Orange Slice Cake

When I found the hand-written recipe for Orange Slice Cake in my mom’s recipe box, I briefly thought it was for the orange cake that our neighbor, Gussie, frequently made and shared with us.  It was her favorite.  The thing is…no one in my family really liked orange cake. However, I knew not really enjoying it would never have stopped my mom from asking for the recipe…it would only probably stop her from making it. When I actually started to read the ingredient list I knew this was NOT Gussie’s orange cake…her cake did not have dates or coconut.  After reading the instructions, I was certain that not only had I never eaten this Orange Slice cake, I knew I had never seen or heard of my mom ever making this Orange Slice cake.

It was the star ingredient, orange slices, that confused me about this cake. The recipe used what I thought were contradictory terms. It said a pound of orange slices in the ingredients, which had me believe the recipe required gummy candy shaped and flavored like oranges. It also said to “coat the fruit with flour” in the directions, which had me believe that somehow the recipe required actual slices of the orange fruit. A brief Internet search lead me to the answer…it is actually made with orange candy slices that do indeed require being coated with flour as to not all sink to the bottom of the cake batter in the baking pan.

Orange Slice Cake is an alternative to a traditional fruit cake. It has a similar richness, texture, and weight of a traditional fruit cake, like Mom’s Fruitcake, but it is different in its flavor profile. It is the absence of candied cherries that has my daughter liking this cake while avoiding any fruit cake. At first I was put off by a cake that included so much candy until I realized that candied cherries were indeed more candy than cherries and both had a similar nutritional value…nothing much but sugar.

The thing I like about this cake that my Mom’s Fruitcake lacks is coconut. The original recipe is an old recipe; it called for one can of coconut. My assumption is that it required a small can of 3.5 oz., so I used 1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut, which is just short of 4 ounces. Next time, I think I will increase it to 2 cups, just over 5 oz. of coconut. (I will just leave out a few pieces of orange candy to make up the difference.)

My first attempt at this cake turned out very tasty, but a little darker than I wanted. In the above photo the dark edges are not overcooked like they appear though. The edges of the cake are very moist from the glaze that is poured over the cake soon after removing it from the oven. The edges were overcooked though as a result of my using a black tube pan and leaving it the oven too long. The dark pan absorbs more heat than a lighter colored pan, thus it can result in the edges getting overly brown if cooked at the same temperature for the same amount of time as a lighter colored pan. My tube pan was relatively heavy, thus my cake did not burn or dry out like it may have in a pan that was too light weight. Although I tested the cake often in the last hour of baking, I failed to account for the fact that my test skewer was running through the candy orange slices and not coming out “clean” as a result. I finally noticed that what was on the skewer was orange candy, not actually any cake. I think the cake could have been out of the oven about 15 minutes earlier….next time I will know.

Orange Slice Cake
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  • 1 c.butter, softened (room temp.)
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 c. all- purpose flour
  • 1 lb. dates, pitted
  • 1 lb. orange slice candies
  • 2 1/2 c. pecans, chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 c. flaked or shredded coconut ( leave out a few orange slices or a couple of dates to use 2 cups of coconut instead of 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 c. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 c. orange juice


  1. Measure out the 3 1/2 cups of flour
  2. Chop dates and orange slices coating them with some of the measured out flour to keep them from sticking together. Placing some flour in a zipper bag and shaking it to coat a handful or two of the fruit and candies at a time works well. Add more of the flour to the fruit as needed.
  3. When the dates and orange slices are chopped and coated with flour, add the coconut to the bag or bowl along with what remains of the measured out flour.
  4. Grease and flour (or used a baker's spray that includes flour) a large tube pan.
  5. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  6. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl).
  7. Add eggs one at a time, waiting for each egg to be incorporated before adding the next.
  8. Mix in 1/3 of the fruit and flour mixture.
  9. Mix in half the buttermilk mixture.
  10. Add another 1/3 of the fruit and flour mixture until incorporated.
  11. Add the remaining buttermilk mixture until incorporated.
  12. Mix in the remaining fruit and flour mixture until the batter is evenly incorporated.
  13. Bake in the 250 degree F oven for about 3 hours (the original recipe said 3 1/2 hours, but I find this way too long) until a skewer, tester, or thin knife inserted in the center comes out with out cake stuck to it. (NOTE; It may have melty orange candy stuck on it when done. Look for cake batter on the tester).
  14. In the last hour of the cake baking, mix the orange juice into the confectioner's sugar in a small bowl to make an orange glaze
  15. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, use a skewer, chopstick, or similar object to punch holes in the top of the cake.
  16. Loosely wrap foil around the bottom of the cake pan.
  17. Pour the glaze over the cake.
  18. Leave cake in the pan on the cooling rack overnight (it needs to cool completely and really set up) or for at least 6 hours..
  19. Remove cake from the pan by inserting a butter knife around outside edges and the tube in the center. Remove outer ring of pan. Use the butter knife to make sure cake is separate from the bottom of the pan and turn it upside down to release the cake.

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