Saturday, August 30, 2008

Orange Crunch Cake

I'm a fan of cake mixes. Several times now they have come in handy when I need to whip up a quick dessert. I usually keep several varieties in my food storage along with muffin mixes, cookie mixes, and a brownie mix or two. One of my favorite things to do with a cake mix is a simple cup cake. They're easy to transport, and kids love 'em.

On occasion however, it's good to have alternate recipes available that use the cake mix, but would be more appropriate to serve to adults. One of my favorites has been the Honey Bun Cake but recently I discovered (and tested) a new recipe, an Orange Crunch Cake. This recipe appears on, but apparently it was originally from a Pillsbury ad in a magazine from years and years ago.

Orange Crunch Cake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs**
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter, softened

1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 Tbsp grated orange zest

1 (16 oz) can prepared vanilla frosting
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 Tablespoons grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained

**one sleeve of graham crackers makes about 1 1/4 cups crumbs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch pans. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, walnuts and butter. Divide mixture evenly between the prepared pans. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, orange juice and oil until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the orange zest. Pour the mixture evenly over the crunch layer in the pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting. Frost (crunch side up) between layers, on top and sides. Arrange orange sections on top, then refrigerate.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING: In a medium bowl, beat the vanilla frosting until light and fluffy, then mix in the whipped topping. Stir in the orange and lemon zest. Use frosting on completely cooled cake layers.

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