I’m Never Too Busy to Make My Grandmother’s Favorite Lemon Cake with Orange Cream Icing
Time slips away too fast. Prior to having children it wasn’t that way for me. I thought it would slow down once A.J. was off at college and Hunter had graduated, but the opposite seems to be true. I know time can’t really go faster, but seriously, are there REALLY only 160 days 10 hours 8 minutes and 37 seconds until Christmas as I sit writing this post?
I may be totally off-base here but I do believe time slips away faster for each generation and I believe it has to do with how ‘busy’ we allow ourselves to get. Busy is a choice no matter how you look at it. We live demanding lifestyles requiring sustaining capital, we are working harder, longer, faster. And because we work hard we play hard. When we get precious ‘time away’ from our daily grind many of us feel pressure to fill every second with something ‘fun’? How did we get this way? Facebook perhaps, sharing too much, I don’t know. A girlfriend creates spreadsheets and itineraries for her family vacations to guarantee no ‘fun’ will be missed! Stressing out over relaxing seems silly, right!
I am advising a friend about his mother’s estate. He needed someone trusted to see if she had any gems before letting go of her treasures. As we went through each room he told me stories about the tables, lanterns, and duck decoys. I’ve known Robert for 32 years; I did not know he grew up in an isolated cabin with no roads, plumbing, TV or radio. I listened as he told stories about the simplicity of their lives while recalling my summers on Lake Penneseewassee in Norway, Maine with no TV or radio picturing the winding dirt ‘lane’ to our home. Things slowed down there, time stood still. My mom wasn’t rushed, my dad relaxed. They played cards, entertained neighbors and delighted friends from Philly with delicious meals, baked treats and trips to town for milkshakes from Goodwin’s while summer lingered. As Robert spoke I desperately wanted that feeling back and knew just how to get it!
I added ‘Bake A Cake’ to my list of things to do as I eagerly headed home to flip through my grandmother’s cookbooks searching for her Lemon Cake with Orange Cream Icing recipe. The last time I had her cake was when my mom made it for my birthday! Excited I gathered what I needed to clean the house, that darn to do list, while assembling ingredients for the cake. (I sent Hunter to the store for the cream cheese!)
My goal is to cook, bake and share the ‘Best of the Best’ of my ancestors favorite recipes from their treasured cookbooks. I am equally as excited to share how to make this exciting Lemon Cake on a busy day and hope you will add your email to my growing list of V.I.P.’s as I wend my way through these cookbooks!
The sight of the cake was a sweet surprise for Hunter and Bill as they came in the door! They wanted a piece right then reminding me of my motto, ‘Eat Dessert First, Life is Uncertain’, but I made them wait till dinner was over not wanting to cut it quite yet 🙂
A ‘mom wish’ of mine has always been to create good memories surrounding family, friends and delicious foods. I feel sure I can do that with these ancestral recipes, bringing back the joys of my childhood with simple smells that take me back to that place where time passed lazily.
The handwritten ones make me feel connected, to see their handwriting so many years after they passed. Today we ‘bookmark’ recipes online, pinning them to virtual ‘Boards’. Sad to see this way of passing recipes down through the generations potentially end. I have handwritten my recipes for my boys for this reason, have you written your recipes for your family members to enjoy and pass down?
The cake baked as I cleaned. While I scrubbed, swept, mopped and shined the smell in the house became amazing! Cleaning was somehow more pleasant, less of a chore. I added some music to the ‘mix’ and before I knew it I was done and so was my cake!
Cleaning done I moved on to the Orange Cream icing which came together fast!
A HELPFUL TIP when icing a cake: Tear short strips of waxed paper and lay them on your cake plate leaving an opening in the center. Place your bottom layer on the waxed paper so only the edges of the waxed paper are under the outer edges of your cake. When done gently wiggle the wax paper out from under the cake and your cake plate is beautifully clean!
Apply a thin ‘crumb’ coating of icing and allow to ‘set’ for a few minutes to secure any loose crumbs before adding your decorative icing!
Ice upwards in vertical swipes along the side first, put icing into a piping bag to complete the top using your favorite tip and technique. For awesome What to do’s if you do not have a piping bag and tips on How to quickly change tips with ‘no fuss no muss’ check out Lindsay Ann Bakes! Be fearless! Pipe!
A printable recipe with directions is below, I hope you enjoy the recipe!
So STOP – grab a pencil and add ‘Bake A Cake’ to your to do list. You can do it!
We invited Bill’s mom for dinner and invited neighbors for dessert. Time slowed as we sat enjoying this amazing cake with no TV, no radio, just good conversation, lots of laughter and good friends. You can do it, and if you do not have time to make her cake from scratch grab a lemon cake mix from the store and go for it! Create a memory.
Don’t miss a morsel…..sign-up as a V.I.P. ! As I share recipes from their cookbooks they will come straight to your Inbox.
I look forward to your comments on:
- THE CAKE:
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup butter softened
- 4 eggs at room temp
- 3 cups cake flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup half & half at room temp
- ¼ cup fresh or bottled lemon juice
- ⅓ cup freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups crushed nutmeats (optional)
- THE ICING
- 2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese at room temp
- ½ cup butter at room temp
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans
- Beat sugar and butter together until fluffy, 4-5 minutes
- Break an egg into a bowl, at medium speed on the mixer add the eggs one at a time from the bowl too the mixer beating till creamy between each one. These guarantees no shell in your cake!
- Sift together in a separate bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In another bowl stir together the cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.
- Alternate adding the dry flour mixture with the wet cream/lemon mixture starting with the flour. Beat lightly till blended and divide evenly between the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes. Check to see that a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If needed bake until toothpick come out clean (45-60 minutes depending on your oven).
- Remove cake pans to a wire cooling rack and allow them to cool completely as you make the icing.
- THE ICING:
- In a mixer cream the cream cheese and butter together till creamy.
- Mix in the vanilla and orange juice.
- Gradually add in the powdered sugar until the icing reaches a pipeable consistency. If it is too soft add a little more sugar, if you add too much a little more OJ.
- You need to use the frosting immediately.
- Remove cooled cakes from their pans gently brushing any loose crumbs from them.
- Ice the sides and top of the cake with a thin crumb coat.
- Once done use an offset spatula to ice the sides of the cake in a vertical pattern.
- Using a piping bag and your favorite tip fill the top of the cake with piped icing.
- Our family loves nuts, I left a center area for crushed walnuts and put some on the sides at the base of the cake for decoration.