optional: zest 1/4th orangefor a stronger orange flavor
Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Separate the egg white and yolk.
Add the egg whites to a bowl and mix on low-medium speed with a hand or stand mixer. Once the mixture begins to bubble and whip, add in the sugar for the egg whites and mix on high speed until medium peaks form.
*When you hold up the egg whites, it should maintain its shape with the tip of the peak curling over just slightly when the beaters are lifted.
Add sugar to the yolk and mix on medium speed with a hand mixer until the batter becomes an ivory yellow and reaches the “ribbon stage”*. Mix in the vanilla extract until combined thoroughly.
*This is when the lifting a whisk from the batter will slowly form a ribbon.
Add half of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture and mix carefully with a spatula. Do not let the egg whites deflate. Sift in 1/2 of the cake flour into the mixture. Mix carefully until just combined.
Add in the last half of the egg white mixture into the batter and mix carefully with a spatula again. Sift in 1/2 of the cake flour into the mixture. Mix carefully until just combined.
Add together the melted butter and milk. Pour this mixture to the sides of the batter bowl. Mix the liquid well but carefully with the batter. Move the spatula in circles around the bowl carefully. Do not deflate the batter by over mixing!
Pour the batter into a 6 inch cake pan. Raise and drop the cake pan on to a table so that any bubbles will be taken out. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden.
Cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Pound the pan about 2 times. Remove cake and cool it inverted on a wire rack.
In a medium saucepan, bring cherry preserves, granulated white sugar, orange juice and 1 1/2 cup cranberries to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir often as it boils for about 5 – 6 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the cranberry mixture to a medium sized bowl and stir in remaining 1/4 cup cranberries. This will be the top filling.
Pour remaining cranberry mixture into a bowl. Cool both bowls completely. This will be for the filling in between the cake layers. Cover and chill both bowls for 4 hours or more.
* Make the whipped cream before assembly after the filling has cooled.
Whip heavy cream and sugar until medium-stiff peaks form. Add in orange juice and whip until stiff peaks form. If using, whip in orange zest.
Cut the cake into thirds. Put whipped cream into a piper (or zip lock bag). With bottom layer of cake, pipe a ring of whipped cream on the edges of the cake. Add in the filling to the center of the cake and spread evenly.
Top with second cake layer. Repeat with ring of cream and center filling.
Top with third layer of cake. Spread whipped cream along the sides of the cake. Spread a thin layer of icing on top of the cake. Pipe a ring of whipped cream around top cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread cranberry topping (with whole berries) over top layer cake layer.
The cranberry filling is from Southern Living. But a different cake and whipped cream frosting is used. Enjoy!