The Shopper Kitchen: A Sunny, Citrusy Cake
By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen
Don’t you love those articles that list the most popular song or movie from the year you were born? I do, and I came across a similar topic recently on Mashed.com, “The most popular cake the year you were born.”
A few of the winners? From 1948-1956, it was Chiffon Cake; from 1957-1960, German Chocolate Cake; and from 1961-1965, my era, it was Pink Champagne Cake, which I had never heard of. In more recent years, the most popular cakes have included everything from cupcakes to cake pops, which I can appreciate but do not consider true cake contenders.
Further researching cake history, I found an article on NPR.org called—I kid you not—“Make America Bake Again,” in which they interviewed cookbook author Anne Byrn about cake history and our love affair with cakes. Among other tidbits she shared, I learned that eggs today are larger than they used to be, so we may need fewer of them to bake a cake than cooks of yesteryear did.
In the summertime, I don’t want a heavy, sugary cake, and my taste buds seek something lighter. Perhaps it’s all those fruit stands I passed on the way to the beach as a little girl, but I will always love citrus desserts. Whether it’s ambrosia at the holidays, lemon bars at a ladies’ luncheon, or chicken salad served in orange “cups,” citrus just seems to make a meal brighter.
I enjoy trying new recipes that include lemons or oranges, and a few years ago, I came across a recipe for an old-fashioned Orange Cake that was a pleasure to make and a delight to eat. This recipe comes from an old restaurant called the Sun Dial in New Harmony, Indiana, and it dates to the thirties and forties. This cake quickly became a favorite of mine, and if you like citrus, I think you’ll enjoy it!
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon orange juice
Grated rind of 1 orange
8 egg yolks
2-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons orange juice (or as needed for desired consistency)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add lemon extract, orange juice, orange rind, and combine. Using an electric mixer and a smaller bowl, beat the egg yolks for about 5 minutes on high speed, until they are bright yellow and fluffy. Stir eggs into the shortening and sugar mixture. Sift baking powder and salt with the flour and add alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture. Pour batter into a tube pan prepared with cooking spray. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until top of cake is light brown and pulls away from the side of the pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For icing, combine powdered sugar, melted butter, and orange juice and spread on top of cooled cake.