Grandma’s Orange Slice Cake

Merry Christmas!

Back in 2010, when I was first starting this blog, a lot of my post were nostalgic.

A lot of my posts were simple.

A lot of my posts were photograph free.

A lot of my posts make me embarrassed today.

I am revisiting one of these posts today…one that makes me remember my grandmother and her holiday fruit cake.  This year marks the first time that I ever made this on my own.  I decided it was about time to make this ridiculously decadent “fruit” cake.  (If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can see the original post here.)

“Orange” slices

You will notice that I put quotation marks around “fruit.”  The majority of the “fruit” in this cake are candied orange slices…the kind you have to buy in bulk.  (I bought mine at the local ranch supply store.)

Grandma’s Orange Slice Cake

This cake always makes me nostalgic, but one piece is enough. (It is really rich!)


  • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 c. melted butter
  • 3 c. sugar, divided*
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2 c. coconut (I used unsweetened.)
  • 1 lb. dates, chopped (I used a 12 oz. pkg.)
  • 2 lbs. orange slice candy, chopped
  • 1 c. pecans, chopped
  • 1 can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix (by hand) the flour, baking soda, butter, 2 cups sugar, eggs, and buttermilk. This mixture will be thick. Add coconut, dates, candy and pecans. Mix to combine.
  2. Bake at 275 degrees for 2 1/2 hours in a greased angel food pan.**
  3. After baking, leave cake in pan. Mix orange juice and 1 cup sugar. Make holes in cake with a wooden skewer and pour icing over top of cake. Leave in pan another 2 hours.
  4. Remove from pan, wrap in foil and put in freezer for six weeks.

*I did not add the remaining 1 cup of sugar in with the concentrated orange juice.  I thought that would be too sweet.

**I also did not bake this in an angel food cake pan.  Instead I used two regular sized loaf pans and one larger one.  I also lined the pans with parchment paper.

I poured a third of the orange juice concentrate on the smaller loaves, respectively.   Then I decided to ramp up the holiday spirit a bit.  For the large loaf pan, I mixed a couple of ounces of dark rum in with the remaining OJ before I soaked the cake for two hours.

This is a hand-me-down recipe that my aunt and mother have.  I was curious as to the origins of this unusual fruit cake and found a good article here.

One more of my grandpa’s antique postcards.

Revisiting this recipe makes me nostalgic for Christmas and Grandma and Grandpa’s house where tiny slivered slices of this cake would be presented on crystal serving plates.

I would love to revisit a Christmas past in my Grandma’s warm home as the cousins wistfully examined the brightly wrapped presents under the cedar tree recently cut from Grandpa’s pasture and anticipated the delicious meal being prepared in her kitchen.

Have a wonderful holiday with you and yours and here’s to a bright 2018!

10 comments to Grandma’s Orange Slice Cake

  • This sounds like a different and tropical tasting “fruit” cake. Thanks for sharing a family recipe. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

    • My sister brought the “traditional” fruit cake from her husband’s family and we had a fruit cake smack down over the holidays. Although I love my grandmother’s, the BiL’s grandmother’s was wine-soaked fro six weeks and had warming spices in it. It might have won our contest. 🙂

  • Orange candies in fruit cake sound perfect and I love how they turned out. I didn’t bake any fruit cake this year…wish I could taste one of yours 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Deb.

  • mae

    Sometimes, I admit, I kind of enjoy eating those orange slice candies. Similar green ones (minty) are equally artificial-tasting and sometimes also irresistible.

    I can’t quite imagine a cake with as much sweetness as your recipe seems to offer, but nostalgia is a powerful driver of food loves. I’m just wondering about the instruction to freeze the cake for a long period of time: did your grandmother actually have a freezer? The recipe in the article you linked did not recommend freezing — and identified this as originally a recipe from the 1930s or so, which once had real orange zest instead of candy.

    Very interesting post! I hope you have a great year in 2018.

    best… mae at

    • Nostalgia is a powerful driver, like you say. We had a discussion over the holidays regarding the freezing process. All I know is that was how grandma did it.

  • Liz

    Ha!I could have written the same intro, right down to the year!!! I have a feeling my family would like your cake a LOT better than the traditional fruit cake. Happy New Year!!!

  • I have an Orange Slice Bar Recipe that’s ancient. And very much loved. As you, an early nostalgic post of mine. Happy New Year’s Eve Eve. 🙂