Orange Layer Cake with Orange Bavarian Cream for Diwali

Diwali fireworks are bursting around us as I type. We have all been sitting in the balcony with the little one who is enjoying the pretty starbursts with his great-grandmother, my Ammama. Although he does not like the noise too much and is now sitting on her lap with his fingers in his ears, staring at the sky! Ammama looks so happy, she has come to my parents home here in Coimbatore all the way from her beloved farm in Kerala, just to be with our little monkey. This moment is such a blessing.

Hope my Indian friends are having a wonderful Diwali filled with love and laughter and great food of course! 

Diwali is a Hindu religious festival celebrating the return of Rama and Sita after years of exile and is spread over five days. It is great that I was able to be in India during this time.You just cannot help getting caught up in the excitement. I enjoy the fireworks, beautifully bedecked women in their finest saris, jewelry and with jasmine in their hair, but most of all - sweets! It just would not be Diwali without the mandatory boxes of ghee and cardamom scented sweets that would arrive from friends. 

Cake is not typical to Diwali but I was inspired to make this cake yesterday- layers of soft, airy sponge with a touch of citrus zest and just sweet enough orange Bavarian cream with segments of fresh orange that burst as you bite them-citrus fireworks in your mouth!

The sponge cake is made with a lot of eggs but no butter. It is quite dry and slightly eggy-smelling on its own. But it absorbed the simple syrup I made with orange juice and sugar like a...well, like a sponge and becomes moist and tender with a filling and frosting. So for a layer cake, do not look past this simple sponge cake which is also quite easy to make and very easy to remember. If you are looking for a plain tea cake to eat on it's own, check out these instead. I was itching to add a dash of cardamom powder which  think would have been perfect with the orange but my kid brother (no longer a kid really) does not like cardamom too much so I controlled myself. Besides Diwali brings about a cardamom overdose anyway!Which ever way you try it -with or without the cardamom and for whatever reason you find to bake it, you will love it! Even if your Bavarian Cream does not set like me -I don't know why :( and is a little runny, it still tastes really, really good! 

Orange Sponge Cake with Orange Bavarian Cream

Recipe Source: Strawberry Bavarian Cream by Deeba from here

A delicious and festive sponge layer cake filled with Orange Bavarian cream

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 2 hours Total time: 2 hours 10 mins Yield: 1 9" cake (10 servings)

For the sponge cake ( dairy-free)

  • Large eggs separated: 6
  • Flour:1 cup
  • Sugar:1 cup  ( since the sugar in India has large granules, I powdered it in the mixie. When powdered, there was about 1/4 cup more)
  • a pinch of salt ( to whip the egg whites) 
  • Zest from one small orange, grated. Rub the zest into the sugar until fragrant

Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F 
Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan or line a regular cake pan with parchment paper
Separate the egg yolks and egg whites ( Easier when the eggs are cold from the fridge) into two bowls
With clean beaters, and in the clean and dry bowl, whip the eggwhites with 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of salt until they have firm peaks. 
A good way to test if they are ready is to slowly turn the bowl. If firm the egg whites will not move and stick to the bowl. You can turn the bowl upside down over your head and the egg whites should not fall!If they move then just keep beating a little more until they are firm.  
Keep beaten egg whites aside
Add the remaining sugar to the yolks and beat on med-high speed ( no need to clean the mixer blades-yay!) until tripled in volume or all the sugar has dissolved and the yolks are pale and creamy, about 8-10 minutes
Now add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and fold in gently with a spatula so as not to release any beaten in air and deflate them. 
Sift in half the flour and fold in gently, followed by 1/3 beaten whites, then remaining flour, and finally remaining beaten whites. Fold everything gently until combined and there are no streaks of egg whites. 
Gently pour out into a prepared tin, and bake at 180C (or 350 F) for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from tin immediately, peel off parchment and cool completely on rack. My cake shrank a bit because I left it in the pan for a while. So it is important to remove this type of sponge cake from the pan as soon as it has baked else it will start to collapse and sink from the heat.

For the Orange Bavarian Cream Filling:

Bavarian cream is basically a custard to which gelatin and whipped cream is added to make a creamy, not too sweet, mousse-like filling.


  •  2 egg yolks 
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean ( or you can use vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsps milk
  • 1/2 1/4 tbsps gelatin
  • 200m cream (I used 25% fat)
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • Orange segments ( remove the peel outer membrane and seeds) from 3-4 oranges
Whisk the egg yolks with a whisk or fork and the sugar until smooth.
Simmer 1/4 cup milk and 100ml cream with 1 scraped vanilla bean, bean included. Turn off heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
Bloom gelatin powder in 3 tbsps of cold milk ( it will start to solidify and become a jelly)
Put the pan back on simmer. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, take it off the heat and whisk into the yolk mix.
Return to a heavy bottom pan, and place on medium heat until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly.
Take off and whisk in the bloomed gelatin. Strain and leave to cool. (You can quicken the cooling by stirring the bowl held over a bowl of ice.)
Once it is completely cooled, whip the remaining 100ml of cream with 1-2 tbsps of Castor sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and fold it into the custard gently but thoroughly.
You will notice the Bavarian thickening.
Seperate the segmented orange into bits of individual juice globules and mix it up with the Bavarian cream along with some squeezes of orange juice. ( Use up only about 1 orange this way)

Simple Orange Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • A dash of cardamom powder ( optional)
Mix the above well until the sugar has melted.

While the custard is cooling, slice the sponge into two with a long knife using a gentle sawing motion.
Look up youtube videos if this is your first time making a layer cake.
Paint each layer with the simple syrup. You can use a spoon to pour it over the cake layers.This is very essential to moisten the sponge cake which will otherwise be very dry.
Place the lower layer on your serving platter.Arrange some of the orange segments over it and spread out  the cooled Bavarian cream.
Leave a small margin around the cake so that the filling does not overflow
Place the top layer over it and arrange the remaining orange segments in a ring around the border.
You can simply dust some sugar over a paper stencil or you can pour any remaining bavarian cream over the top. The Orange pieces will act like a wall and prevent the Bavarian cream from spilling over the sides.

Note: I placed the cake in the fridge and loved it served chilled, while the sponge absorbed some of the filling and became softer. Unfortunately my Bavarian cream was a little runny although it still tasted great- very much like a creamy custard or pastry cream. Infact next time I think I will just make a simple custard. If anyone has tips on how to make the Bavarian cream set, please do let me know!

Do check out all my other cakes and cupcakes here


  1. A fabulous treat to celebrate any festival!! Happy Diwali to you!!

  2. That sounds so divine! Love the flavors and sponge texture.

  3. I love bavarian cream :) And this cake sounds heavenly...

    I had made Bavarian cream but with whipping cream (the one that you get here is non-dairy.. so its ok for your son too) and it had set perfectly... (its here -

    I've had terrible experiences trying to whip that 25% Amul fresh cream and now i just stay far away from it... Though I wonder if reducing the quantity of milk and increasing the amount of gelatin will help if using 25% cream

  4. That looks great rose!! and why not a cake for Diwali:-) Nice idea.Hope u r having a great time in Kerala..njoy!!

  5. This looks like a perfect sweet dish for Diwali. Book marked this dear. This cake looks amazing, really very soft and moist. I can feel the orange smell coming from the cake.. :) So rose when are you coming to Bangalore. Eagerly waiting.

  6. Thanks girls! Whew Sarah I thought I had done something wrong. Glad to hear it was the cream's fault and not mine :)

  7. Woww thats a gorgeous cake,simply irresistible..

  8. Absolutely delicious recipe...I love orange cakes and this looks heavenly!! Love your blog...I will be happy to follow you.
    You can visit me at
    I'll be more than happy :)

  9. Forgotten all about the bavarian cream,thanks for your space...

  10. The orange cake looks appetizing! I never came across another recipe like this...very unique!


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