Cooking with Caro

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Orange Candy Cake

By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

My mother was an excellent cook, as was her mother before her, and probably her mother before her. It’s what women did back then–they took care of home and hearth and in the days before restaurants were tres chic, they cooked big, nourishing meals to feed big families.

OK, so maybe I am not an excellent cook, but I am a good cook–when I want to be. Twice this past week, I told the story of coming home from college–and it wasn’t often–and placing my order for dinner that morning, so it would be ready when I arrived around seven. It was always the same–fried pork chops, mashed potatoes and brown gravy.

In the 30 plus years since that bygone era, I have repeatedly tried, and alas failed, to replicate those delectable tender morsels. I don’t know what her secret was, short of using a well-seasoned antiquated cast iron skillet, but nothing I do even comes close. Many of the recipes I make today are from my mother’s collection, many handwritten in her small perfect cursive. It’s sometimes painful to see her written words–she’s been gone 10 years now–but I am ever so thankful I was the one to inherit her recipes and can share them with others.

But no matter what I make, there’s no doubt, everything made by mom is better.

Candy Cake

Sift together:

3 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine and set aside:

1 lb. orange slice candy

8 oz. pitted dates

3 1/2 oz. flaked coconut

2 c. walnuts or pecans

Mix together:

1 c. butter

2 c. sugar

add four eggs, one at a time

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 c. buttermilk


1 c. orange juice

2 c. sifted XXXX sugar

To the creamed butter/sugar mixture, add dry ingredients and the fruit and candy mixture. Mix all together, pour into greased and floured tube cake pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 2 1/2-3 hours.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven combine the orange juice and XXXX sugar and pour over the hot cake. Let stand in the pan overnight.