Sunshine Cake

Total Time

Prep: 1 hour + chilling Bake: 25 min. + cooling


16 servings

Updated: Apr. 24, 2022
I took this cake to the county fair for 4-H and easily brought home a purple ribbon. For a quicker lemon filling, use a cup of lemon curd from a jar. —Leah Will, Bel Aire, Kansas


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom of a greased 15x10x1-in. jelly-roll pan with parchment; grease paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Trim edges of cake; cut crosswise into thirds. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with half 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.