Welcome Hopefully, you haven’t turned away because I used the word “naked” in my title today. There’s meaning here, so stay with me. And I am SOOO excited about today’s recipe. It is called Naked Orange Ombre Cake, and I’ll explain a little more about that in the recipe section. As always, thanks for stopping by! Note-I may receive a small compensation from advertisers or affiliate links in this blog. For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.
Food For Thought The idea for this post came to me a while back. You see, I often pray in the shower. The task is pretty routine and doesn’t require a lot of concentration, there are few interruptions, and it’s mostly quiet. Basically, I can think about what I’m praying and focus without distraction. And, I found out I am not alone in this activity! As I read some other mom-blogs, I find other Christian women are doing this, and for the exact same reasons. But then, in my typical overly analytical fashion, I began to wonder if this was perhaps disrespectful, in some way. I was thinking that maybe without clothes on, God would be offended by me offering prayers of gratitude or making requests in this state or at this time. I mean, we wouldn’t dare enter a place of worship in a state of nudity, now, would we? I am both relieved and grateful that we do not go to church in this way! But then I started thinking about this “nakedness” a little deeper.
I used The King James Bible Page online to look up the biblical meaning of “naked.” I was surprised to find 11 (!) different meanings and examples of how the word naked can be used in the Bible. The number one definition, and most often used, is the one we all would expect and think of first: not covered, bare, without clothes. Other definitions included unarmed, defenseless, exposed (as in battle); open to view, not concealed; destitute (see Job 1); exposed to shame or disgrace; guilty; plain, undisguised, or evident (as in “naked truth”); mere or simple; not enclosed (I’m not sure about this one); and some others referring to leafless plants or the “naked eye.” When I think of nakedness, I also think of vulnerability. Looking at the definition of “vulnerable” in the Merriam Webster Dictionary, it states “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded” and “open to attack or damage” as the most common uses. If we cross-check with our King James Bible Page definition of naked, the second use was being defenseless or exposed, which sounds a lot like the second definition of vulnerable. When I looked up synonyms for “naked” I was given a long list of words that included, among others, exposed, defenseless, and vulnerable. I want to talk about exposure here.
Exposure. We need to be willing to expose everything to God, and I’m not just talking about when we’re naked in the shower. And by the way, God already knows all about our physical bodies…how it looks, what it needs, after all He did create us and He provides for us! We can’t cover up anything from God…not our sins, not our guilt, not our heartaches, not our discouragement, not those ugly feelings we have way down deep that we try to keep buried and hidden from everyone else. He knows it all! But what He really wants is for us to have such a close and loving relationship with Him, that we will bring all of these things to Him on our own. I need to strip away the coverings I put on for the rest of mankind. I try to cover up my weaknesses, my desires, my mistakes, my true identity and feelings, just so I don’t make others uncomfortable with my “nakedness.” And sometimes this is good…I am positive that it would go very badly if everyone knew every single thought I ever had cross my mind! But God is not mankind. God needs me to be honest and vulnerable with him. God needs me to confess when I have done wrong or when I’m struggling with a particular sin in my life. God wants me to show Him the weakest, most exposed areas of my heart and soul, and let Him in! God does not want me to disguise my hurts to protect Him. He doesn’t need my protection and He wants to help and comfort me with His love and compassion. And while that shower may be cleaning my physical body, I need God to cleanse my soul. So go ahead and pray, wherever you happen to be, even if it’s in the shower!
Today’s Scriptures In the book of Zechariah, he shares prophecies and predictions with his people to offer encouragement and motivation. I think what is shared in chapter 3 is very meaningful for us, as well. Verse 3 and 4 states the following: “Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.” The only way God will be able to adorn us with His rich garments of Heavenly Salvation is for us to strip away the old, dirty and sinful “clothing” we have been wearing in this world. Stripping off the old requires us to get naked before God and become vulnerable, confessing our sins and becoming defenseless as we allow God to fight our battles.
Today’s Prayer God, may I allow You to see all of my spiritual and emotional nakedness, so that I’m honest with You and with myself. I don’t want to cover up my struggles, weakness, or sins from You, even though I know I can’t anyway. I want to be vulnerable to letting You into the darkest, most uncomfortable places of my life, so that I may have Your help and comfort. Lord, I ask that others in this world accept being vulnerable to You, submitting total control to You. God, I put my care in Your hands. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Today’s Recipe I love checking out trends in cooking and baking, especially on Pinterest. One of the trends I’ve been watching recently is called “naked cakes.” These are layered cakes with frosting or filling in between the layers, and sometimes on top, but the sides are left bare, or naked. Some of the cakes I have seen are really quite stunning and if you’d like to check out more of them you can follow my Food Craft board on Pinterest. Well, I have anxiously been waiting for an opportunity to try making one of these cakes and I had my opportunity this weekend. Before my football teams started playing Saturday, I played around in the kitchen with this Naked Orange Ombre Cake. I was very pleased with the results, especially considering this was my first attempt. Something I would suggest from my learning experience, is be generous with the filling around the edges. I played it safe, worried I’d have too much come out the sides, and ended up with a little more bareness on the edges than most of the pictures I looked at online. This cake is a bonus if you have a crowd that doesn’t love icing, like my husband who has to scrape his off. Another plus for these types of cakes, you do not have to be a stellar cake decorator to still make an amazingly beautiful cake. Most of these cakes are decorated with fresh fruit or flowers. A doctored-up cake mix, homemade filling, and fresh fall flowers became an amazing dessert!
Naked Orange Ombre Cake
- For Cake:
- 2 packaged white cake mixes
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 6 egg whites
- 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1 TBS orange zest
- Paste Food Coloring to mix orange colors (I used Wilton Buttercup Yellow, Lemon Yellow, and Red Red to make my color variations.)
- For Orange Buttercream Filling:
- 4 sticks butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1 TBS orange zest
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 7-8 cups powdered sugar
- For Decorating:
- Fall flower arrangements and/or candied orange peel
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 4 9-inch round cake pans, being especially diligent in the corners. Since the sides of this layer cake are not frosted, it is very important that the layers come out of the pans cleanly. In large mixing bowl, beat all of the cake ingredients together, except for food coloring. When cake batter is combined and smooth, separate into four bowls, about 2 1/4 cups per bowl. Leave one bowl to the side and add no coloring. In second bowl, tint yellow color-this is where I used the Buttercup Yellow. Third bowl of cake batter is tinted an orange-yellow. For this, I used about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon yellow and 1/4 teaspoon of red-red. The fourth bowl of cake batter is tinted orange. For this, I used about 1/2 teaspoon each of lemon yellow and red-red. I find the best thing to do with food coloring is to play around with it until you get the color you want, but always remember to start with less and build on, because you can’t take away the coloring once it’s in the bowl! The idea for this cake though, is that it gradually fades out from orange to almost white.
After the bowls of cake batter have been tinted, pour each bowl into a prepared round cake pan, tapping sides to be sure there are no air bubbles. Bake cakes 22-25 minutes (Mine took exactly 23 minutes for all four to be done, and I cooked them in the same oven, at the same time.) Remove cake pans from oven and place on cooling racks for 10 minutes. Carefully run a butter knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the cake. Turn the cooling rack over on top of the cake pan and then flip the whole thing over so that the cake comes out of the pan onto the cooling rack. Repeat this process with the other three cakes. Allow these cake layers to finish cooling entirely, about another hour. While cakes are cooling, prepare the filling.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add orange juice, zest, vanilla, and 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat on medium speed. Continue to add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the mixture comes together like a soft buttercream. Once cakes have cooled completely, take orange cake layer and place on cake plate. Note–if the cakes have a lot of loose flour on the sides, gently take a pastry brush and sweep away as much flour as you can. Spread a thick layer of orange buttercream on top. Place orange-yellow cake layer on top of this, then adding another layer of orange buttercream. Place the yellow cake layer next, with more orange buttercream. Finally, place the un-tinted cake layer and frost the top of the cake smooth…remember, don’t frost the sides! Using a large frosting spatula, scrape around the sides of the cake to remove any filling that may have come out and to even it up. It’s okay if there’s a little here and there, you just want the sides as smooth as possible and still showing most of the colors of the cake layers. To decorate, snip fall colored flowers, or other orange and yellow flowers, close to the stems and arrange on top or sides of cake as desired. Remember to remove flowers before serving, since most arrangements are not sold for consumption. I recommend storing any left-overs in a cake-saver, since the sides are left unfrosted it leaves the cake susceptible to drying out.
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