CONDLEY: Orange cake gets a ‘just OK’ assessment

I was looking through the pantry the other day and found an orange cake mix. 

I don’t typically buy cake mixes, but I’d purchased this one when I found it for 50 cents. I’m sure when I bought it I thought, “That’s a good deal. I can do something with that.” Then, when I got home, I put it in the pantry and forgot about it.

When I found the mix, I headed to the computer and punched in recipes using an orange cake mix. 

There were several that popped up, but the one for Orange Soak Cake caught my eye because it was simple. The recipe was listed on the website and it stated that it was a Duncan Hines recipe.

Orange Soak Cake


— 1 package orange cake mix

— 1 1/3 cups water

— 1/3 cup vegetable oil

— 3 large eggs


— 2 cups powdered sugar

— 1/3 cup orange juice

— 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Note: If you don’t have orange cake mix on hand, a yellow cake mix is an acceptable substitute. Just add one tablespoon of orange extract and one tablespoon grated orange peel to the batter before mixing.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions.

While the cake is baking, combine powdered sugar, orange juice, melted butter and water in a medium bowl.

When the cake is done, remove from the oven and immediately poke holes in the top with a fork or toothpick.

Pour glaze slowly over top of the hot cake, allowing it to soak in.

Cool completely on a wire rack.


I greased and floured a 9-inch by 13- inch pan and sat it aside. 

I opened the cake mix box and then poured the dry mixture into a medium-size bowl. 

The recipe gave ingredients and directions, but said to prepare the cake mix as directed. 

You might notice that the recipe calls for 1-1/3 cups water. Well the box said 1 cup of water. After a little thought, I went with the recipe and used 1-1/3 cups, but instead of water, I used orange juice (which was recommended on some of the websites I reviewed when I was doing my recipe search). I added the oil and the eggs and stirred until the batter was combined.

I poured the cake batter into the pan and placed it in the oven. I set the timer for 35 minutes.

While the cake baked, I put the glaze together. Just dump the three ingredients together and stir. Simple as one, two, three.

When the timer sounded, the cake was not done, so I let it continue to bake. 

After 10 more minutes, a cake tester came out clean. I sat the baking dish on a cooling rack and began to use the cake tester to poke holes all over the cake.

I gently poured the glaze over the hot cake, and it smelled good — just like oranges.

I let the cake cool overnight, lightly covered. 

The next morning, all of the glaze had been absorbed by the cake, and I ate a piece for breakfast. 

I thought the cake was OK, but nothing special. There was a lot of glaze poured over the cake, which completely soaked into the cake and made it very moist. 

Since there was so much cake, I put some in a container and took it to my mom. I also took some to our neighbors (Carl and Linda, and Chris and Rachel) and told all them to let me know what they thought of this dessert.

My mom, who shared the cake with my brother, said she thought it was really good and very moist. She didn’t think it was overly sweet. 

Our neighbor, Linda, called and said she really liked it and suggested using lemon next time (I think that’s a good idea). Her husband, Carl, let me know it was delicious and he ate his with vanilla ice cream. Our neighbor, Rachel, agreed with me, she thought it was good, but not over-the-top great.

When I baked this cake, Brad was away visiting a friend, and when he returned home, there was one piece left. We shared it after supper and he thought it was too sweet.

In the end, I’ll say this recipe falls into the nailted it category, but I don’t anticipate making it again because there are just too many cake recipes waiting in my stack calling me to try them.

The photos of this cake are bad, after the cake was completely gone, I noticed there was something all over the camera lens, but I’m sure you can imagine a square piece of orange cake sitting on a plate.

I’ve also had several people ask for the recipe for the chicken casserole dish I talked about in last week’s column. I thought I’d share it here: 


Chicken Casserole with Cornbread


— 4 cups crumbled cornbread

— 1/4 cup chopped green pepper

— 1/4 cup chopped onion

— 1/4 cup chopped celery

— 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken

— 1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted.

— 1 1/2 cups chicken broth


Combine cornbread, green pepper, onion and celery; mix well.  

Place half of the mixture in a two-quart baking dish.  

Spread the chicken over the cornbread layer.  

Combine soup and chicken broth and pour over the chicken.  

Place the remaining cornbread mixture over the chicken and press the mixture down gently.  

Set aside for 20 minutes.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  


Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.