white chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; place over saucepan, making sure bowl does not touch water. Stir frequently until chocolate is smooth and melted. Let cool slightly. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter at medium speed until blended and smooth. Beat in melted white chocolate until blended. Beat in 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 teaspoon orange peel. At low speed, beat in 4 cups of the powdered sugar, adding additional powdered sugar if needed for spreadable consistency. Beat until blended and smooth.

5. Place 1 cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round; spread top with 1 cup of the frosting. Top with second layer. Spread cake sides with thin layer of frosting (a crumb coat). Coat sides with another smooth layer of frosting. Spread remaining frosting over top. Spoon white chocolate curls over top of cake, mounding slightly towards center. (Cake can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

12 servings

PER SERVING: 760 calories, 35.5 g total fat (21.5 g saturated fat), 8.5 g protein, 104 g carbohydrate, 145 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, .5 g fiber

Can't get enough white chocolate? Here's another terrific dessert recipe to check out: White Chocoalate Pistachio Tart.


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