Several years ago when my mother was doing some cleaning out, she gave me a little spiral bound cookbook of recipes from a women she had known years ago -Marilyn Martell. Marilyn was an amazing cook and baker. Her little cookbook is full of county fair prize winning recipes. Marilyn has won numerous Sweepstake and Best of Show Awards and one year won 77 ribbons!!! In total she has won over 300 ribbons at various county and state fairs! This woman knew how to bake!
Marilyn’s husband was also my mom’s dentist. Well, small world that it is, years after my mother knew Marilyn in California, Jim and I ended up in the same church/ward as Marilyn’s son Bob. In fact it was Bob’s wife April that introduced me to this amazing recipe of Marilyn’s – Strawberry Cream Pie.
One of Marilyn’s recipes that I have been wanting to try is her Fresh California Orange Cake.
Any cake that wins the blue ribbon at the fair has to be good ! This one definitely is even though I had a bit of a challenge making it – all the challenges were my own fault though! There is nothing wrong with the recipe – it’s me!
In the description of the Fresh California Orange Cake Marilyn says that this cake was awarded a Blue Ribbon and she had to bake it three times at home before leaving for the fairground.
Well, I took Marilyn literally. I too baked it three times!!
The first time I made it I realized, after I had put it in the oven, that I had forgotten to add the orange juice. I yanked it out, mixed in the orange juice and put it back in, not a good idea. The cake fell in the middle but tasted delicious.
I was determined to get it right so the next morning I tried it a second time. Remind me to wear my glasses next time I bake a cake! Instead of adding 1/3 cup of butter and shortening I added 1/2 cup of each! Well, if you didn’t know this, cakes fall big time when there is too much fat in them!!
I figured the third time was the charm and Marilyn had to make it 3 times so why shouldn’t I. I was not going to be beat! I did everything right. I sifted the cake flour first and then measured it. I even sifted my powdered sugar for the frosting like Marilyn said to!
So 12 oranges later I found success and boy was it worth it. (The cake does fall slightly in the middle, even when done right.)
This cake is light and delicious. The fresh orange taste is lovely and reminds me of the orange groves in California I would smell as we drove to my grandparents home in San Gabriel.
Wear your glasses and pay attention to the recipe so you don’t have to make it three times!
I took part of the cake over to Bob’s to see if he thought it was as good as his mothers! What did you think Bob??
- 1/3 C butter
- 1/3 C shortening
- 2 tsp grated orange rind
- 1 1/2 C sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/2 C sifted cake flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 C fresh orange juice less 2 Tbsp
- 2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
- 1/2 C butter
- 1 3 oz. pkg cream cheese
- 1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 C fresh orange juice
- 2 tsp grated orange rind
- dash salt
- orange food coloring (I didn't use)
- 1 C flaked coconut
- 1 tsp orange juice
- 1 or 2 drops orange food coloring
- Cream together butter, shortening and rind
- Very gradually add sugar, creaming until light
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each
- Continue beating 5 minutes
- Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with orange juice to creamed mixture
- Add in orange juice concentrate
- Beat only until smooth after each addition
- Bake in 2 greased and floured 9 inch round pans at 350 for 25-30 minutes
- Cool 10 minutes on rack and then remove from pans and cool
- Fill and frost with Creamy Orange Frosting
- Marilyn decorated hers with tinted orange coconut (I don't like coconut so just used a slice of orange)
- Cream butter and cream cheese
- Gradually beat in sugar alternately with orange juice beating until smooth
- Stir in orange rind and salt
- Add a drop or two of orange food coloring to tint a light orange
- Beat until creamy
- Combine coconut, orange juice and food color
- Shake or stir with a fork
- Coconut should be lightly colored to match frosting