A cake after a citrus lover's heart: tastes like a tart Orange Julius shake, is covered in a double vanilla buttercream. This lemon orange cake can be made as a layer cake or in a sheet pan and becomes the perfect canvas for creative freedom.
This cake is mostly about the orange – lots of zest and juice bump up the flavor, and the vanilla really accentuates. I use two types of vanilla, because I find that the combination with orange results in a sweet yet complex taste. I added some lemon zest to round out all the sweetness. For the topping, you can do just vanilla buttercream and some beautiful swirls or you can mix up some colors and pipe something that speaks to your own inner child.
To make the cake I use a reverse creaming method: the flour is coated in butter and sugar before the eggs go in. This leads to a very tight, tender crumb which works perfectly here. Be sure to scrape down the bowl a lot, with the reverse cream method it’s easy to get bits of unmixed batter.
I can see this being the kind of cake you prep up to the point of the white background, and then handover to your little ones to have fun with and draw their own creative scene. When she’s old enough to handle a piping bag without squirting it backwards, I’m going to make her loads of sunshine cakes for her to decorate. And until her artistic abilities become more sophisticated, we know every cake will at least taste amazing =)
Two eight inch cake pans (3″ tall) or three 6″ cake pans will work. Bake them at 325 F so they don’t dome too much and if they do, just use a bread knife to slice off the ‘hat’.
I use two types of vanilla in this cake and buttercream because there is something wonderful about the combination – you get the intensity of pure and the sweetness of imitation. If you only have one, double it.
To decorate as shown, once cake is cool, make buttercream. Have six bowls ready, in three of them place 2 tablespoons buttercream, in the other three bowls place 4 tablespoons in each of buttercream. For the pink, blue and purple you’ll only need 2 tablespoons buttercream so color them in the corresponding bowls. You’ll want more for the orange, yellow and green because you’ll use them on the sun and grass. Place all the colors in piping bags. For the rainbow, I piped each color in an arc shape and then once the rainbow is done I smoothed it over with a small offset spatula. The flowers are edible chamomiles.
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