My cousin Michelle was describing a cake made years ago by her husband's grandmother and of course, I demanded the recipe on the spot -and then sent a nagging e-mail later. She sent the recipe -not given to her by the grandmother, but written in a report by a 13 year old boy on his family tree. My cousin said, "I remember it being a taste of the summer...light and refreshing...yummy. She always made it in June, around Father's Day. When I think back on it -it reminds me of hot summer days, sitting out on the back porch swing at Danny's Grandparents' house, so I know it was good, but maybe the memories are better..." I don't know about you, but it makes me so frustrated that its NOT June -and won't be for quite awhile- because I want to make this cake, invite all the family to come over, sit in the shade of the big maple tree, and EAT CAKE. Sigh. I'll just have to make the best of the situation and at the VERY first opportunity I can find to bake for a large group of people, I plan to use this Georgia Special Cake Recipe to make cupcakes that taste of summer at grandmother's -no matter how dark and rainy it actually is outside.
Georgia Special Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
11 oz can Mandarin oranges with juice
1/2 c. vegetable oil
Mix all in large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed for one minute, scrape, then beat medium speed 2-3 more minutes. The orange segments should be broken and well mixed into the batter. Pour into greased and floured Pyrex baking dish and bake 325 degrees 25-35 minutes or until tests done. Or use two round pans baked 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. I plan to make cupcakes using this recipe and bake them 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until tests done.
OPTIONAL: Poke cake all over with a toothpick and pour juice from a 8 oz crushed pineapple can onto cake top and allow to soak in. Cool.
12 oz container frozen whipped topping
3.4 oz pkg instant vanilla pudding
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained.
Mix all with a wooden spoon. (Using a mixer will break down the frozen whipped topping -NOT a good thing.) Gently frost top of cake, cakes or cupcakes.
Other names (and variations) for this cake besides Georgia Special (www.food.com) are Mandarin Orange Cake (www.allrecipes.com) and Finger Lickin' Good Cake (The Cake Mix Doctor Cookbook). Some variations add 1 c. coconut to the frosting and some substitute pistachio instant pudding for the vanilla for a "1970's retro" vivid green and bright yellow contrast -Yikes! Also, 1/2 c. melted butter or more oil (1/4 -1 c. more) are added in some recipes, but I think lighter is better here. Some don't drain the pineapple for the frosting/topping but I think that might be a big mistake and make it too liquidy -I could be wrong, though.