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Kathryn’s Orange Cake

Kathryn was a cousin of Mom’s, Ez’s daughter.  She probably died before I was even born; however, I heard Mom talk about her many times ~ what a great cook and baker she was.  Mom learned a lot about cooking from Kathryn and prepared many of her recipes, including this cake. 

 Photo credit ~ Al Hopkins

I do remember Ez Courtright though.  He was a small bald man with a moustache, wore glasses and smoked cigars.  What I remember most about him was his laugh.  I can hear him now with his soft deep laugh and he was always jovial with something funny to say.  And he adored his grandchildren!

To tell you how old this recipe is, it includes Spry as an ingredient.  Do you remember Spry?  It’s a vegetable shortening first produced in 1936.  It lost its appeal in the early 1950’s because mainly of Crisco.  As I remember it, it was very yellow but, I’m not sure about that.  Spry’s mascot was Aunt Jenny with her saying, “We can afford to have cake oftener.

It seems we seldom hear of orange cakes anymore but, if you love oranges, this is the cake for you!  It’s moist and delicious with a delicate citrusy taste thanks to the orange juice and grated rind.  Plus, it’s very fragrant!  It’s light and refreshing and a great cake for springtime.  How about your dessert at your Easter dinner table?

Kathyrn’s Orange Cake


¾ cup Spry shortening (Crisco works!)
¾ teaspoon salt
Grated rind of 1 orange
1½ cups sugar
3 unbeaten eggs
3 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons lemon juice


2 tablespoons Spry and 1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pound powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour two cake pans.
Combine Spry, salt and grated rind.
Add sugar and cream well.
Add eggs, mix well.
Sift flour and baking powder.
Add enough water to orange juice and lemon juice to make 1 cup.
Alternately, add flour and juice mixture, beating after each addition.
Spoon batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until top is golden and when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Remove from pans and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare icing.
Combine all ingredients, except powdered sugar and cream well.
Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Assemble cake:
Place one layer on cake plate and spread icing.
Add top layer.
Spread icing over all.

It’s a perfect dessert or snack!


  1. Orange cake sounds wonderful!!!!

  2. Orange cake sound delicious. I have a couple of orange trees and I like finding recipes that make use of all that produce.

  3. I am an orange lover!Have at least one every day. Happy you posted this recipe. I saved it; thank you so much. Loed the story you included with it.

  4. We've always loved orange cake!
    We would alter the old 4-H butter cake, year 2, recipe by adding OJ for the liquid and adding zest. OJ and zest was used in a butter frosting. This recipe sounds wonderful, but am wondering if butter could be used instead of the shortening...or if that adds what's needed to make this recipe special.
    Orange cake always refreshs the palette after a meal, or is wonderful with just a pot of tea.
    Oh I want to go bake!

  5. Sarah Naveen, thanks! Yummy!

    Mimi, lucky you! I just wish I lived where there are orange groves; that means sunny and warm! This recipe would utilize your oranges well.

    Sage, thank you! We love oranges also and enjoy them often, especially Bill.

    Zia Elle, It is delicious with a good citrus taste. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. corgidogmama, have to love 4-H and what you did with that butter cake! Bet it was delicious!

    If butter were used in this cake instead of shortening, I'm sure it would add greatly to the taste since there is no taste in shortening. But, shortening melts at a higher temperature than butter so the cake may not rise as high using butter and may not set as well. I'd try 50% each of butter and shortening or go with shortening that is butter-flavored.

    I'm sure someone with more knowledge of the process than myself would know the answer for sure.

    Orange cake is indeed refreshing. Now, crank up that oven, put a pot of tea on and enjoy! Cheers!!!

  7. I absolutely adore orange cake. Thanks for sharing this recipe and the wonderful story that goes with it!

  8. Orange cake sounds so good! I'm with ya I wish we had an orange tree! lol

  9. Holly, wouldn't that be great, walk out the door and pick an orange! Thanks!

  10. I LOVE orange! I love the fragrance-often burn orange fragrance candles. My favorite is mandarin. I always say "there will be mandarin oranges in heaven!"
    This recipe makes my mouth water.

    "oftner" sounds like some of my relatives. My grandma always said "feesh" for fish.
    Hoosier hugs,

  11. I adore orange cakes, and this looks like a wonderful recipe!

  12. I think orange-flavored anything is severely underrated. I have a tendency to add orange extract to most of my vanilla-based baked goods! It adds that extra something.

    I love that this recipe has been passed on for so long. It sounds delicious.

  13. Whosyergurl, love that orange fragrance, fresh and inviting! Funny with your grandma, I do some words like that also ~ combination of Ohio, KY and IL!

    Fresh Local and Best, thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you like it!


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