Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 25, 2009

Lady Goldenglow Cake

Lady Goldenglow Cake For Buzz’s birthday cake this year, he asked for a retro recipe… and of course, I was happy to oblige. A search of various sources turned up a number of options, the most interesting of which was “Lady Goldenglow Second Mystery Cake” from my Old-Time Brand-Name Cookbook. It’s been mentioned on Kitchen Retro, which thankfully had an authentic picture.

Of course, the name Lady Goldenglow gives you no clue as to what’s in the cake. Taking a look at the ingredients, though…

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure orange extract
1-1/2 ounces baking chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 and butter 2 layer-cake pans.

Cream the butter until soft and light. Gradually add the sugar, beating well and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl, and add to the batter in thirds, alternating with the milk. Remove half the batter to a separate bowl. Add the orange extract to the batter remaining in the first bowl, and mix thoroughly. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract to the second bowl and mix well. Divide the batter between the cake pans by tablespoons: first one of the orange mixture, then one of the chocolate, and so on.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

Turns out it’s “orange and chocolate marbled cake”. Mmmmm.

Intriguingly, Lady Goldenglow has changed since the 30’s, morphing from a orange-chocolate marbled cake with orange and/or chocolate icing, to chocolate cake and icing with orange flavoring added. British chef Nigella Lawson has a recipe on her website for “Lady Goldenglow Chocolate Cake,” the most modern version I could find. (I also found a Norwegian version, but I don’t speak Norwegian so I can’t say much more about it.)

The original recipe makes a fairly standard cake, aside from the batter marbling. Separating the batter in half and adding different flavors to each isn’t that hard, and creates a very neat effect.

Orange Batter and Chocolate Batter ready for the pans

Alternate one glop with the other glop

Trim the puffy top to make it flat

The frosting suggestions from Old-Time Brand-Name Cookbook differ slightly from the Kitchen Retro version; rather than orange frosting on top and chocolate-orange on the sides, it gives an orange buttercream frosting recipe and an orange whipped cream frosting recipe. We put the whipped cream between the layers, frosted the outside with buttercream, and then decorated the edges with plain chocolate (left over from some cupcakes last week).

Orange Whipped Cream Filling

Orange Buttercream Frosting

Look at retrochef, thinks she's Martha Stewart

And wow. These are, well, the icing on the cake. Both frostings are delightfully citrus-flavored, and chocolate accents on top are a wonderful contrast. (Chocolate sprinkles or, even fancier, chocolate shavings would be just as decadent.)

MMMMM Lady Goldenglow Cake

This is by far the best cake I have ever made, retro or not. I admit that I took more care than I usually might with a retro recipe, but the deliciousness is due to the recipe itself. If you’re looking for a cake a step above “yellow”, I definitely recommend a Lady Goldenglow. (Plus the name is a great conversation starter, as everyone tries to figure out why exactly it’s called that.)

Delicious Piece of Lady Goldenglow Cake


  1. It’s a delicious little cake. I’m not usually a huge fan of orange flavors, but this is really excellent. And it looks so beautiful! Thanks a lot!

    Naturally, it’s cake, so the kids just love it, the one-year-old especially. The five-year-old did a beautiful job assisting with the icing as well. For several days before it was finished, she kept talking about the “orange icing” we were going to make.

  2. I am so completely going to cook one of these. Except for the fancy icing, because I turn into Igor when it comes to anything like that. Thanks for posting this!

  3. Beautiful! You and the your assistant created a masterpiece. Lady Goldenglow sounds delish! Happy B. Day Buzz!

  4. The retro recipes have been pretty irresistible lately…’course, it’s hard to go wrong with dessert. BTW, you might enjoy this item, which reminds me a bit of one of your previous (non-sweet) efforts:

  5. I just found your blog today and am enjoying reading it.

    This cake looks wonderful! I love old cake recipes.

  6. That is one beautiful looking cake! ❤

  7. This looks SOOOOO good!!

  8. I got my recipe for Lady Goldenglow from my grandmothers handwritten cake recipe-book. She was born in 1893 and lived in Mo i Rana in Northern Norway. I was born in 1953. She did not bake this cake regularly, but I remember us calling it just “Lady Golden”.

    My grandmother’s recipe is based on 150 gr butter, 250 gr sugar, 1 egg yolk + 1 egg, 250 gr flour and 1/4 liter milk., plus chokolate, orange, salt and baking powder. I can give you the whole Norwegian version if you are interested. I remember it beeing a little heavy, but tasty. I think I’ll try baking it again!

  9. My husband Bjorn is from Moi Rana his mother would make this cake for him for his birthday every year. I’m now making it for him as a gift that he loves so much. I cant print this and would love to add to my recipe book Thank you for the great presentation

  10. Since I found this recipe, it’s become one of my favorites. I like how it looks harder to make than it is (my cakes taste great but generally look meh, so anything to even the score!) and I adore being able to call it a cool name like ‘Lady Goldenglow’.

  11. The Norwegian recipe you found – you make a sort-of marbled cake, the chocolate is grated in one half of the batter, and the whole batter is flavored with lemon zest.
    It has sort of orange meringue buttercream in between the layers and on top, more grated chocolate and “the rest of the chocolate is melted and put between layers and on sides”?
    In the photos it seems like the chocolate is made into a buttercream as well and the sides are covered with it.
    In another recipe I found, they make the orange buttercream first, take aside about 1/3 of it, grate some chocolate, melt the rest and blend the melted chocolate in the rest of the buttercream. You fill the cake with the chocolate buttercream, top it with the orange buttercream and grated chocolate and cover the sides with the chocolate buttercream.

    Apparently it’s really popular in Norway. I live in Sweden and I have never heard of it before. SO, thank you 🙂

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