The Best of Mother Lovett.
I’ve got Mother Lovett on the brain.
I made her orange cake for Easter, though according to her I did everything wrong, down to serving it as a layer cake and not in a 9 x 13 pan. I added cream cheese to the frosting. I forgot to put the coconut in the batter. I zested the oranges myself instead of berating my husband like a child until he caved under my abuse and scraped every last bit of rind from the sweet citrus.
It’s hard to believe that today marks two whole years since we said our goodbyes to her. At times it feels like just yesterday I was standing in her kitchen, gulping over-sweetened iced tea to cure my unquenchable thirst and sneaking way too many Snickers bars from the cupboard below the bar. I reset her kitchen timer to make sure she didn’t burn the (millionth) batch of chocolate chip cookies and I threw away the aluminum foil that had blanketed her baking tins since 2002. Someone had to do it.
I’ve already told you about how she was stubborn and proud and strong and courageous and stubborn. I’ve already told you how we served her half a birthday cake on her 88th birthday, and just happened to be lucky enough that she was too short to notice.
Facts of her life are peppered across this blog. She married brothers. She walked around with four blockages in three arteries for over 20 years, surviving on buttered crackers and lard-laden pie crusts. She accidentally hoarded condiments, surely a symptom of the Great Depression, leading us to laughs that begin in the bottom of your belly and rise up… all over a bottle of soy sauce that expired in 1979. She once rolled down the grassy bank in front of her house while picking some weeds. She never got names correct; after an hour-long visit one afternoon she was shocked to discover that I wasn’t my cousin Lacy.
I’ve already told you about the times we’d take her grocery shopping and she’d ask in her loudest possible voice, “Eh…. where are the maxi-pads without wings?!”
And I’ve already told you as much as I can possibly tell you about a 4-foot-eleven, legally blind and legally deaf little spark plug, one who wore high heels until the day she died and drew on eyebrows with pink lip liner. I wish that she would have been living when I started this blog, selfishly of course, because she would have given me fabulous material like she did back in early 2008.
Grumpily, Mother Lovett complained, “Well, I didn’t get to watch my stories today. Omaha was on all afternoon.”
“Omaha? What’s Omaha?”
“You know! Omaha. The guy that’s going to be our president.”
Gratefully she blessed her offspring with this trait, as my mom spent a full 10 minutes last fall raving about “the best tai chi she had ever tasted.”
“This tai chi was just so delicious. I had never tried tai chi before. Oh, it was so wonderful. I wonder if I could make it at home?”
“Um, mom? Pretty sure you mean chai tea.”
So the only other thing you need to know is that you must make this cake. Juicy oranges, creamy yellow cake, sweet and shredded coconut… all enveloped with a creamy orange frosting and a heavy-handed dusting of coconut. It’s perfect.
Juicy Orange Cake
makes two 8-inch layer cakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup orange zest
2-3 tablespoons of milk if needed
1 cup shredded coconut
10-12 oranges zested and juiced (use what’s need for the cake, if there is leftovers use it for the frosting)
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Zest and juice the oranges.
Sift flour, salt and baking power and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. After the mixture has come together, add in half the of the dry ingredients and mix. Add in the orange juice, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Add in the orange zest and fold in coconut and mix until dispersed. Add milk if needed.
Pour batter in two 8-inch buttered and floured cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake is not jiggly in the middle. Let cool completely before frosting.
Note: Cakes with shredded coconut in the batter tend to be a bit crumbly. Also, this recipe came with NO instructions. I had to make some up as I went a long, but if you feel you need more liquid, add store bought orange juice or more milk until you get the consistency of cake batter.
2 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1 8-ounce black of cream cheese, softened
4 1/2 – 5 cups of powdered sugar (based of your desired consistency)
2-3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons (or more) orange zest
2-3 cups shredded coconut
Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in sugar 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on slow speed, gradually increasing as you go. Add the orange juice and zest. If more liquid is required, add orange juice. Frost cake as desired and then cover with coconut.
I’m still full from yesterday.
121 Comments on “The Best of Mother Lovett.”
i love your mother lovett stories! and your recipes too :)
Such a great post- having wonderful memories of relatives is such a blessing in and of itself. :) I remember stories of how my dad’s mom used to laugh so hard she’d wet her pants. You can’t write that stuff!
lovely tribute! Looks delish :)
I love this story. Very heartwarming and makes me want to give my grandma a big hug. The cake looks delicious as always!
omg this looks decadent and amazing. I’ll take a whole cake please :)
hahaha omg the “tai chi” you mean “chai tea” amazing! I love hearing your stories of mother lovett!! I also adore fruity cakes…like orange or lemon or raspberry! YUM! did you make me a key lime pie for post competition yet ;) hehehehe
This looks amazing!!! Question though, how many eggs?????? I think this would be perfect for Mother’s Day!!!
Oops! 3… fixed it!
I really enjoy when you talk about Mother L. I wish I could have met her!!
I agree, That looks like a must make for Mothers Day- thanks so much for sharing!
What a lovely post about your grandmother. The cake looks divine!
Great post, and that cake looks heavenly. I think your version would have made her proud. :)
Beautiful written post.
Awesome slice of cake.
Great clicks ♥
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I just found your blog! It’s amazing, your pictures are gorgeous!!!
A beautiful post, Jessica! I love these stories and they always bring a smile to my face. Isn’t that generation so amazing? They lived through so much and the extra sassy ones still brought so much humor into our lives.
OH! that looks sooooo good. Juicy huh? I’m so in then!
The Mother Lovett stories are my favorite!!
Love the Omaha story… LOL. My ex boyfriend once said to me, “Who’s that guy who’s running for president? Maguna Mamba?”
This is a GREAT post! Mother Lovett is too funny!
And this juicy orange cake looks delicious. I want a HUGE slice!!
Such sweet memories! I’m cracking up. The cake looks delicious too ;) (despite my easter candy hangover)
What a lovely post in memory of your grandmother. She sounds like she was quite a character and it’s so nice to have such fond and funny stories to remember her by.
I love mishearing and mis-saying things. It runs in my family. And Hunni is partially deaf so he constantly thinks I’m saying the weirdest thing. “You want to cook past carborators for dinner?” No I sad pasta carbonara.
Mother Lovett definitely sounds like someone I wish I could have met! This cake looks amazing too. I love anything with orange!!
All of your stories about her completely remind me of my grandma. She was such a little fireball (super short as well!) up until the day she died. Once, when she was in the hospital after a surgery, she threw a muffin at a male nurse because she didn’t like it. When she passed, we all went to a bowling alley and drank beer and bowled until like 2 am because she specifically told us that she didn’t want any of us crying when she died, she wanted us to celebrate her life :)
Lovely story about your gram, I really enjoyed reading it!
Jessica, this looks amazing! I love that the cake has 1 stick of butter, that isn’t too bad. :-) Awww.. your words about Mother Lovett are always so touching. I love reading your blog, especially at work nowadays, it makes the day go by faster. :-)
Reading this made my day! Thanks for sharing!
My favourite posts of yours are the ones in which you talk about Mother Lovett. She is a real character, and you paint a picture of her so well in my mind.
I love the stories of Mother Leovett…they always make me smile :) I’m sure this cake would as well…perfect for spring?
This looks delectable. How convenient is it that my grandfather just returned from his winter home in Phoenix with oranges galore (from his orange tree) and gave me about 100 of them? I was just wondering how I was going to make use of them before they spoiled…
Mother Lovett sounds like a real spitfire!
Wow that post made my day, had me laughing out loud. So sweet and funny! Beautiful cake.
“Omaha? What’s Omaha?”
Omaha happens to be the biggest city in Nebraska and where I live! ;)
I adore those old posts about Mother Lovett. What a fantastic, feisty woman. I hope my later years are spent wearing heels, stockpiling condiments and baking cakes. My early years have been, so I guess I’m on the right track. And they are beautifully written, always making me laugh and cry. The cake looks good, too :)
She called soap opera’s her “stories”!! My grandmother does that too! Fortunately, mine is still with us. But I can’t help but think how much I’ll miss her and her looney ways, when I read this! Makes me grateful to have her…
Oh.MY.God. I do believe that once I started eating this cake, I wouldn’t be able to stop. It’s incredible looking…. and orange?! Yum.
The little story was priceless! I know you’ve heard it a million times already but this really did sound just like my grandmother. She didn’t make it to see her 80th birthday and on the 26th (yesterday) it was 6 years since she had passed. I had been having a tough time dealing with it but reading your blog made me laugh thinking about how your grandmother acted just like mine did. She use to take the condiments, napkins, straws, and even… yeast rolls.. she’d wrap them up in the napkins she had accidentally taken from a previous restaurant and then place the rolls into a ziploc baggie that she always kept in her purse. Sadly, most of the time the yeast rolls wouldn’t see the light of day until a couple weeks down the road when she would finally remember they were in her purse; hard as a rock and all! Haha! The cake sounded delicious…I can’t wait to try it out!!
orange cake how perfect for spring! and so beautiful! i can’t wait to bake this one and change up my cake collection :)
This looks amazing! I have to try it now!
What a sweet post! From the sugary cake to the firecracker Mother Lovett…I loved every single moment :) Thanks for sharing such beautiful memories…a recipe is always the perfect way to pass on a legacy!
What a unique recipe. This sounds delicious and perfect for spring!
i made this friday, cut the recipe in half and it was good enough, small, but enough. also, the store didn’t have shredded coconut, so i used coconut flakes & just chopped it up a little. people enjoyed it, it was different. i know i loved it.
Mother Lovett sounds like someone I’d have loved to sit and talk with. Such a great post! And the cake looks amazing!
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I made this cake for Mother’s Day and it was great! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! Here’s a link to my post if anyone’s interested: http://amourpetitgateau.blogspot.com/2011/05/orange-creamsicle-cake.html
My boyfriend made this for me for my birthday. Birthday is tomorrow, celebrated tonight with friends and it was AMAZING. I helped him adapt it because a friend of mine has celiac so we made it into a gluten free cake and then we blended up some coconut and put it into the frosting and reduced the amount of sugar slightly. It was perfect, everyone loved it. Thank you! :)
Marvelous post. I like the way you communicate . I just bookmarked your site and Ill make sure to check in a bunch.
Feel free to email me if you have some interesting advice on this topic. I’d love to hear from you,
all the best
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Oh! This post is really wonderful God bless u 4 sharing…
Oh! This post is really wonderful God bless u 4 sharing…..
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