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Mother Lovett made a lot of cakes. In fact, if you haven’t read her entire story yet, you wouldn’t know that she had a heart attack while hand-mixing cake batter. It began her demise, but once in the hospital, she was simply concerned with how dirty her kitchen still was.

I obviously didn’t inherit that gene, since I can’t be bother to even wash a dish.

When we lived in our magical castle, we were sans dishwasher. Some days I thought those dishes would never end . . . as I watched them pile up in the sink. I really have no idea why we were so miserable there. I am sure it doesn’t have anything to do with me not cleaning, not washing dishes, not showering, and not removing myself from the couch.

Those last 2 are a stretch, but I still think my husband would agree.

As my mom was growing up, Mother Lovett would bake every Saturday. Pies, cakes, and other goodies – all to provide dessert for the coming week.

This orange cake was one of her specialties, but I have to admit something: she used boxed cake mix, and surprisingly used box cake mix alot. I find nothing wrong with it (I usually enjoy it), but I also find pleasure and comfort in making treats from scratch.

So I used her recipe, along with a yellow cake from scratch, and it came out wonderfully.

I think I mentioned this with her orange cookies, but now I know why she always made me zest the oranges. What a pain! It also describes why she had my late grandfather zest the oranges before me. For lack of a better word, she could sometimes be . . . bossy.




I had a hard time staying away from the freshly-squeezed orange juice.


I have never been a juice drinker, but recently my hubby and I have been having some OJ every morning. It is so nice and refreshing, minus the OCD my husband has while weighing his out in ounces each day.

Once the batter was mixed up, in went the main ingredients: orange juice, zest, and a few handfuls of coconut.





It was a challenge to stay away from the batter. The creamy, coconutty goodness was almost more than I could handle.

I topped the cupcakes off with some orange cream cheese frosting. This was Mother Lovett’s exact recipe, minus the cream cheese. I can’t live without cream cheese. If I even attempt, I start to shake.



Orange Coconut Cupcakes

yellow cake recipe adapted from smitten kitchen

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup freshly squeeze orange juice

zest of 5 oranges

1 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line cupcake pans with liners.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is incorporated. Add orange juice and zest.

Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Let cool, then frost.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter

2-8oz blocks of cream cheese

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of 2 oranges

1 – 1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add 1/2 of powdered sugar, then add orange juice and zest. Add the remaining powdered sugar. You may need more or less depending on consistency.

Top with coconut.


When working with coconut, I always have to leave a few goodies plain since many people in my life – like my husband and brothers – are not fans of it.


Last night I told my hubby that if he really loved me, he’d love coconut, too. I’m hoping he makes it his New Year’s resolution.

Happy New Year!