ORANGE LAYER CHARLOTTE WITH BUTTERCREAM AND BERRIES
- For the cake:
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 9 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
- 1 Tbsp Orange zest
- 4 large egg whites
- For the frosting:
- 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 lbs powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
- 1/4 tsp lemon extract
- For assembly:
- Ladyfingers (approx 36 for an 8-inch cake)
- 1/2 pint of blue berries
- 1/2 pint of raspberries
- 1/2 lb strawberries
- Ribbon (approx 2 yards)
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of two 8-inch diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; spray parchment. Dust pans with flour, tapping out any excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 3/4 cups sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, Grand Marnier, and orange zest. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beating until well blended between additions. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining sugar. Beat egg white mixture until stiff glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold egg white mixture into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; remove parchment paper, turn cakes over, and cool completely. Level the cake layers, if necessary.
For frosting: Cream cream cheese and butter on low until smooth. Turn the mixer off and add all powdered sugar at once. Turn mixer on “Stir” until the powdered sugar is mostly incorporated and increase speed to low. Add Grand Marnier and lemon extract; mix until smooth (approx 4 minutes). Thin the frosting with water or milk, if necessary (I added a couple Tbsp of milk).
For assembly: Rinse the berries and pat dry. Cut the top from the strawberries and slice thinly. Spread approx 3/4 cup frosting on bottom layer, top generously with raspberries and blueberries, lightly pressing the fruit into the frosting. Top with second layer. Frost tops and sides of cake liberally.
Sift powdered sugar lightly over the top of the ladyfingers. Pipe a line of frosting onto the back of the ladyfingers and apply to the side of the cake, allowing about 1-inch of the cookies to stick up over the side of the cake. Press onto the cake. Arrange remaining blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries over the top of the cake, as desired. Tie with a ribbon. Refrigerate overnight if not serving the same day.