***Every year, Brad's mom gives me a new "birthday cake challenge" for her birthday. This year, she requested a cake that combined orange, pecan and coconut flavors. It sounded like a perfectly decadent cake for these hot summer days, so I was excited for the new challenge.
I searched the internet and my collection of cookbooks for inspiration. I came across THIS recipe over at "Your Homebased Mom" and thought it looked like the perfect place to start. It even won a blue ribbon at a fair once, so it sounded really promising!
The only change that I made was to the icing. The original recipe already included wonderful orange flavors, but the coconut and pecans still needed to make an appearance somehow. I added both the shredded coconut and pecans directly into the icing recipe. The pecans ended up really making this cake over-the-top delicious. They brought the entire cake together, and the combination of flavors was incredible.
My sisters, Suzanne and Maranne, were in town to help me make this cake. We had a lot of fun in the kitchen whipping this up. We were wrestling with the idea of whether or not to color ALL of the frosting with orange food coloring, or to just leave it out. Suzanne had the brilliant idea to only color the icing that would go in between the two layers. This ended up being perfect, because there was a pretty orange burst of color when we cut into the cake. I sure wish I had a photo of the cake after it was cut! The fresh orange rind and pecan pieces also look gorgeous in the icing...they add pretty little flecks of color that make the cake irresistible looking!
You'll love this cake...The bright & sunny flavors are PERFECT for a bright & sunny summer day!
Fresh California Orange Cake
Source: Your Homebased Mom
1/3 C butter
1/3 C shortening
2 tsp grated orange rind
1 1/2 C sugar
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
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 10minutes on rack and then remove from pans and cool.
Fill and frost with Creamy Orange Frosting.
You can also add tinted orange coconut (recipe below), if you want to add a little extra decoration.
Creamy Orange Frosting
***I doubled the recipe below, so that we'd have plenty of frosting***
1/2 C butter
1 3 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp grated orange rind
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pecan halves, cut into tiny pieces or processed in a food processor
orange food coloring (I only colored a portion of the icing for the middle of the cake)
Cream butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer. Gradually beat in sugar alternately with orange juice beating until smooth.
Stir in orange rind, coconut, pecans and salt. Add a drop or two of orange food coloring to tint a light orange, if desired. Beat until creamy.
Tinted Orange Coconut (I left this out, and added coconut directly into the icing)
1 C flaked coconut
1 tsp orange juice
1 or 2 drops orange food coloring
Combine coconut, orange juice and food color. Shake or stir with a fork. Coconut should be lightly colored to match frosting.