Orange sour cream cake for my body issues

PAPER DOLL – STEF LANG

Everything I see that’s on the TV
Getting’ me down I don’t wanna be me
Feel that pressure, pushin’ on me
Gotta have the looks and the perfect body

Living on a treadmill, skip my dinner
Work my body till I get thinner
Running with the girls across the nation
Caught up in a world of thinspiration

Still there’s things that I’m ashamed of
Cover my flaws with all my make up
I tried every tip in the magazines
No matter what I do I still I feel ugly

I follow these 10 easy steps
They tell me it’ll boost my confidence
They’re so good, they’re so tricky,
Make you do anything to just feel pretty

Those are some of the lyrics from Stef Lang’s powerful song, Paper Doll. I can totally relate.

I feel fat and disgusting. I know that I’m not fat and disgusting but it doesn’t matter what I logically know to be true when society has me brainwashed into thinking I should hide my hideous body behind giant tents masquerading as clothes. Damn you society! I blame you 100% for the belief that skin & bones = beauty. For never being satisfied with what I’ve got. For always thinking that I can be – no – should be thinner, prettier, better dressed, richer, happier.

That’s the thing, isn’t it? We’re all striving to be happier, in our lives, with our minds and our bodies. So when did it become a giant beauty contest?

I remember when that disgusting show, The Swan, premiered years ago on Fox (where else?).

I admit, I watched it. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I’d gaze in sick fascination as women who looked completely normal underwent significant surgical procedures to look like Barbie dolls. At the end of the each season (thank God there were only 2 – although 2 were too many), the “ugly ducklings” who became “swans” participated in a beauty pageant and the most beautiful swan of all was crowned the winner.

Ok, seriously, the winner of what? Of being so unhappy and insecure that she went on national television to expose her body and her insecurities to the world? Where she was told by a team of “experts” that she had a long list of physical “problems” that needed to be fixed before she’d meet society’s expectations of beauty? That now that she’d been surgically reconstructed, she was perfect and finally deserving of praise and admiration? That now she could finally be imbued with happiness, confidence and self-worth?!?!

It’s fucking madness – pardon my French.

When I was a kid, looking thin and gorgeous was not a priority.

I don’t think I really wanted to look like anything other than what I already looked like until high school, when I entered that dysfunctional pit of raging hormones, mutual misery, peer pressure and endless internal struggle. I’d compare myself to the “pretty, popular girls” with their long hair, thin bodies and beautiful clothes. I admit I was a pretty weird kid and I hid my lack of confidence behind a veneer of pride in how different and unique I was.

Puh-leez. I didn’t want to be smart and artsy – I wanted to be pretty. I wanted the most popular boy in school to like me back. I wanted attention but was too shy and awkward to command it.

Thankfully I’m older and wiser now, but not by much judging from the contents of this post. So what to do about this? Eat healthier and in moderation. Go to the gym to make my body stronger.

I need to work on my self-control because my body issues didn’t prevent me from attending Cakefest with my good girlfriends and spending an afternoon noshing around this table:

The Big Sis from Another Miss recently hosted a party that is a baker & dessert lover’s dream. Seeing all the delicious baked goods that are constantly uploaded onto Facebook and Instagram, she had the brilliant idea of gathering a few of us together to share in cake. Me and my tent-dress were so there.

I’ve been wanting to make an orange flavoured cake for a while and seized this as my opportunity. I relied heavily on Eating Out Loud’s orange cake recipe.

Orange Sour Cream Cake (adapted from Eating Out Loud)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
8 oz. butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 2 oranges

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease your cake pans of choice with butter.

Zest your oranges and using your fingers, rub the zest vigorously with the sugar until well combined.


In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Slowly add the sour cream, eggs, almond extract and vanilla extract until everything is thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients in the wet and mix until smooth. Add the orange juice and mix until combined.

Dreamy, creamy orange cake batter.


Pour the batter into the prepared pans. If baking in one pan, bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. If using two pans as I did, bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Orange frosting (adapted from Sweetapolita’s Nutella Cloud frosting found here)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon (15 mL) milk
pinch of salt

In a large bowl, cream the icing sugar and butter, mixing on low for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and mix on low speed until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix on medium speed until smooth for approximately 2 minutes.

Add the milk, pinch of salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon and orange zest. Mix on medium-high speed for another minute until the frosting is thoroughly combined and is smooth and silky.


I grated dark chocolate over top of the frosting for an even richer chocolate flavour.


I was supremely satisfied with my contribution to Cakefest. The cake was unbelievable – so moist and intensely infused with orange flavour rounded out by the subtle tang of sour cream. The frosting was satisfyingly sweet and the orange and chocolate was a perfect combination. Although honestly, I’d be perfectly happy eating the cake without any adornments. It truly didn’t need the frosting – it was exactly what I wanted all by itself. It’s not too sweet and would be perfect with a giant mug of tea or coffee at any time of day.

A shot of my humble cake.


Let’s check out the other Cakefest contributions.

Mrs. Smith made lemon bars that were both tart and sweet. The filling was creamy and smooth and the shortbread crust was thick, just how I like it.

The Shopaholic Nurse bought egg tarts. It’s the thought that counts! And egg tarts from New Town Bakery are always a hit.

The BSFAM made Elizabeth Prueitt’s lemon cake, found here on Oprah’s website. This sounded like the most gruelling baking experience ever. I counted 41 items in the ingredient list (yes, many are repeated items but they’re for FIVE different components of this cake).

Inside beauty shot. Isn’t it glorious? You could really taste the love and effort that went into making this masterpiece. The buttercream was so silky and only subtly sweet, which to me is perfect. I hate cloyingly sweet frostings. The cake hit you with a tart lemon flavour and had a wonderful tight crumb and light texture.

Ms. Ivory, who is truly a baker extraordinaire, made this dark chocolate stunner as well as the macarons. The recipe she used for the cake is Sweetapolita’s Rich & Ruffled Chocolate Celebration Cake, found here. She made two frostings, a coffee swiss meringue buttercream and a mocha buttercream, both of which are found here at Keep It Sweet Desserts.

This cake was everything I imagined and more: incredibly moist, rich, dark and decadent. This was like amazing sex on a plate. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the layer of macarons she put inbetween the middle layers. Genius! Ms. Ivory wasn’t too happy with how her frosting turned out but I still thought it was delicious.

I left Cakefest buzzing from the sugar, my stomach bulging, and my taste buds satiated.

Now pardon me. I have to go to the gym.

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24 thoughts on “Orange sour cream cake for my body issues

  1. I can completely relate my friend, I am not thin but certainly not fat but the pressure is never ending – we can healthy and enjoy life just as you have shown!
    Your cakes are simply incredible!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Thanks, Uru! I know this is an issue that all women face, no matter how confident. I was just having a particularly bad body-image day and needed to vent. But you’re totally right – we need to enjoy life, especially with lots of cake ;)

  2. Whenever I’m feeling those similar thoughts, I sit down and watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6wJl37N9C0

    Then I read this: http://www.hanneblank.com/blog/2011/06/23/real-women/

    And then I take a big bite of cake. This is definitely one I’ll have to try, too!

    (Whenever I watched The Swan, I was always under the impression that they were trying to desperately change their class and status in society more than anything else, which women’s looks are very much tied to. it made me incredibly sad.)

    • Omg, Leanne, I totally needed to watch that video and read that amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing! I actually got chills reading “real women” especially the quote “there is no wrong way to have a body.” These are things that I know to be true, it’s just that sometimes I need to remind myself.

  3. Nancy,
    First of all – your cake is freaking beautiful and I wish I was friends with your friends. Wow, what a spread?!

    Secondly, I can totally relate to everything you’ve written here in this post . . growing up, I was a fat kid. I had low self esteem, kids made fun of me. . I hated it. . I don’t know why but I felt like I had to be eating . like all the time. . and of course when kids made fun of me, it made me want to eat more. It wasn’t until jr high or high school that I finally started to do something about it. Exercised, dieted etc. . I even made the drill team, but yeah it’s a never ending cycle. .

    Now that I am older and a little wiser (I hope), I am still concerned about my appearance and watch what I eat but I am also setting an example for my girls. . if they see me going crazy about what I eat or what I look like, what kind of example am I setting for them, you know?

    Now, for me, it’s about being healthy and happy with who I am and what I look like. And I am finally happy now. . but there are always good days and bad days. . this is why God created Ben & Jerry’s and chocolate cake. Word.

    • Alice, thank you so much for sharing all that! It’s been really heart-warming reading everyone’s wonderful comments to this post. I know that these are issues we all face as women, which is really sad. I don’t have kids but I feel the same way towards my niece that you do towards your sweet lil girls. I would never want her to feel low self-esteem and inadequacy over her looks and her weight. And I totally agree with your current philosophy. It’s often my philosophy too but sometimes, there are rough days where the self confidence and acceptance take a nose dive. Thank God for ice cream and cake and cookies and chocolate…I could go on and on ;)

    • Really? You totally should try baking with sour cream – it makes the muffin/cake/loaf etc so crazy moist and it cuts through sugar with just a subtle hint of tanginess. You’ll wish that you started baking with it earlier ;)

  4. You remember that picture I posted of myself in high school? I use to think I was fat when I weighed 106 lbs. Now I weigh a lot more than that and I wonder who that stupid high school girl was. Something about body image that makes us see something different in ourselves than what other people see. I see you and I think you are perfectly skinny and gorgeous! I look at myself and I see an over weight fat ass. See how that works. As long as our friends are there to tell us how gorgeous we are, we can induldge in cake fests. Thats what friends are for! ;)

    • Hey woman, thanks for an eloquent, touching comment, as all of your comments are. You were a beautiful, adorable chica in that high school photo and you’re a beautiful, adorable chica to this day! Our self-image is just so damned skewed. I look in the mirror and like I said in my post, my brain knows that I look fine but I can’t help but feel disgusting. It’s messed up! But as you say, thank God for our friends and thank God for cakefests. We women need to stick together and support each other.

  5. Nance, buy cake strips from Walmart, 2 for $6.99 and you’ll get even layers! No more trimming! This was a great afternoon.

    And…you are a gorgeous, smart, strong woman, I’m proud to be your friend.

    • Great tip! I’ll definitely look into those strips – sometimes my layering is heinous! And thanks for the compliments – you know I love you! And I’m so proud that we’ve stayed friends for so many years. I can’t wait for our next Cakefest!

  6. Nancy, you are SO COOL! I enjoy reading all your posts, but this is one of my faves for so many reasons….I’d never heard the paper doll song before and the music video is cool! I totally relate to the body issue thing too and thank you for talking about it the way you do. I know that its a societal thing in my head, but it’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in the cycle of “living on a treadmill and skipping dinner” trying to achieve this vision in my head.

    Lastly, your orange cake + Cakefest look amazing. Cakefest is toootally something I would do with my friends and go wild! Self-control is definitely top of my list as well. And I want to make your cake asap. It just sounds perfecttt.

    • Seriously – all the comments to my post have been so touching, including yours, Erika. I had a giant smile on my face as I was reading it. Its heartwarming to hear all the stories of people who can relate to how I was feeling. It’s funny cause I was just on your blog and you wrote something very similar in that gorgeous chickpea chocolate cake post (I’m definitely going to try making that!). It’s such a shame that we have to put so much emphasis on our weight and our looks.

      Stef Lang is a Canadian artist and a local BC gal so I don’t think she gets too much radio play outside of BC. She’s fabulous though and I LOVE her song & video. I think it’s such an important topic for women, especially young girls.

      As for the orange cake, I highly recommend it. It was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again.

      • Aww your reply made ME smile! And that’s funny that we were both thinking along the same lines at the same time–but thank you for talking about it more seriously. I just re-read my own post….embarrassing. I guess all we can do is keep trying to shift the emphasis and help keep the dialogue flowing about it, right?

        I will have to look more into Stef Lang! Thanks for the music and cake tips :))

  7. I loved this post… So open and honest about issues a lot of us struggle with daily — at least I know I do!

    Where was this cake fest and why wasn’t I invited? Bring it here! Or do it again there! No matter what, invite me! Each one of those cakes look amazing. I’d be a lot more willing to try yours over the beautiful butter cream lemon cake and the chocolate cake with mocha cream… I’d much rather have someone else bake those and me just eat them. Hey. We all have our parts to play.

  8. This is such a great post. I’m sixteen and I have a looot of body issues, so having a baking obsession doesn’t really help. It’s really nice to know other people have been through the same thing :)

  9. Pingback: orange cranberry chocolate ginger muffins — Cake Duchess

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