I realize that some bakers still do this, but I, for one, have made cake mixes a staple in my kitchen pantry.
Perhaps this is because I like to experiment with them and I realize that the mixes have improved so much over the years.
Recently, when I was doing some cleaning and looking through my many cookbooks, I found my collection of Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbooks, starting with the first Bake-Off in 1949. As I looked at the recipes in these classic cookbooks, I remembered that during those earlier years, the Pillsbury Bake-Off was just that: a "bake-off." The criteria for the contest was to make your own creative recipe using Pillsbury flour. Simple rules, and the recipes amaze me. In my opinion, baking from scratch was at its best during this time.
I didn't look through all the bake-off cookbooks, but did scan through the first two. There were several recipes that I really want to try, but I decided to make a recipe from the second Bake-Off. Orange Kiss Me Cake was the $25,000 first-prize winner, and after I made it, I can understand why it was awarded the top prize.
The ingredients are readily available, the instructions are easy to follow, the texture is light and moist, and the flavor of this single-layer cake is palate-pleasing.
The description given with the recipe in the cookbook says it best: "It stays moist for days and has just about the finest, freshest flavor you ever put into your mouth."
Although this is a cake, I think it would be good served with a cup of coffee for breakfast on Father's Day. I can almost see the smile on Dad's face right now.
ORANGE KISS ME CAKE
1 large orange, pulp and rind (reserve juice for topping)
1 cup seedless raisins
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cups sifted Pillsbury's Best Enriched Flour (all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup milk
Orange Nut Topping:
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Fresh orange slices for decoration, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and lightly flour a 12x8x2 or 13x9x2-inch pan. Grind together (I use the food processor) the pulp and rind of the orange, raisins, and 1/3 cup walnuts. In mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and 3/4 cup milk. Beat for 2 minutes, 300 strokes, until batter is well blended. (With electric mixer, blend at low speed, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes). Add eggs and 1/4 cup milk and beat for 2 minutes. Fold the orange-raisin mixture into batter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
While cake is baking, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar, the cinnamon and chopped walnuts for topping. Set aside.
When cake comes from the oven, drip the orange juice over the warm cake and sprinkle sugar mixture over top. Decorate with orange slices, if desired.
NOTE: Although the recipe calls for baking the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, it took only about 30 minutes in my oven. I used the 13x9x2 inch pan. I would suggest checking the cake at 25 minutes.