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Cake that Tastes Like Christmas in February


Photo by Susan Mark

Eating nothing but orange kiss-me-cake for lunch was probably ill-advised. As the saying goes, I regret nothing.

What is orange kiss-me cake, you ask? (Or didn't ask… a little presumptuous on my part.) It's a lovely concoction somewhere between cake and quick bread with orange juice concentrate (and a lot of butter) in the batter. More orange concentrate drizzled on top, sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon and pecans.

My sister Cindy always used to make kiss-me cake around Christmas when I was a kid. She must have baked it at other times, but I associate it with the holidays -- the happiness of the tree and carols and family.

The cake doesn't turn out quite as intended. No recipe goes without glitches on first try, or on first try after many years of not making it. The project gave me an excuse to call her for advice -- remove the cakes from the pans before drizzling/sprinkling or not? Our conversation lasted much longer than a simple answer. Cooking or sewing advice is mere pretext for a chat. All of us grew up cooking and crafting, which still binds us together.

The imperfect cake tastes like Christmas, even though I'm living in the depths of a Wyoming February, with battering winds that make me hesitate to step outside. It tastes like Cindy canning jam with me or teaching me how to use a sewing machine. It tastes like family and love.


Below is the recipe as written. I used a bit less sugar, skipped the salt, and used butter instead of shortening, since I never have shortening on hand. Word to the wise: make sure the butter is WELL softened if you go that route (one of my oopsies this time).

Orange Kiss-Me Cake

1 6-oz. (¾ cup) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
½ cup milk
2 eggs
⅓ cup chopped pecans

Set oven at 350 degrees. Combine ½ cup orange juice with all remaining ingredients except pecans in a large mixing bowl. Blend at low speed 30 seconds. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Stir in pecans. Pour batter into two greased bread loaf pans. Bake 40-45 minutes.

You can also bake this in a 9 x 13 cake pan instead of bread pans, but the texture will be fluffier.

⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle remaining orange juice concentrate over the warm cake and sprinkle it with topping.


  1. Making me hungry! I can actually taste the cake just reading your description!

    1. You'll have to try the recipe and let me know how it turns out!


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