Monday, August 27, 2018

Florida Glory with a Chinese Heritage

Chef Dennis Chan is known for the "hip Asian comfort food" he creates at Blue Bamboo in Jacksonville, FL. One taste of his Sunshine State Orange Crunch Cake, Grand Prize winner of the 2018 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, will have you lining up for reservations.  Sponsored by General Mills Foodservice, the competition was open to professional chefs at independent restaurants and food trucks.

Dennis not only wins $30,000 plus $5,000 for his local charity (the American Cancer Society's Real Men Wear Pink of Jacksonville campaign), in October he and his Sunshine Cake will take part in the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York Wine & Food Festival.

"The biggest joy that I will get out of winning this contest is that I get to share a little bit of my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, and the flavors of my restaurant Blue Bamboo with the rest of the world."

                            Sunshine State Orange Crunch Cake

SERVINGS: 10 servings (1 serving = 1 piece)


Orange juice9 oz1 cup
Gold Medal™ Yellow Cake Mix (11152)1 lb 12 oz5 3/4 cups
Mandarin oranges, canned, undrained15 oz1 3/4 cups
Orange extract
2 Tbsp
Orange Sauce
Orange juice1 lb 2 oz2 cups
Granulated sugar
2 Tbsp
1 1/2 Tbsp
Puff Pastry Layers
Pillsbury's Best™ Puff Pastry Dough Sheet (05123)
1 each
Salt, kosher
1/2 tsp
Almond Lace Cookies
Butter, unsalted2 oz1/4 cup
Brown sugar, firmly packed2.5 oz6 Tbsp
Corn syrup3.5 oz1/4 cup
Gold Medal™ All-Purpose Flour (14323)1 oz3 Tbsp
Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp
Salt, kosher
1/4 tsp
Slivered almonds, ground2 oz1/2 cup
Butter, unsalted, softened1 lb2 cups
Powdered sugar1 lb3 1/2 cups
Cream cheese, softened1 lb 8 oz
Crushed pineapple, canned, drained12 oz1 1/3 cups
Orange extract
2 Tbsp
Powdered sugar
1 tsp


  1. Add orange juice and cake mix to bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on medium speed 2 minutes.
  2. Add mandarin oranges and orange extract; mix on low speed 30 seconds. 
  3. Stop mixer, scrape bowl and paddle; mix on low speed an additional 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Deposit batter in 2 greased, parchment-lined 8-inch round cake pans; bake as directed below until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes; remove and cool completely.
Convection Oven*               300°F           33-38 minutes
Standard Oven                    350°F           38-43 minutes

*Rotate pans baked in convection oven one-half turn (180°) after 16 minutes of baking.

Orange Sauce
  1. Stir orange juice, sugar and cornstarch together in 2-quart saucepan; cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, stir frequently.
  2. Remove from heat and cool completely; refrigerate until assembly.
Puff Pastry Layer
  1. Thaw frozen puff pastry dough sheet, covered, either at room temperature 15-30 minutes until flexible or refrigerated overnight.
  2. Roll out to 18x13-inch rectangle; cut 2, 8-inch diameter circles from opposite corners of sheet.
  3. Cut 2, half-moon shaped circles from remaining dough; transfer pieces to parchment-lined full sheet pan.
  4. Dock each piece and sprinkle with salt; cover with additional paper and place another full sheet pan on top to weigh down puff pastry dough.
  5. Bake as directed below until golden brown; cool completely. 
Convection Oven*          350°F         22-26 minutes
Standard Oven               400°F         26-30 minutes

*Rotate pans baked in convection oven one-half turn (180°) after 11 minutes of baking.

Almond Lace Cookies
  1. Add butter, brown sugar and corn syrup to 2-quart saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in flour, vanilla, salt and almonds until well combined.
  3. Line 2, full sheet pans with silpat or parchment paper and place 10, #70 scoops of dough on each.
  4. Bake as directed below until golden brown; cool completely. 
Convection Oven           350°F         4-6 minutes
Standard Oven                400°F         5-8 minutes

  1. Add butter and powdered sugar to mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment; mix on low speed to combine.
  2. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed.
  3. Divide cream cheese into about 2 oz portions; add a few portions at a time to mixer bowl until combined.
  4. Beat until fluffy. Add pineapple and orange extract; mix until well blended.
  1. Cut the cake rounds in half, horizontally; spread 1/4 cup Orange Sauce on the cut side of each.
  2. Place 1 cake layer on cake plate, cut side UP; frost with approx. 1/2 cup frosting.
  3. Top with a full circle of the Puff Pastry Layer; frost with approx. 1/2 cup frosting.
  4. Place another cake layer on top, cut side DOWN; frost with approx. 1/2 cup frosting.
  5. Top with the other full circle of the Puff Pastry Layer; frost with approx. 1/2 cup frosting.
  6. Top with the third cake layer, cut side UP; frost with approx. 1/2 cup frosting.
  7. Arrange the 2, half-moon Puff Pastry Layer pieces on top; frost with approx. 1/2 cup frosting.
  8. Top with last cake layer, cut side DOWN; frost top and sides with remaining frosting.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  1. Garnish with Almond Lace Cookies and dust with powdered sugar.
  2. Serve with remaining Orange Sauce.
  1. Cake layers can be made ahead and frozen if desired. Allow to cool completely after baking. Wrap to seal and freeze; thaw about 20 minutes before assembly.
  2. Store Almond Lace Cookies in air-tight container.


Nutrition values are calculated using the weights of ingredients.

Serving Size: 1 piece
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
2 1/2g
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
4 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 7 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 18 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.