If Orange Marmalade Cake reminds you of the beloved Mitford book series by Jan Karon (& all the deliciously delightful visions of food therein : )  – guess what!?!  ‘Tis THAT cake… the one Father Tim adores (!) that Esther Bolick makes for every special occasion in Mitford…

Easter cake close upAnd, yes, it has become a tradition for Virginia (your humble blogger who also doubles as the chief cook & bottle washer of the Woodward Home) to bake it at least once a year – either for Mama’s March 15th birthday or for Easter.

Easter Jan Karon cookbookOf course, it’s easy getting sidetracked with Jan Karon’s beautiful “Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader” (a true work of love!) – there are so many amazing recipes & lovely excerpts from her books…

…But, this year on Easter Sunday (after recovering from a midnight post-Easter-Vigil-Lent-is-over–chocolate-fest… & the subsequent chocolate hangover) the mixing process began well until the ‘add cake flour’ part.

Whilst making the pre-Easter grocery list, it was noted that an unopened box of cake flour resided on the top shelf in the pantry.  HOWEVER,  with the butter & sugar beating away in the mixer, upon retrieval the cake flour expiry date turned out to be 2007  (SIX YEARS OLD!?)

Old flour ’tis not good for any cake, much less super-special Marmalade Cake. What to do?  Quick thinking – to turn a two layer Marmalade into a three layer with WHITE LILY flour.  I have used White Lily for biscuits & muffins & cakes ever since dearest Mildred Tabor, one of my parents’ oldest friends (& the Best Pie Baker EVER from Columbia, South Carolina) told me about it eons ago.

white lily“Every suthun’ cook just has to use White Lily – it makes a WORLD of difference…”

..and ya know what, ya’ll? Mildred is SO right.  When i use other flour in my biscuits, you can TELL.  It makes a HUGE difference (!!!!!) so i stock up at our local Food Lion since other groceries here don’t carry the southern staple White Lily… (that this is Virginia, the STATE of, you’d think other grocery chains would catch on…)

Still, ’tis a bit tricky using White Lily for such a fine cake — but by making a three layer  (definitely cutting out the baking powder) & making a few wee adjustments (see the p.s. & recipe link) … the Marmalade Cake turned out JUST FINE.

Easter cake on tableMore than just fine:  Delightfully Deliciously Fine.

Easter Marmalade Cake high viewDefinitely a ‘Hallelujah’ cake… (once you get a taste, it’s easy to start singing) … & thus totally appropriate for Easter (or special occasions, birthdays or to celebrate Spring!)

The Marmalade Cake ’twas a bit decimated after dinner.  Altho quite a big cake (especially the three layer)  it didn’t last long, at ‘tall :  )  (of course, such a cake can be carefully shared as big slices on large paper plates covered nicely with bright Glad wrap…)

Easter Marmalade cake after dinner

….& if you haven’t read Jan Karon’s books, you are in for a delightful treat getting to know Father Tim,  Cynthia, Dooley, Puny, Miss Sadie, Louella …& the host of  other Mitford characters who will become your friends. Trust me on this one – very good friends.

Start at the beginning with “At Home in Mitford” ….or if you’re an old Mitford fan, be sure not to miss Father Tim’s latest adventure with Cynthia in Ireland that turns into a mystery:  “In the Company of Others.”

They’re all good…

But, of course, check out the beautiful Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader

What i also love about Jan Karon is her courageous launch into writing.  Leaving a successful advertising career, years ago she moved lock-stock & barrel from a big West Coast city to Blowing Rock, a small town in the hills of North Carolina — to pursue her dream of writing books.  But she had no inspiration. The pickings were getting kinda slim as the economy took a downturn & her savings dwindled (in her cookbook she says she learned how to cook the roast chicken bones into a big pot of soup to make it stretch.)

She writes:  “I had stepped out on faith to a new life of writing books, but discovered I knew nothing at all about writing books, the money wasn’t coming in, and the bills were piling up. Woman’s dream turns into nightmare?” 

During those trying times in ‘the valley’, however, Jan Karon’s faith deepened… & when inspiration came she persevered …& persevered …

And, now there are 16+ of her wonderful books, all BESTSELLERS, to enjoy.

Caught by a Thought:  

“If God has given you a dream, you’d better get cracking because He wants you to use it.  That’s why He gives them to us in the first place.”    Jan Karon

grace, peace & Marmalade Cakes (inspiring!)

   Virginia : )

p.s. here’s a link to the recipe Jan Karon’s “Esther’s Orange Marmalade Cake.”

To make this into a Three-Layer (with White Lily Flour) – lose the Baking Powder… use 3 1/4 cups flour, 2 & 2/3 cups sugar, 5 eggs, 2/3 cups vegetable oil (safflower has no cholesterol) – add oil after the eggs & beat for one minute before adding the buttermilk mixture … bake the 3 layers for 35 minutes & then double the marmalade & double the sour cream/ whipped cream mixture (it makes for a  fluffy delicious topping- you will want MORE!)

Easter Header

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12 Responses to MaRmALaDe CaKe (ORANGE!)

  1. Your post re. an author-provided recipe reminds me of a favorite of mine: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (author of The Yearling) and her mother’s recipe for homemade biscuits. I have it in Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Small Breads but he cites Rawlings’ Cross Creek Cookery as the source. The recipe is titled “Mother’s Biscuits.” I used to think that making homemade biscuits would be difficult and messy but with years of practice & learning my own approach to mixing & forming them, it’s become a quick & easy thing that I absolutely love to do, especially the part about watching my family enjoy the mouth-watering flaky biscuits topped with butter and jam or marmalade!

    • Virginia says:

      MINDY! oooh, i can see the mouth-watering biscuits with butter & jam dribbling down the side. YUM, YUM! Thanx so much for your comment – that recipe sounds like one to try, for sure (& yes, i also make biscuits at least once a week for the fam – usually a lightened version of Paula Deen’s cheese biscuits, but we also have a favorite cheese- apple recipe i’ve made for >20 years : )

      If you have a chance to try the marmalade cake, it’s truly a work of love (& it tastes, like totally AWESOMELY AMAZING !)

      It’s fun to find food in books – i’ve just gone through a few Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorsokogian books again – Memory, Komarr & Winterfair – & it’s fun to see the role Mile’s chef plays… (& the descriptions of cream cakes et all : )

      Thanx for popping by!!
      grace, peace & Book Foodies – Virginia : )

  2. John Paine says:

    After FOUR weeks I can finally get to work. ;-}

    On behalf of all your dedicated readers, thank you!

    • Virginia says:

      oooh, John, hope the ‘work’ turned out well? just beware, it’s hard to just have One Piece of this cake (!!!) i must confess, the week after Easter i had, like, TWO pieces each day (one with morning tea & one with afternoon tea…) … & a few spoonfuls at night when no one was looking!


  3. Beatrice says:

    Great.! I have always enjoyed your innovations. Thank you.

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you, Miss Beatrice — so great you can enjoy this… & i have such fun memories of all the yummy meals we shared in Tanzania (or, at least, the sweets in meetings & working lunches & those other working meals while traipsing around rural areas where chapati for breakfast was the norm! … & mashed bananas & banana stew & fried bananas (ok, so Kagera figured into my travels, OFTEN : )

      lots of grace, peace & BANANA CAKE (the next one) — Virginia : )

  4. TMH says:

    V: Am enjoying working my way through your own ‘bookshelf’ category. Love the quote about God giving us a dream. And I added tabs for the recipe and the book. Nice work.

    • Virginia says:

      oooh, Tim, methinks you will like this cake! It’s totally yum. Jan Karon’s writings & example continue to inspire me & so many others. Blessings! 🍰😋🍰

  5. TMH says:

    I’m baaaaaack! Wanted to revisit the orange marmalade cake and you know what? I think I liked reading this post just as much the second time as the first. And I’ll be on the lookout at our specialty food store for White Lily Flour. Too intriguing to not conduct the search and, well, Amazon makes things too easy, so I’m not doing an online search till I do an in-person search. Can I double-like this post?

    • Virginia says:

      Tim, I bake lots of cakes (& cupcakes & muffins & pies) but this one is uniquely amazing. It’s not too sweet – the sour cream topping compliments the marmalade in a way that’s totally YUM! This version with White Lily flour worked fine, but last year I started using an organic Arrowhead Mills (unbleached, non-GMO) flour that makes my vegan cupcakes & baked treats even more tasty. Nice reasonable price, available @ our local Wal Mart. Haven’t made this cake since Mama passed, but hope to make it again this year for Easter. Baking blessings!! 🍊🎂🌟🎂🌟🍊

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