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Sunshine Cake

I brought this cake to the county fair for 4-H and easily took home a purple ribbon. For a quicker lemon filling, use a cup of lemon curd from a jar.— Leah Will, Bel Aire, Kansas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1 hour + chilling Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons each grated lemon, orange and lime zest
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • Dash salt
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring
  • 1 drop red food coloring
  • Assorted lollipops, unwrapped


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom of a greased 15x10x1-in. jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; grease paper.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and citrus zest. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  • Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack; remove paper. Cool completely.
  • For filling, in a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter. Gently stir in lemon juice. Press plastic wrap onto surface of filling; cool slightly. Refrigerate until cold.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Beat in confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, orange juice, vanilla, orange zest and salt until smooth. Tint orange with yellow and red food coloring.
  • Trim edges of cake; cut crosswise into thirds. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with half of the filling. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with frosting. Insert lollipops in top for flowers. Refrigerate leftovers.
To make a Window Box Cake: For window box, press 28 cream-filled wafer cookies against sides of cake. Tie two shoestring licorice together to make longer strands. Wrap and tie strands around window box. For flowers, cut Fruit Roll-Ups with flower-shaped cutters. Sandwich two cutouts around each unwrapped small lollipop, moistening edges with water. For stems and leaves, insert drinking straws in cake. Top with lollipop flowers. Cut leaves from green licorice twists and insert in cake. See how to decorate window box >
Nutrition Facts
1 piece (calculated without lollipops): 533 calories, 22g fat (12g saturated fat), 129mg cholesterol, 394mg sodium, 82g carbohydrate (58g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.

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  • Mcoleburn
    Jul 4, 2013

    Beautiful and easy to make. I have a really hard time seating with my zester. Any ideas?

  • Hanesmom
    Jun 30, 2013

    No comment left

  • dogcat_8
    May 12, 2013

    I made this cake for Mother's Day. It was a very time consuming cake with more work needed for the decorations. The end result was a pretty cake that my family loved, but the cake itself was not worth the effort. After overnight refrigeration, the cake was very dense and dry despite the filling. The vanilla sugar wafers pulled off all the icing on the sides of the cake, so other than the top, the cake had little icing. My family was racing for the refrigerator for a glass of milk. I will not be making this recipe again. Other than the appearance, the cake didn't have the wow factor I was looking for. It was dense and dry and not worth the work.

  • nmoore82
    Mar 25, 2013

    No comment left

  • aug2295
    Mar 23, 2013

    Tasty and fun to make. I used a 9x13 pan and cut it in half to make two layers. My kids had a lot of fun making the flowers. We added peeps on top to play on the spring theme.