You Know They Are Coming, So Bake a Cake

A promise is a promise. If I receive a blue or red ribbon, I will share my Orange Pumpkin Cake recipe with my readers in November. It is the perfect cake for Thanksgiving.

My Orange Pumpkin Cake won a red ribbon in the refrigerated cake division. It may have won first had I not been tired and poured my buttermilk into the glass with what was to become an orange glaze for each layer. Then, because I was tired and wanted to go to bed, I iced the cake before it was completely cooled, which resulted in a severe case of slipping and a sliding. In went the sticks of spaghetti to stabilize it. Next morning I cannot remove the sticks of spaghetti. I called on the spirit of Aunt Ed to help me decide if I should take it to the fair or surrender. I did not want to disappoint a cook who could boil water and people would ask for seconds and her recipe.

ORANGE PUMPKIN CAKE entered into the refrigerated cakes


For the cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing the pans
3 1/4 cups Adluh cake flour, more for dusting the pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2/3 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons orange extract

1 can pumpkin (16 oz)
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

For the orange syrup
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the frosting
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin cream cheese, chilled

The cake. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter three 9-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, then, lightly butter and flour the paper, shaking out the excess.

Cool Products

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Sift a second time into another bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light in color, about 4 minutes. Add the 2 cups sugar in a steady stream with the mixer running. Beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to stop at least once to scrape down the batter from the sides of the bowl. After all the eggs have been added, continue to beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the oil and beat for 1 minute. In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, orange extract, pumpkin and buttermilk. Using a rubber spatula, fold in half of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half of the buttermilk mixture. Fold in the remaining dry ingredients, scrape down the sides, and add the remaining buttermilk.

Pour the batter among the prepared pans, smooth the surface, rap each pan on the counter to expel any air pockets or bubbles, then, place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans on racks for 20 minutes.

The orange syrup. In a small bowl, stir together the orange juice and 1/4 cup sugar until the sugar is dissolved. While the cakes are still in the cake pans, use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes at 1/2-inch intervals in the cake layers. Spoon the syrup over each layer, allowing the syrup to be completely absorbed before adding the remainder. Let the layers cool completely in the pans.

The frosting. In a chilled mixing bowl, using the wire whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream with the 8 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Add the cream cheese, a little at a time, and whisk until the mixture is a spreadable consistency. Add drops of red and yellow food coloring to make a beautiful orange color.

To assemble the cake. Invert one of the cake layers on a cake plate and carefully peel off the parchment. Spread one-third of the icing over the top, smoothing it into an even layer. Invert the second layer on top of the first, peel off the parchment, and spoon another third of the icing on top. Place the third cake layer on top, remove the parchment, and spoon the remaining icing onto the center of it, frost the entire cake first and add orange zest to the top for flavor and decoration.

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Happy Thanksgiving!

Morning sunlight enters Ruby’s Art Party Studio in Dutchman Shores in Chapin where painting allows her to fall into the face of a flower, to touch yesterday, to behold a landscape and briefly walk with her creator. As a teacher of writing, Ruby always wanted to write a children’s book.  “Make your dreams big,” she advises after writing and illustrating three. Ruby, a retired educator, now enjoys Author-Illustrator visits to schools as her new way to spend a day teaching children and influencing literacy. The G.R.O.W! theme of Great Readings Open Worlds echoes through her books. She writes a monthly Growing Little Green Thumbs column that can be found at Books are available at Learning Express, Minuteman Press, Palmetto Fine Arts, ArtCan Studio & Gallery, The Cotton Exchange Gift Shop at the SC State Museum, Books On Main in Newberry, on line at Barnes and Noble Book Nook and by email at or call (803)345-2134 and stop by The Art Party Press, Studio & Gallery. The nonfiction science books are for ages 3 – Fifth Grade and address National Science and Literacy Standards. Ruby offers private art lessons in her Art Party Studio in Chapin, SC.