Monday, July 12, 2010

An Easy Orange Cake for Strawberry Season

Stephanie - sending lots of happy, healing, deliciously sweet and juicy thoughts your way!

Several Amish families moved to our area two years ago, and in my opinion we're all the luckier for it. The Amish neighbors I've met so far have all been very friendly, and they've already brought much to our rural community.

There are three basket makers and a furniture maker. The rough cut siding on our new sheep barn came from the Amish sawmill down the road. One of the families sets up a stand next to their house each summer and sells organic produce from their large garden. They grow wonderful sweet corn, and I think I ended up buying most of their tomato harvest last year.

But best of all? This time of year, three of the Amish families sell strawberries.

Farmgirl Susan's Easy Orange Cake
Makes one 9"x5" loaf

My favorite way to eat strawberries is standing outside next to the berry patch. My second favorite way is alongside a slice of this moist, not overly-sweet cake.

This is the kind of simple recipe I love to have in my collection, and since creating it two years ago, I've turned to it again and again. It mixes up quickly, can be eaten plain or gussied up, and stays moist for several days. It tastes even better the second day.

I first made this cake specifically to go with fresh strawberries, but is also very nice with fresh blueberries. Like most baked goods it freezes beautifully—and can be easily sliced when frozen.

Sadly, commercially grown strawberries are high on the Environmental Working Group's 'Dirty Dozen' list of the most contaminated produce—and they're often beautiful but tasteless. Celebrate the short and sweet strawberry season by seeking out local, organic berries from a farmers' market, a small U-Pick farm, or a generous friend's garden. Their amazing flavor will stay with you all year.

3/4 cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened
1¼ cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons finely chopped or grated organic orange zest (I use a vegetable peeler & a sharp knife)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional syrup:
1/3 cup orange juice (strained if freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 350°.

2. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and use an electric mixer (I use a hand held mixer) to cream until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the eggs, vanilla, yogurt, orange juice, and orange zest and beat 1 minute.

4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well.

5. Pour batter into a greased 9" x 5" loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Ovens vary, so start checking for doneness after about 45 minutes. Let the cake cool on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes and then carefully remove it from the pan.

6. If desired, combine the orange juice and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves, then spoon or brush over the cake. Slice and serve (preferably the next day if you can wait that long) plain or piled high with fresh strawberries and whipped cream or ice cream—or both! This cake will keep at room temperature for 3 days or can be frozen.

Susan Thomas shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres at She writes about her organic heirloom garden (which is in desperate need of a new strawberry bed) at


Meichelle said...

I'm so sad that all the mean comments got nie and you comments closed. Keep up the great job. BTW. This looks delicious!

Crystal said...

Looooove Farmgirl Fare! Susan has a recipe for mini chocolate chip cookies that I often obsess over.
I am so glad Susan got to guest post on this site. The recipe looks delicious!

Joy said...

Stephanie is a blessing in my life!

Anonymous said...

This looks so yummy!!!!! I will definitely try it!!!!!!!

vanessa said...

Oh fresh strawberries, what could be better?!

Pamela F said...

Glad to have come across this, my husband loves ORANGE anything and adding the summers strawberries souns yummy, I can't wait to make this.