Williamsburg Orange Cake

When it comes to cooking and baking, we all head to the internet to search for great recipes. Some days, I literally have my computer on my kitchen counter so I can read a recipe while I’m baking. I have some great cookbooks and I love to use them, but they are not always the first place I go for a new recipe. So in a world where Food Network and Pinterest are the source for so many of our recipes, I thought it might be fun to bake a cake the old fashioned way, with a cookbook.

This Betty Crocker’s Cookbook that I found deep in my cabinet is the first cookbook I ever owned. Originally published in 1978, this book was the New and Revised Edition that was printed in 1981.  I loved flipping through it and was amazed at how much things have changed in 30 years. The photos  are vintage and the recipes, classic.

I decided to make a Williamsburg Orange Cake. I baked this cake years ago for a bridal shower I was hosting. It’s a moist, delicious cake that is similar to carrot cake but has a light orange flavor. It’s a perfect fall dessert and something you don’t see often, which is why I like it.

Orange zest is the key ingredient in this recipe. Just a tablespoon gives the cake a wonderful, fresh flavor.

I was in the mood to make a layer cake so I used two 9″ cake pans. My layers were not very tall. You could easily use three 8″ cake pans for a taller stacked cake or a 13 x 9 pan if you want something that is quick to frost and easy to transport.

The Williamsburg Frosting is a perfect topping for this cake. It’s light and full of flavor with both orange juice and orange zest mixed in.

I like to put my frosting in a decorating bag so I can control where it goes a little easier. 

I put a small dot of frosting on top of my cake stand to keep the layers from sliding.

I alternate between the decorating bag and a spreader to frost the entire cake.

A quick frost all over and a few orange curls on top to finish the cake.

Amazing texture and flavor. Apparently some things never change…even 30 years later!


Leslie xo

4.0 from 1 reviews
Williamsburg Orange Cake
Adapted from the Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1981)
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup golden raisins, cut up
  • ½ cup finely chopped nuts - I used pecans but you can use your favorite nuts
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
Williamsburg Frosting
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 4½ cups Confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 pan or two 9 inch round cake pans.
  3. Beat butter, sugar and eggs until blended.
  4. Add buttermilk and vanilla. Mix until blended.
  5. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to sugar mixture and blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  6. Add raisins, nuts and orange peel and mix until combined.
  7. Pour into pans.
  8. Bake until wooden pick comes out clean, 13 x 9 pan - 40-45 minutes, layers - 30-35 minutes.
  9. Cool then frost with Williamsburg Frosting.
  1. Whip butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy.
  2. Add orange peel and slowly add orange juice until frosting reaches desired consistency.
  3. Refrigerate frosted cake.

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  1. Janet Eyre says:

    I’m so glad to have found this site! I still have my original Better Crocker cookbook which was a wedding shower gift back in 1973. My sister in law Kathy, who was only in grade school at the time, helped me make this cake for a school event. The icing was so delicious that we ate too much of it and had to make a second batch! I’m going to invite her over for a taste of nostalgia!!

    • Yay! Thank you so much for posting this Janet! I LOVE hearing stories like that and it’s exactly why I enjoy sharing this blog! How fun for you and your sister to bake this cake again. And you’re right, the icing is delicious!

  2. “Williamsburg Orange Cake” actually got me personally simply
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  3. Thanks for the recipe! My father bought this cookbook for me at Sears in 1976 when I was just 14 years old. I used to spend my week nights sitting with my parents at the table after dinner pouring over the book deciding which recipe I’d make on the weekend. My parents would then shop for my ingredients. I didn’t always have success, but the Williamsburg orange cake was very yummy. I’ve since given my cookbook away to the next generation, but failed to make a copy of this recipe for myself. Thanks for posting. Lots of fond memories.

  4. Leslie S. says:

    Oh, thank you. Just the other day, I said to my Mom, “Mom! You threw away your Betty Crocker Cookbook! It had the Williamsburg Orange Cake in it!” So I looked on-line and here it was.

  5. I made this cake 3 yrs ago am making it this year for thanksgiving. I love my cookbook, but it’s falling apart from using it so much I’ve had it since mid 70’s. Would like to order another one. Can anyone help!

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