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Esther's Orange-Marmalade Layer Cake (Mitford Series)

recipe at a glance
Rating: 4/5
3 reviews
1 comment

ready in: 2-5 hrs
serves/makes:   10

recipe id: 16140
cook method: oven, stovetop
Esther's Orange-Marmalade Layer Cake  (Mitford Series) Recipe
photo by: Carol Campbell
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For the Cake

3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Orange Syrup

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the Filling

1 cup orange marmalade

For the Frosting

3/4 cup well-chilled heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup well-chilled sour cream


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment or waxed paper, and butter and flour the paper, shaking out the excess.

In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter until combined, add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 of the buttermilk until combined well. Add half the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk and beat until combined well. Finally, beat in the remaining dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.

Evenly divide the batter between the pans, smooth the surface, rap each pan on the counter to expel any air pockets or bubbles, then transfer to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to racks and cool in the pans for 20 minutes.

To Make the Orange Syrup: In a bowl, stir together the orange juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. With a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes at 1/2-inch intervals in the cake layers and spoon the syrup over each layer, allowing the syrup to be completely absorbed before adding the remaining. Let layers cool completely.

To Make the Filling: In a small saucepan set over moderate heat, heat the marmalade until just melted. Let cool 5 minutes.

To Make the Frosting: In a bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the sugar until it forms firm peaks. Add the sour cream, a little at a time, and whisk until of spreading consistency.

To Assemble the Cake: Arrange one of the layers on a cake plate, carefully peel off the waxed paper, then spread 2/3 of the marmalade over the top, smoothing it into an even layer. Invert the remaining layer onto the top of the first layer, peel off the waxed paper and spoon the remaining marmalade onto the center of it, leaving a 1 1/4-inch border around the edge.

Frost the sides and top of the border with the frosting, leaving the marmalade on top of the cake exposed. Or if you prefer, frost the entire cake, adding the marmalade as a garnish on top. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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693 calories, 31 grams fat, 101 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein per serving.
Show full nutritional data (including Weight Watcher's Points ®, cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, and diabetic exchanges)

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comments & reviews

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Guest at

REVIEW: 4 star recipe rating
This cake is delicious. My husband requests it for birthday, valentine's day - any day he can get a request in! It is a lot of work, but well worth it. My only problem is the frosting...can't seem to get it at a "spreadable" consistency...quite runny.

Guest at


This is not the original recipe. That one calls for 5 large egg and 4 egg yolks plus 2/3 cup of vegetable oil. It's much richer.

Guest at

REVIEW: 4 star recipe rating
Very good cake! Not as sweet as you may think. Lot's of work, but worth it. Refreshing and great for summer weather to help cool off!
Made my own buttermilk and worked great. Please use real butter and other ingredients to be sure you have a perfect outcome.
Will make this again!

Registered Member at
Member since:
Mar 2, 2008

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Because of being a fan of the Mitford series,I was really looking forward to tasting this cake, but I was a mite disappointed. Granted I'm not much of a cook, but this cake took me 4 hours and a small mountain of dishes to make. Then, while it was good, it wasn't what I expected. It is a very heavy cake, all the while being very fine-grained and not very orange-y. I wouldn't spend the time to make it again...

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