Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake

Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake

If you are a reader of the Sprinkle Bakes book, then you already know I have a crush on Marimekko’s iconic poppy flower print known as Unikko. I created Unikko flood sugar cookies for the book over three years ago, and that project remains one of my favorites to this day. I love making the recipe for party favors, and I really wanted to make some for my art reception a few weeks ago (they would have been perfect for CBI’s modern interior) but I was short on time. The desire for a new Unikko confection took residence in my heart, but this time in the form of poppy seed-speckled cake layers with sunny orange filling – flavors I felt were so apropos for the beloved design.

Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake
Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake

I used the cookie template from the back of the Sprinkle Bakes book as a guide to draw the flowers onto the cake. In hindsight, I could have free-handed them since the shapes are so organic (and you could too!) but if you need a little help then feel free to use this template from the book (right click on the image and print).

Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake

Even if you forgo the Marimekko exterior, I urge you to try the cake! The poppy seeds crackle between the teeth when you take a bite, and the orange filling perfectly complements the orange zest in the cake layers.  It’s nice. I think you’ll agree.

Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake
Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake

If you’re new to covering cakes with rolled fondant, then you can find a good guide here. You can also find detailed instructions in the Sprinkle Bakes book. I’ve also done a good bit of explaining in the instructions below.

This cake was so much fun to make, and the bright orange flavor is a sure pick-me-up!

Enjoy!

Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake

Orange Poppy Seed Marimekko Cake

Heather Baird
Marimekko's brilliant floral patterns make this zesty orange cake extra cheerful. This cake has a few steps, so I like to spread out the work over a few days. Make the cake and filling on one day; fill, frost, and decorate the next.
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 oranges about 2 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk

Orange Filling

  • 12 ounces chopped orange segments about 3 large oranges
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • Orange food color optional

Orange buttercream and fondant instructions

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 ½-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons clear orange extract plus extra for painting
  • Milk or heavy cream optional
  • 1 lb white vanilla ready-made rolled fondant I like Satin Ice
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Red gel food color
  • Black gel food color
  • Orange gel food color
  • Small artists’ brush
  • Corn syrup

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Spray pans with flour-based baking spray, or grease and flour them.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, and oil. Add sour cream, vanilla, orange zest, and poppy seeds; mix until well combined.
  • Sift in 3 cups of the flour, the salt and baking powder. Mix on low speed until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Sift in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl and beat again briefly.
  • If making a triple layer cake, place two cups of batter in each 8-inch pan. If making a double layer cake, place 3 cups of batter in each 9-inch pan.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed in their centers.
  • Let the cakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Orange filling

  • In a small saucepan, bring the orange segments and water to a boil. Mash them as they cook with a potato masher or the back of a large spatula. Reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Press oranges through a sieve; discard membranes and seeds and allow the mixture to cool. You should have 1 cup of cooked juice, if you’re short, fill the measure with prepared orange juice until it reaches 1 cup.
  • Wash the pan for reuse. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in the pan; stir in the cooled orange juice mixture and whisk until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the orange extract and orange food color, if using. Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and let cool completely.

Make the buttercream

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin on low speed and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
  • Add orange extract and beat again for another minute. If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.

Fill the cake layers

  • Transfer 1/2 cup of the buttercream to a piping bag and pipe a circle of frosting around the outer edge of two cake layers. Fill the cakes with the orange filling. Stack the cake layers and cover the entire cake with a crumb coat of buttercream. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator and chill until the frosting is firm.

Cover the cakes with fondant

  • Cover a work surface lightly with vegetable shortening. Cover with confectioners’ sugar instead if working in humid conditions. Knead the fondant well before using. Using a smooth rolling pin, roll 3/4 of the fondant in a circle twice the size of the cake (to 1/4″ thinness).
  • Drape fondant over the cake and gently fit and smooth it over the edges. Trim the fondant with a small paring knife or pizza cutter (recommended!). Place the cake on a cake stand or serving tray.

Make the Unikko flower pattern

  • Print the Marimekko template (see link in blog post) and cut out the flowers with scissors. Cut out the round flower centers and discard them. Place a little clear food color in a small dish and add red gel food color until a paint consistency is formed. Hold a flower template against the fondant and trace around it with a paint-loaded paintbrush. Take care not to smear the paint as you remove the template from the cake’s surface. Repeat until the sides of the cake are covered in flower outlines. You may choose to print additional flower templates if the ones you are using get too saturated with food color paint.
  • Fill in the outlines with red food color paint. Tint a small piece of fondant bright orange using the orange gel food color. Roll the fondant flat and cut out round pieces using a small fondant cutter or bottle cap. Squeeze the fondant so that the shapes are irregular. Paint a small black oval in the centers of the orange rounds using the black food color (dilute in a small amount of orange extract as before).
  • Attach the flower centers with a dot of corn syrup. Allow the cake to stand until dry at room temperature before serving.
  • Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Keyword orange buttercream, orange filling, poppyseed
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Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
6 years ago

Wonderful decorations and heavenly flavours.

Cheers,

Rosa

Coco Cake Land
Coco Cake Land
6 years ago

Eeks I love Marimekko! So bright and vintage-modern, Heather! Love how the exterior perfectly reflects the speckly cute interior and filling, too. you rule. xo

June Burns
June Burns
6 years ago

Wow that is just gorgeous! I will have to break out that cookie recipe, I admired it but never made it…this cake sounds like something I'll have to try as well!

Sam -- SugarSpunRun
Sam -- SugarSpunRun
6 years ago

What a beautiful cake!

Elsa
Elsa
6 years ago

This looks unbelievably good! It's gorgeous!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
6 years ago

The cake flavour itself is awesome, but those decorations?! You are Queen.

Oat&Sesame
Oat&Sesame
6 years ago

How lovely! I like how the frosting holds the jam in the middle – very clever. Can't wait to give this a whirl!

United Cakedom
United Cakedom
6 years ago

I have had lemon and poppyseed muffins before but a gorgeous orange flavored cake with poppyseeds sounds divine! Plus I love the art work on it! Beautiful all around!

Unknown
Unknown
6 years ago

I love poppy seeds! They're so versatile and they make baking so much better!

Sarah @ Savoring Spoon
Sarah @ Savoring Spoon
6 years ago

Wow! This cake is beautiful, and those poppies are amazing! Love the flavors and especially the decor!

Neecerator
Neecerator
6 years ago

Beautiful work!

Unknown
Unknown
6 years ago

I love it! What a perfect thing to make for any girls birthday!

Anca
Anca
6 years ago

What an ingenious way to draw poppies. I love this idea.

Colette (Coco)
Colette (Coco)
6 years ago

Just so pretty, Heather. It's almost a shame to eat it!
I just did a post for lemon poppyseed pancakes.
Your orange poppyseed cake is stunning. I will make it, but not sure
I can make those flowers as pretty as you have!

Sofi
Sofi
6 years ago

My first tought was how much your cake look like Marimekko (I´m from finland) and the after I got over my "shock" I read you text, it is a Marimekko cake! What a nice Idea.

Jelli
Jelli
6 years ago

Love, love, LOVE! The design is so pretty and when you cut it open- breathtaking. Love that I think I could do this if I ever bother buying/making fondant again. Definitely on my to-do list. Thanks for sharing.

Kimberly@The Little Girl's Bakery
Kimberly@The Little Girl's Bakery
6 years ago

So beautiful! And the cake sounds wonderful, I love that combination or flavors.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

Hi Heather!! The cake looks amazing! I was wondering, if I could make cupcakes instead and filled them up with the orange filling (the way you did with the Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes) and if so…how many cupcakes do you think it will yield? Thank you.

Colette (Coco)
Colette (Coco)
4 years ago

I don't know how in the world I missed this beauty!
It came up in my google image search this morning and I should've known
anything this stunning would have to be a Heather creation.
Thanks for detailing the steps for us cake decorating newbies.
I can't wait to try this. xo