Old-fashioned orange cake

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 10 to 12
Old-fashioned orange cake

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.


Scrub the rind of the orange well. Remove both ends of the orange and cut it into large chunks. Set aside.


Place the raisins in a food processor and pulse 6 or 7 times until coarsely chopped. Add the orange chunks and pulse 5 or 6 times to reduce them to evenly sized small pieces. Empty into a small bowl and set aside.


Pulse the granulated sugar and shortening together in the food processor 4 or 5 times to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and process in between, scraping down the sides. The mixture should be smooth, light and fluffy. Add three-fourths cup buttermilk and process to combine. The mixture will be very liquid and may look slightly separated.


Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and add to the processor. Pulse just to combine into a smooth batter. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the orange-raisin mixture and pulse once or twice. Add the walnuts and pulse once; do not over-process.


Pour the batter into the pan; bake until the sides have begun to brown and pull away from the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. The cake should still be a little moist in the center.


Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of buttermilk and the powdered sugar until smooth. Whisk in the reserved 2 tablespoons of the orange-raisin mixture and spread it over the hot cake. Serve at room temperature.

Marian Wilke notes that the original recipe called for processing the orange and raisins in a meat grinder; that gives you an idea of the size of the chunks that are necessary. She also notes that it should be baked in a metal pan rather than glass, which tends to burn the cake.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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