Appalachia Appalachian Food Christmas

Chatter’s Orange Slice Cake

Paul, Tipper, Granny Gazzie, and Steve
Paul, Tipper, Granny Gazzie, and Steve

If the girls get hungry, and can’t find something to please their palate at home they know where to go-to Granny and Pap’s house. There’s usually leftovers in the frig, biscuits on the table, and cornbread on the counter. Not to mention, Granny has a stash of candy in a drawer and a supply of Little Debbies in the cabinet.

We lived to far away from Granny Gazzie to raid her house for food when I was young. And I guess since I didn’t spend as much time there as my girls do at Granny and Pap’s I never felt comfortable prowling through her cabinets or drawers for a snack. But Granny Gazzie did have candy to share the 3 kinds being orange slice, stick candy, and those foam like peanut shaped type things. As a grown up I can never see those candies that I don’t think of her offering me a piece around Christmas Time.

Over a year ago I came across a recipe for orange slice cake in my favorite Appalachian Cook Book: More Than Moonshine by Sidney Saylor Farr. The recipe immediately made me think of Granny Gazzie but I just never got around to trying it. Well a few weeks ago Granny found the same recipe in the Nov/Dec issue of the NC Farm Bureau Magazine. She made the cake and shared it with us and wouldn’t you know it my picky daughter Chatter loved it! She hasn’t quit talking about it-so yesterday we made it together.

You need:

  • 1 cup margarine or butter (I used butter)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk with 1 tsp baking soda mixed in
  • 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 box dates chopped fine (I used the 8oz. box)
  • 1 can flake coconut (I didn’t have a can-so I used a cup of coconut)
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 10oz. jar maraschino cherries cut in half
  • 1 pound orange sliced candy cut fine (I use the 14 oz bag)

orange slice cake

I chopped up the orange slice candy-

old time orange slice cake

while Chatter cut the cherries in half and

recipe for orange slice candy cake

the mixer creamed the butter and sugar. Next we added the eggs one at a time-mixing well after each.

We alternately added the buttermilk and 3 cups of the flour-mixing well after each addition.

Next we mixed the candy, dates, nuts, cherries together; and added the remaining 1/2 cup flour coating all the ingredients well.

We added the flour coated items and the coconut to the batter and tried to mix well. Its a very stiff batter at this point.

The recipe said to use a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan-and bake the cake for 2 1/2 hours at 250 degrees. Since Chatter and I wanted to share our cake we divided the batter into 2 regular size loaf pans and 2 mini loaf pans. We’re were also impatient to see if it was as good as Granny’s so we moved the oven up to 300 degrees. It still took well over an hour for the cakes to bake, of course the mini loaves finished before the regular size ones.

Granny's fruit cake with orange slice candy

Even though the Orange Slice Cake takes some time and energy to make it is very good and the flavors make it seem perfect for this time of the year.

Chatter said we must make the Orange Slice Cake every Christmas from now own, she likes it that much. I told her she could be the special Orange Slice Cake maker and become famous for making it every Christmas-she said o.k.

Ever had the cake before?





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  • Reply
    June 12, 2017 at 1:53 am

    After reading this article, I could not stop to myself from making it. So i prepared it. It was too yummy!!!!
    Thanking You!!!!!!
    Such most beautiful Cakes also available on :

  • Reply
    Renee Deweese
    December 9, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Before she passed my mom made this every year plus she always made a $300-dollar pound cake. I was never too crazy about the orange slice cake although I do love the orange slices but I sure do miss her $300 pound cakes.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    The cake looks yummy, and the memories you ladies are making in the baking of it are even sweeter! Here’s to your new Christmas tradition!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Yes, I have made this cake and it is very, very good! Really sweet though if you’re watching your sugar intake. I mixed orange juice with powdered sugar, as Don said, for a glaze.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      My mother also made this at Xmas time. She also mixed up orange juice and powder sugar to pour over the top and let it soak. She had cheated a few times and in a day or so add more of the juice mixture. She held us off as long as she could. DAYS! Then when we sliced into it that cake was wet with moisture. So delicious. I haven’t had it since she passed many years ago. I am going to the store and pick up what I need and going to start up the memories for my kiddos of all 3 generations. I will be famous LOL Every one should at least try this special Xmas time cake. To good to have regularly. Keep it special !!!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Sounds like a fun replacement for a fruit cake.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I have heard of this cake, but never made it. Orange slices make me think of my grandma, too! Thanks for the recipe–it looks good!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    This is my mother’s favorite cake at Christmas, but she doesn’t like the dates in there, haha
    Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    December 18, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Oh, that cake DOES look GOOD! It makes me think of fruitcake. Now, I know there are all kinds of jokes about fruitcakes, but I LOVE them! (well, there ARE some that are a bit nasty!) I do want to try this cake some time.
    You mentioned that you never felt comfortable going through your Granny’s cabinets. Well, I was the same way. Even though I grew up just across the road from my Grandma and she kept me while Mama & Daddy worked, I always asked her before I opened the fridge or a cabinet. She always had a cake sitting on the table and I would always ask if I could have a slice. It used to fret Grandma to no end! She would tell me to stop always asking and just get what I wanted!.
    As an adult, I lived with my Grandma on & off for several years and even when I was living in the house, I still always asked before eating anything. Hmmmm….now that I think about it, if my husband buys some special food and brings it into the house, I even ask HIM if I can have some! Maybe I am just strange . . .

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    December 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Something new for me to try. It not only looks yummy, but the work is definitely worth it. Thanks!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    How nice to have a granny and papaw next door for the Indian
    Princesses. Next year let me know
    when Chatter makes her orange slice cake…Ken

  • Reply
    Jen Y
    December 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I’ve never heard of this before & it does look good. My dad always had the peanut marshmallows & made a big deal about giving them to us at Christmas. :o)
    I’m also happy to hear you’re Little Debbie fans, my husband has worked for them for 25 yrs this springs. He teases us that he’s made more brownies than all the women in our family put together.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    December 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I have not heard of this cake before and it does look like fruitcake, which I like. I will have to try this one. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks for the memories. My Aunt Hazel (born 1913) use to make that cake every Christmas.
    And those orangea circus peanuts your talked about, those were Dad’s favorite (also bn 1913). One year we gave him some for Christmas, only never to find them back. We guess they were throwns out with the wrappings.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    December 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Tipper and Chatter, This souhnds a lot like the really good ‘fruitcake’ I mentioned in a blogpost last week.
    I did not have a recipe for it, I am going to try this one. Thanks ladies for sharing.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I have had this cake before and it is so delicious! We always had the orange slice candy at Christmas when I was growing up. My grandmother always seemed to have them at her house as well as the peppermint sticks. I liked the peanut shaped candy and will treat myself to a bag every now and then. I think that it is great that Chatter is starting a new Christmas tradition with her cake. I would love to have a piece of it now and am going to try my hand at making one of these soon.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    December 18, 2011 at 10:26 am

    How in the world could I have forgotten this cake,(well, just turned 71 Dec. 3, so that’s how, I guess..LOL)
    I haven’t had a piece of that orange slice cake since my Mother made it years ago…I loved it then and for some reason just never got around to making it…
    There were so many popular recipes flying around during those times my young’ns were young that I must’ve put it on the back burner…Shame…
    Now that said, That little number is a pricy cake to make. with pecans the price of gold this year..and dates have gone sky high too…Orange slices are not so bad or cherries!…I think I will take the plunge and make it using your shared recipe…
    Thanks for reminding me of this cake Tipper, I love orange slices! Those orange peanut dry marshmellows, I also remember, they were in the top drawer at my Grannies, as well as a box of Horehound stick candy! ewwwwwwww! LOL

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Tipper—Your blog on orange slice cake took me back, as I am sure will be the case with Don, to Yuletides of yesteryear. Both our mother and our Aunt Emma regularly made this cake as one of several sweet treat connected with the Christmas season. In fact, my column in this week’s “Smoky Mountain Times” contained Mom’s recipe for the cake. As you’ll see, it varies somewhat from the recipe you are using. I’ve pasted it below. It’s rich as all get out but I loved it as a boy and younger man and Ann used to make one annually. I don’t think she’s done so since Mom died (in 2000). It’s scrumptious, as I’m sure the one you’ve made is.
    1 cup butter or margarine
    2 cups sugar
    4 eggs
    1 teaspoon soda
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 pound dates, chopped
    1 pound candy orange slices, chopped
    1 cup black walnuts
    1 can flaked coconut
    1 cup fresh orange juice
    2 cups powdered sugar
    Cream butter or margarine and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Dissolve soda in buttermilk and add to creamed mixture. Place flour in large bowl and add dates, orange slices, and nuts. Stir to coat each piece.
    Add flour mixture and coconut to creamed mixture. This makes a very stiff dough that should be mixed with your hands. Put in a greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 250 degrees for two and a half to three hours. Combine orange juice and powdered sugar and pour over hot cake. Allow to cool before serving.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Never had that cake before but, it looks good. We will try it.
    Reading your blog is such a treat. The myriad of topics always stirs the interest of everyone. I also enjoy the people that write in to the blog. Something else that amazes me is the number of photographs you must have. I bet Life Magazine didn’t have as many photos as you do.

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    December 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

    The recipe sounds interesting…always looking for new one to try….wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I’ve never had this cake before but I’m sure I’d like it. I love orange slices and dates as well. Seems like almost a fruit cake.
    Hope you save me a piece to taste.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

    so it is kind of like fruit cake, but using orange slices and cherries. i don’t like the orange slices just to eat but i am thinking i would like this. it looks great. and i do like fruit cake.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Once again, that sounds yummy. Copying it for making later. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    December 18, 2011 at 8:35 am

    That does sound absolutely tasty I will say, throw in a big glass of cold milk and I would come visit.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Well that is one of the prettiest cakes I have ever seen!! I know y’all had a good time making it! I remember that Papa always loved an orange slice, he loved those and soft peppermint candy and Little Debbie Raisin Cakes. He would have loved that cake! I definitely think that should become Chatter’s Christmas Cake.
    As always I thank y’all for sharing!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 18, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Tipper and Chatter,
    You’uns and brother Jim must’ve had some of that ASR (axtry sensory reception) since he included an orange slice recipe of Mama’s in the last issue of the Smoky Mountain Times (Swain County weekly).
    Mama’s orange slice cake was similar in almost every ingredient to yours, but there were two VERY important differences.
    First and foremost, she used black walnuts instead of pecans. In my opinion, that is what makes the cake. Second, in addition to mixing orange juice in with the batter for the cake, she’d mix up some orange juice with powdered sugar mixed in and pour it over the hot finished cake. That creates a glaze and also makes the cake nice and moist.
    For the last half dozen years, our daughter and I’ve been making it one or two days before Christmas. We don’t strictly stick with the recipe, though, and are liable to throw in some dried pineapple or other fruit, and we always include cherries.
    Now I’m the only one in the family that really likes this cake – which is absolutely perfect;-)
    But you know what are the two best parts of making that cake:
    1) I do it with my daughter. Well, okay, I mostly hang around and offer suggestions while she does the work.
    2) When we’re done, I get to lick the bowl and utensils. It fetches back memories of Mama calling from the kitchen “Do you want to lick the bowl?”

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    December 18, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I have hadorange slice cake before. I don’t know if it was the exact same recipe or not, but it was delicious. I love those candy orange slices!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Orange slice candy is my favorite and come to find out my SIL likes them too. I just bought some for my stash.
    I’ve never heard of that cake. It’s ingredients, cherrys, nuts & orange slices makes it so festive. What a great idea to make it all hers & making it a tradition.

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