You called for the orange icing, and here ’tis. In its original form, this is family legend. Dad’s birthday cake was always Cordon Bleu cake with orange icing. Grammy made the cake, Mom made the cake, I made the cake. No matter who made this combo, the icing — cheery yellow with flecks of orange peel — dripped determinedly down the cake’s sides.

It still does. This is a soft icing that will set up somewhat once you’ve had it on the cake for a while. I’ve adapted it for today’s cook: The adaptation consists of removing a raw egg yolk from the recipe, replacing it with dried pasteurized egg whites reconstituted with orange juice. The yolk made the icing richer and yellower, but had no central irreplaceable function. (While I have no problem with raw eggs in recipes, I understand that some people are not keen on them. So if a raw egg is gratuitous, it’s gone.)

You may feel like you’re not making quite enough icing, but fear not. You will easily cover your two-layer, 9-inch cake. One of the tricks to making the spreading process happier is a tool that I lack: An offset spatula. (More on that in another post.) If you’re really worried about coverage, add more orange juice by the teaspoonful to thin the icing.

Orange icing

Orange Icing

This is a soft-set icing. Yes, it will run off and you will wish to scoop it up with your finger. That’s half the fun.

Makes enough for a two-layer, 9-inch cake

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pasteurized egg-white powder
  • 6 tablespoons orange juice (grate oranges first, then squeeze juice)
  • Grated rind from 3 large oranges
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

In a medium bowl, cream butter and add about a half-cup of confectioner’s sugar. In another bowl, reconstitute the egg white with 2 tablespoons of the orange juice, smoothing out the lumps as well as you can. Add egg white, rest of orange juice, lemon juice and rind to the butter mixture. Mix until smooth. Add rest of confectioner’s sugar in half-cup increments, stirring to incorporate, until icing is ready to spread.

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