This is a recipe Mom made for family gatherings or when friends were coming over.
I remember her making it even when I was a child.
I really should have posted this earlier in the year, like January. Here in Florida when the orange groves are in full bloom, the air is filled with the sweet aroma of citrus – a beautiful thing – and that’s when I especially get a hankering for one of Mom’s cakes. Then when the citrus processing plants go into full speed, the air spells like her cake just coming out of the oven.
Here’s the recipe:
“Orange Kiss-Me Cake”
1-cup sugar 2-cups flour
1/2-cup butter, softened 1-tsp. baking soda
1-tsp. salt 1-cup buttermilk or sour milk (instructions at end)
1-tsp. vanilla 2-eggs
1/2-cup pecan pieces
Reserved orange juice
1-cup 10X powered sugar
Reserved orange/raisin/nut mixture
and – the juice from 1 additional orange
Squeeze the juice of one orange into a bowl. Then remove the seeds and cut the orange into smaller pieces, including all of the rind and pulp, and grind in food processor. (Mother used a meat grinder) Add the raisins and grind, then add the pecan pieces. Add all but 1/3 of the orange juice and mix well. (reserve the remaining juice for the topping) Set all aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy, then add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed until well blended. Add dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and salt) alternating with the soured milk or buttermilk. Mix on medium speed until batter is fluffy.
Add half of the orange/raisin/nut mixture to the cake batter and mix until well blended. Pour into prepared 13″X9″ baking dish and bake at 350-degrees for 35-45 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).
While cake is baking, prepare topping. Combine the remaining orange/raisin/nut mixture with 1-cup of powdered sugar and the reserved orange juice. Mix well and set aside until cake is done.
Using the one additional orange, squeeze the juice out and set aside.
When cake is done, remove from oven and immediately pour the juice from the one additional orange over the top of the cake, followed by icing the top of the cake with the orange/raisin/nut mixture. Since the cake is hot, the icing will melt right into the cake.
How my mother made sour milk for baking:
Many recipes for cakes, cookies and breads call for buttermilk or sour milk. “Back in the day” cooks may have used milk that had been left standing out for several days; an idea that’s not considered to be safe today. My mother rarely had buttermilk on-hand, so she combined 1-cup of milk with 1-tsp. of vinegar and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The milk will begin to curdle slightly, creating your sour milk for your recipe.
This cake is so light and fluffy and tastes like the same fragrance that fills the Florida air every year: the sweet bouquet of orange blossoms in the spring combined with the aroma of oranges being processed at the many juice plants in the winter.
Try it the next time you have guests visiting from “Up North.” It’s the perfect dessert that also screams “Welcome to my home, friends!”