Grandma’s Orange Cake

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According to Grandma this is my mother’s favorite cake.  I thought the Moist & Easy Cake was her favorite but Gram was insistent. I finally texted mom to find out who was right and – dang it – Grandma wins again. The Orange Cake is indeed mom’s favorite. I should know better by now, a mother knows her daughter’s favorite things especially when it comes to cake.  Especially when it comes to this cake, it’s a good one.


In a medium bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda & 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set bowl aside.

Squeeze the juice of one orange into a small bowl or, in this case, a small measuring cup. Pulp is fine, seeds aren’t.

Add 1 teaspoon sugar to the freshly-squeezed orange juice.  I used superfine sugar since I happened to have it on hand and it would dissolve more quickly.  Set juice aside to use later.

Take the orange that you just juiced and cut it up, rind n’ all. Trust Grandma on these things.

Add 1 cup raisins to the cut up orange. Then things get a little weird. Okay, a little more than a little weird.

You’re going to get out a grinder. This is a grinder that attaches to my KitchenAid stand mixer. This is the first time I’ve used the attachment and it’s *amazing*. If you have the opportunity, get yourself one. You won’t regret it.

Grind the orange (rind n’ all) and raisin together and this is what you’re going to get. It looks strange but again, trust Grandma on such things. Set the mixture aside.

Cream together 1/2 cup shortening & 1 cup sugar.  Then add 2 eggs, one at a time making sure to thoroughly mix after adding each egg. Once thoroughly mixed, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Mix in 1 cup sour milk. To make sour milk simply pour a little less than 1 cup of milk (I used whole milk) and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice so altogether it is 1 cup.  Let the mixture sit for approximately 5 minutes until the milk is starting to curdle. Not incidentally, this is exactly what I do when I need buttermilk.

Mix in by hand the sifted flour mixture.  Stir until just combined.

Now fold in the orange/raisin mixture.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 375*. Grandma’s instructions say to bake for 35-40 minutes however mine took exactly 30 minutes, not one minute more. So start checking it early, is what I’m saying.

The cake will get dark so don’t be alarmed. While the cake is still warm, take the fresh-squeezed orange juice that you set aside and pour all over the cake.

It looks like the fires of Mordor in the background but have no fear, it’s just the fireplace at our lake house. The verdict on the cake? Orange is front and center. The raisins only serve to add moisture, you cannot tell they’re in there at all. Both Grandma & mom are quite adamant that the cake go unfrosted but I think a nice tangy cream cheese frosting would round out the cake nicely. But that’s just me. If that’s you too, there is a cream cheese frosting recipe with my Swedish Nut Cake.

Grandma’s Orange Cake

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour

1 orange

1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 375*
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together salt, baking soda & flour. Set aside.
  3. Squeeze out the juice of one orange.  Add 1 teaspoon sugar to the juice and set mixture aside.
  4. Cut up the orange, including the rind, into 1 inch cubes.  Grind the cut up orange pieces and raisins together.  Set aside.
  5. Cream together shortening & sugar until light & fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract. Slowly mix in sour milk. Add flour mixture, stir by hand until just mixed. Fold in orange & raisin mixture.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Pour the orange juice/sugar mixture over the cake while still warm. Serve unfrosted.


2 thoughts on “Grandma’s Orange Cake

  1. My orange cake arrived. Yum!!!!! Thank you for not frosting it!!

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