Williamsburg Orange Cake

When it comes to cooking and baking, we all head to the internet to search for great recipes. Some days, I literally have my computer on my kitchen counter so I can read a recipe while I’m baking. I have some great cookbooks and I love to use them, but they are not always the first place I go for a new recipe. So in a world where Food Network and Pinterest are the source for so many of our recipes, I thought it might be fun to bake a cake the old fashioned way, with a cookbook.

This Betty Crocker’s Cookbook that I found deep in my cabinet is the first cookbook I ever owned. Originally published in 1978, this book was the New and Revised Edition that was printed in 1981.  I loved flipping through it and was amazed at how much things have changed in 30 years. The photos  are vintage and the recipes, classic.

I decided to make a Williamsburg Orange Cake. I baked this cake years ago for a bridal shower I was hosting. It's a moist, delicious cake that is similar to carrot cake but has a light orange flavor. It's a perfect fall dessert and something you don't see often, which is why I like it.

Orange zest is the key ingredient in this recipe. Just a tablespoon gives the cake a wonderful, fresh flavor.

I was in the mood to make a layer cake so I used two 9" cake pans. My layers were not very tall. You could easily use three 8" cake pans for a taller stacked cake or a 13 x 9 pan if you want something that is quick to frost and easy to transport.

The Williamsburg Frosting is a perfect topping for this cake. It's light and full of flavor with both orange juice and orange zest mixed in.

I like to put my frosting in a decorating bag so I can control where it goes a little easier. 

I put a small dot of frosting on top of my cake stand to keep the layers from sliding.

I alternate between the decorating bag and a spreader to frost the entire cake.

A quick frost all over and a few orange curls on top to finish the cake.

Amazing texture and flavor. Apparently some things never change...even 30 years later!


Leslie xo

Williamsburg Orange Cake

Author: Leslie Reese
Adapted from the Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1981)
  • Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup golden raisins, cut up
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts - I used pecans but you can use your favorite nuts
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • Williamsburg Frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 cups Confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 pan or two 9 inch round cake pans.
  3. Beat butter, sugar and eggs until blended.
  4. Add buttermilk and vanilla. Mix until blended.
  5. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to sugar mixture and blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  6. Add raisins, nuts and orange peel and mix until combined.
  7. Pour into pans.
  8. Bake until wooden pick comes out clean, 13 x 9 pan - 40-45 minutes, layers - 30-35 minutes.
  9. Cool then frost with Williamsburg Frosting.
  1. Whip butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy.
  2. Add orange peel and slowly add orange juice until frosting reaches desired consistency.
  3. Refrigerate frosted cake.