Monday, August 2, 2010

Elizabeth's Cake

A trip to my Grandma Luss' is never quite the same unless we have Elizabeth's cake - a kind of pound cake with an orange glaze that always sat on the counter under a red-speckled metal cake-cover just begging for dinner to be over and Grandpa to get the vanilla ice cream from the freezer. I helped Grandma make the cake many times, but I never knew where the recipe came from until just recently. When my grandmother was a student teacher in Syracuse, New York, part of her time was spent working with minority students. They loved her, unlike some of the other student teachers that came through their school. Her supervisor was an African-American lady named Elizabeth, and she gave this recipe to my grandmother.

My grandma is 87 years old now, and not doing very well. I visited her recently and waded through her stacks of recipes (and boy does she have a lot!) to find this one. Unfortunately, it was a bit cryptic, and so while I am going to post the recipe now I have to say that it did not come out quite right when I made it this time. For one, it needs to bake longer, or at a higher temperature. Second, there was nothing written down at all for the glaze, and while I did what I remembered, I think I'll use slightly less orange juice and more powdered sugar next time. I've included both these updates below, but you might have to experiment :) However, it still tastes wonderful, especially with some vanilla ice cream. Here's to Grandma's Elizabeth's Cake!

Elizabeth's Cake
makes about 20 slices


  • 1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 6 oz. frozen orange juice, thawed but undiluted (half of a regular can)
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Coat a angel food pan with Crisco (if you use a spray it sometimes doesn't want to come out). Sprinkle bottom of pan with the chopped pecans.
  2. Soften the butter. Blend with the sugar until combined. Add in the eggs, vanilla, 3 oz. of the frozen orange juice, and the sour cream. Beat well.
  3. In another bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into wet mixture.
  4. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 1 3/4 hours (or longer). Top will be very brown. Remove and cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Invert onto cake platter or plate.
  5. Mix together the powdered sugar and remaining orange juice, mixing juice in slowly until desired consistency is achieved. Pour over cake.
  6. Serve with vanilla ice cream :)

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