This is where I found the original idea:
We'd had a big delivery of organic oranges and no one wanted to eat the last two. I made one into this cake and mixed the zest/juice of the other into pancake batter (when in doubt...pancakes can get rid of a LOT of old-but-not-spoiled fruit).
With this cake, it seemed simple enough that I could treat it as a collection of flavors, rather than strictly following the original directions.
I used Carol Walter's "Absolutely the Best" yellow cake (8 cup recipe for two 8" cake pans), swapping out 1/4 cup of milk for the 1/4 cup of orange juice. I added most of the zest from one orange.
An online version of the recipe I used is here (mix up a half batch for 8 cups):
I made the cranberry jam almost as described, except I used dried cranberries ("craisins"), and I didn't use whole spices (I grated everything into the white wine using my Magic Bullet, and left the grated powders in).
For the frosting, I made my salted buttercream recipe (I always use salted butter, I like the extra flavor salt adds):
1/2 cup of salted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 cups of icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons of cream or half-and-half
I can make a meringue buttercream, but TBH I hate having to juggle leftover egg yolks when I make meringue. I *know* you can fridge/freeze them...I still hate it :D. Also, I like the way American buttercream crusts up.
I added orange juice to the buttercream instead of cream, and I added maybe a teaspoon worth of orange zest (I saved a bit from the zest that went into the cake). I forgot to pulse the zest in the food processor with the sugar to break it up so we did have little chewy bits in the frosting. Oops. In the past I would have probably added Fiori de Sicilia to this cake and frosting (instead of vanilla), but I can't find it in Australia. I may have sourced some rose water so if I get it I'll make my own.
The cake was DELICIOUS. Orange in the cake and frosting which was nice and light and citrus-ey...and then this really rich spiced cranberry taste in the center. It was almost one of those "OMG" or "WOW" cakes, but I had been battling with soapy tastes in my baking and it did strike with this one. Also, I was still figuring out how to use the mixed mode bake setting on my convection microwave for my cake and it was a little overdone (crusty edges on the top).
While reading about the professional cakes here my mind started wandering back to this cake. Take a basic yellow or white cake and add orange flavors. Make the syrup people use to moisten the cake from the jam recipe (straining out all the fruit). Make a mulled spiced cranberry curd using as many egg yolks as you'll need whites for the buttercream, and spread it between the layers instead of the juicier jam. Make an orange-flavored meringue buttercream with those reserved egg whites.
Off to lurk and ponder what to bake next :D.