This Italian cake is a traditional dessert served on March 8th.
It began in New York City on March 8, 1857, when female textile workers marched in protest of unfair working conditions and unequal rights for women. It was one of the first organized strikes by working women, during which they called for a shorter work day and decent wages and became more forceful after a factory fire claimed the lives of several female workers forced to work in unsafe conditions.
A tribute to women everywhere!
The name is derived from the Greek word ‘mimos’, which means actor or mime, while the suffix means ‘resembling. This is likely because the leaves are said to mimic conscious life.
The Meaning of the Mimosa Flower
Mimosa is like a ray of sunshine in the middle of winter and the fragrance brings a promise of spring. It will perfume your home or brighten your garden with its beautiful bright yellow color. To gift a bouquet of mimosa flowers is to deliver a message of love and friendship. It refers to sunlight and summer but symbolizes respect, elegance, dignity, and kindness. In some cultures, the mimosa flower is tied to sensitivity and thus is a favorite in many eastern European countries as well as the United States, and is a favorite for celebrating International Women’s Day. In Italy ladies usually receive bouquets of mimosas.
FOR THE CAKE:
1 ½ CUPS SUGAR
1/3 (scant) CUP VEGETABLE OIL
2 EGGS – room temp
1 ORANGE – large, zested
2 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
1/3 CUP SOUR CREAM
1 ¾ CUPS FLOUR
2 ¼ TSPS BAKING POWDER
PINCH OF SALT
½ CUP BUTTERMILK – not low-fat
2/3 CUP CHAMPAGNE or PROSECCO
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350º
LINE 2 8-INCH PANS WITH SILPAT OR PARCHMENT PAPER
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed just until the eggs and oil are well combined and the batter is light in color, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Next add the sour cream and orange zest and beat until all incorporated.
In a separate bowl add the dry ingredients and stir together. Alternate adding the dry ingredients together with the wet ingredient (buttermilk and champagne or prosecco) and beat on low speed until everything is well incorporated. Carefully, scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure you scrape in all that is stuck to the bottom of the bowl, as well.
Pour the batter into the 2 prepared pans and bake for 18-22 minutes. Keep a close look at the cakes during the last few minutes. Insert a cake tester in the center of each cake to test. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes in their pans on a wire rack before carefully removing cakes from pans to cool completely.
FOR THE FROSTING:
3 CUPS BUTTER – unsalted, room temp
10 EGG WHITES – room temp
2 ½ CUPS SUGAR
2 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT – or more to taste
2 ORANGES – large, zested
Combine sugar and egg whites in a stainless-steel bowl of your stand mixer and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl.
Set the bowl over a pot of hot water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it reaches a temperature of 140ºF. When it reaches this temperature, the sugar should have dissolved into the egg whites and should not be visible. The mixture should be completely smooth.
Remove the bowl from the pot and attach to your mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites starting out on low speed and increasing slowly to medium speed after a few minutes. Then beat the meringue for 10 minutes more constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl. Your frosting should now be glossy white and the meringue should form peaks that are thick and soft.
At this point, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slice the butter into small pieces, switch to the paddle attachment and slowly beat on low speed as you add the butter a little at a time until it is all mixed in. The frosting might look curdled but that is not a problem.
Add the vanilla along with the orange zest and continue beating on medium speed for an additional 3-5 minutes until the frosting becomes smooth and silky.
Now you are ready to frost your cake if it is completely cooled. To make it look a little more like a mimosa you may want to add a drop of yellow food coloring into the frosting during the last beating.
NOTE: The cake layers are not very thick. If you want a high cake, make 4 layers by making the same cake recipe twice. It doesn’t work well to just double the recipe. Additionally, you can use your own homemade frosting and just add a little orange zest and a drop or two of yellow food coloring.