Mise en place
Mom glanced through my mail and came across the Harry & David catalog. She flipped past the gleaming pictures of perfectly ripe fruit to the luscious portrait of a cake, Orange Creme Dream Cake. $49.95 for an orange chiffon cake filled with orange-flecked whipped cream cheese and covered with buttercream. Now that's a job that I want, to make a cake and charge $49.95 for it. "Mom, really, if you want that cake, I'll make it for you," I said, knowing that her birthday was in a few days.
I checked out my favorite cookbooks and found orange chiffon cake, and I soon discovered that I didn't really need the buttercream frosting; a simple orange juice and sugar glaze would set off the cake nicely. Upon advice of a message board friend, I made Rose Levy Beranbaum's Orange Glow Chiffon Cake from the Cake Bible, with the gorgeous (unglazed) result above.
And now, I think it will be awhile before anyone gets a pound or butter cake from me -- I'm in love with chiffons. The texture, oh my goodness, just so light and tender. And it keeps for several days, just as fresh as when I made it.