It has some ingredients in common with fruitcake, but this cake’s fans say it’s way different and much better.
I’ll give them this: You don’t see jellied orange candy slices every day in a cake recipe.
Anyway, Claudia Jenkins remembered this cake that she once had in Rock Hill and never got the recipe for. Several readers dug into their boxes or books and sent recipes.
Interestingly, a number of them had ties to the Rock Hill area.
Chris Christopher of Charleston writes, “I was at the home of Margaret and John Neil in Landrum, S.C., (where I grew up) and was served this cake. Margaret says her family has been making it for years. I had never had it before, and it was delicious. She was kind enough to share it with me to send to you.”
By the way, Landrum is in the Upstate about 80 miles from Rock Hill.
Orange Candy Cake
For the cake:
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
4 cups flour, divided use
14 ounces dates, cut in small pieces
2 cups chopped nuts
1 pound jellied orange candy slices, cut into small pieces
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup orange juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Cream butter with sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, creaming well after each.
Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk, then alternately add to creamed mixture with 31/2 cups of the flour.
Mix remaining 1/2 cup of flour with dates, chopped nuts and candy pieces. Add to batter with coconut.
Pour batter into 10-inch tube pan that has been greased and floured on bottom and sides.
Bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and immediately pour glaze (recipe follows) over hot cake in pan.
For the glaze, combine the orange juice with the confectioners’ sugar and mix well.
Let finished cake stand overnight in pan. Remove from pan and slice to serve.
Most other readers sent almost identical recipes, including Merrilyn Long, whose mother used to make the cake.
“She lived in Rock Hill for the last 16 years of her life, so it may be the one Claudia Jenkins is looking for. It comes from The Van Wyck Woman’s Club cookbook printed in the 1970s.”
Carrol Lesslie Scott of Moncks Corner called to make sure we had gotten the recipe. She grew up in Rock Hill and offered one that came out of an old Bethel United Methodist Church cookbook in the area.
Thanks also to Linda Coleman of North Charleston, who called. She commented on the unusually long cooking time. Her recipe calls for baking the cake at 275 degrees for 21/2 hours. But other recipes went lower and longer (like above) — 250 degrees for 3 hours. “It’s just weird,” she says.
We also heard from readers afar. Ann Strawser of Arlington, Texas, a longtime faithful reader, emails, “My friend Freda Thornton served this to our bridge club last year and we all enjoyed it very much. Freda did not have enough pecans so she used 1 cup each of pecans and walnuts.”
Who’s got the recipe?
Lark Smith, who travels to Charleston about 10 days a month, has enjoyed the roasted tomato bisque served at Sermet’s on King for years and wanted to see if we could entice them to give it up.
Shirley Turner is looking for a recipe for monkey bread, but not the classic sweet one with caramel and cinnamon. She recalls a yeast dough in roll-like dumplings that were dipped in butter and layered in a tube pan. They were good served with chili, she says.
Have a recipe you’ve lost or simply desire? Email food@postandcourier or call Food and Features Editor Teresa Taylor at 937-4886.