Friday, May 11, 2012

My Day - Cars, Ovens, and Oranges

I was looking forward to a heavy baking end-of-the-week as it was, with three cakes and a few dozen cookies in the line-up.  Then my car decided to stop. Just stop.  Wouldn't budge.  So I used my cell phone's roadside assistance option and had it towed to the service station, hoping it wouldn't be out of commission too long, since I am just too busy to be side-lined!  Well, it is out of commission, and continues to be.  And I AM side-lined...  Looks like an alternator issue.  The brand-new battery didn't solve the problem.  Thank God for my daughter Katie,who filled in as emergency-chauffeur and, along with Henry and Peter, followed me around to AC Moore, Target, and  Hannaford as I collected all the necessary bits and pieces for three very important cakes that are being baked for Saturday.  We did fit in a trip to Friendly's for "lunch" at 5:30 for Henry who was apparently very upset that he didn't get to have lunch with me at noon due to his baby brother's unfortunate and unexpected car sickness!  He and Pete were very good boys, and were rewarded with dessert (see photo).  ANYWAY...after all that, I found I needed to go out again last night, and my son-in-law Bill took me for a ride in his truck to Saratoga, which from where we live is not a 10-minute spin.  It's more of a 40-minute commitment, and I really appreciated his help.  There's a loaf of banana bread in it for him, just because!

Pete thought Henry's "monster" ice cream was more interesting....

Cake number one is for my soon-to-be niece-in-law Kristin's bridal shower in Saratoga Springs.  the shower is being graciously hosted by a friend of my sister Anne's family, Sue, and I am very excited to 1) see Kristin and everyone, 2) wish Kristin and my nephew Jack every happiness, and 3) make the very best cake I can for her!  Cakes for family are especially meaningful and I am honored to be baking her shower cake.  I haven't decided yet how exactly I'll be decorating it. It's a marble cake and I will be making pretty fondant flowers, to be determined!

Cake number two is for Harvey, who is celebrating his 85th birthday.  My sister-in-law Lynn, Harvey's daughter, asked if I'd make the cake (after completely forgetting to make her granddaughter Katie's 1st Communion cake last weekend - I'm still not over it! A mad dash to Hannaford with a substitute cake was the best I could do at the very last second.  It appears I am either over-committed or overwhelmed, or both!).  For Harvey's cake, I am making the same recipe that Harvey's wife Audrey used to make for him, his favorite, an orange cake with orange buttercream frosting.  Harvey's been a widower for some time now, and certainly misses his wife and her wonderful baking.  I hope this cake does her justice.  I used a whole orange's rind in the batter, as well as its juice, and it smells so light and fresh.  The recipe follows at the end of this post.

pretty orange

Cake number three is for another bride.  Her colors are navy blue and sage green.  So the cake, marble with buttercream, with have fondant irises, sage-colored leaves, and little navy-blue flowers, like violets.  Along with that cake, I am making heart-shaped cookies, frosted in sage and white with royal icing, with a monogrammed "R," tied in cellophane bags with navy blue ribbons.  That should be pretty.

Here's the recipe for Harvey's Orange Cake
a tribute to Audrey Nutter

Oven 375 degrees  F- 30 minutes
2 8-inch round layers


1/2 cup shortening (old school recipe)
1 1/4 cups sugar


1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water

To this, add dry ingredients, mixed together:

2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 tbsp (3 tsp) baking powder
1 tsp salt.

Beat 1 minute (the recipe is old - says "150 strokes" - pre-mixer!!!!)

To this add:
2 eggs, unbeaten
grated rind of one orange

Beat 2 minutes.

Pour into prepared pans (I use parchment rounds and spray with cooking spray).

Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until it tests done.

Orange buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of orange extract or 4 tablespoons orange juice
2 lbs. 10x confectioners sugar
Up to 1/2 cup milk, more if needed, a bit at a time

In stand mixer or with hand-held mixer, cream shortening and butter.  Mix in vanilla and orange extract/orange juice.  Add confectioners sugar slowly, alternating with milk.  Add milk as necessary, a bit at a time, beating until you reach desired spreading consistency.


  1. Oh Jeanne, I am so sorry to hear about your car troubles! I am so glad you have family close by who could chauffeur you around though. :) Baking for all these special occasions is serious business! Can't wait to see how all the goodies turn out. I am sure they will all be wonderful, as they always are!!

    1. Thanks Colleen - the troubles continue. Seems it's not the alternator. Something else is draining the power from my (now new) battery. It'll be interesting to see how I get these goodies to their rightful recipients! (At least I'll be going to my (new) niece's shower with my daughter Katie - so that one is guaranteed!)

  2. Mmmmm, my sweet tooth has kicked in reading all about your luscious creations coming up for the weekend!

    I do hope you get your car troubles straightened out soon - we are so dependant on them. You are so fortunate to have such willing family members to get you where you need to go!

    Mary Ellen

    1. Hi Mary Ellen - I hope they are still willing throughout the weekend. It'll be getting old by Monday. I have a ride into work (thanks Kim!)and will be at the mercy of willing drivers until I get my Jeep back! (I miss it!)

  3. Jeannie...Pa Nutter will be absolutely thrilled to get that cake. What wonderful memories of Nanny will be brought to mind. I'm sure that your other cakes will also be received with wonder and love, because that is exactly how they were prepared. You are simply the best! Give a call if you need a ride.

    1. Di - thanks - you always know the right thing to say at just the right time! I have been captive here at home today (and had planned this as a use-or-lose day off before the car drama) and have to admit it is a bit of a luxury, this forced staying put! For now, that is! :)

  4. Looking forward to trying this one! Sounds so good!

    Jody Shepson

    1. Jode - we'll have to wait for Lynn's review. I won't be around for sampling! I'm sure she'll let us know!

  5. What a hit the orange cake was Jeannie! Pa loved it and says thank you so very much for taking the time to make it for him. Sent him home with a big hunk and even had a little for a midnight snack! Thanks so much for making our celebration so special.

  6. What a hit the orange cake was for PA! He sends you many thanks for taking the time to make his favorite. He was disappointed that he couldn't thank you in person. Thanks again Jeannie for yet another masterpiece!

  7. You certainly deserve a break but I know you won't. Cake batter runs in your veins! LOL Daddy is still talking about his orange cake. Just want to thank you yet again. Seriously though, you really should take a break but not for to long! Lynn

  8. Hi, I came across your blog while searching for a recipe and was pleasantly surprised to see such familiar names in here. My name is Pamela Edwards. I grew up in Troy, NY, just two doors down from Audrey and Harvey Nutter and their family. My mother, Joan, and Audrey (Mrs. Nutter to me) were very good friends and would regularly share a cup of tea. I remember the family moved away when I was young, sometime in the '60s. My mother, who passed away in 1991, mentioned Audrey very fondly over the years.

    This is a wonderful blog and I wish you and your family the best. Regards, Pam