Citrus Sunshine Cake

Citrus Sunshine Cake

We recently celebrated the Summer Solstice, or First Day of Summer, here in the Northern Hemisphere and, for my family, that involves cake. Last year we decorated a store-bought angel food cake with fresh strawberries and hand-dipped beeswax candles. This year we complemented our cake with an orange curd and topped it with candied oranges. We called it our Citrus Sunshine Cake.

Several people have asked for the recipe for this cake, but I’m just sharing the recipes for the curd and the garnish, since we used a white cake box mix. Using the mix kept things simple, but go ahead and bake up whatever cake base you want, or experiment with a different flavor.

Both the curd and the candied oranges can be made in advance, which makes the assembly process quick and easy. 

orange sunshine cake

Orange Curd
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4-6 pieces

Whisk together egg and yolks in a bowl. Set aside. Heat sugar, cornstarch, salt, zest, and juices in a small saucepan and let boil about 1 minute, till the mixture becomes slightly translucent.

Slowly pour approximately 1/4 cup of juice mix into the eggs, whisking continuously. Add the tempered egg mix into the pot, pouring slowing and continuing to whisk vigorously (you don’t want citrus-y scrambled eggs).

Once the eggs have been incorporated thoroughly, continue to whisk, cooking till the mixture has thickened slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the diced butter. 

Pour the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate. You can press a piece of plastic wrap or a silicone lid against the curd to prevent a “skin” from forming across the top. It should keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Candied Oranges
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 10-12 orange slices (about 1/8 inch thick)

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a large pot, then lower the heat. Add the oranges and simmer gently for approximately 45 minutes, turning every 5-10 minutes. Once the oranges are slightly translucent and soft, but still intact, remove the slices to a cooling rack and let them set overnight.

Sprinkle with extra sugar, if desired, to help cut the stickiness. Candied orange slices can be kept refrigerated for about 2-3 weeks.

Assembling the Cake

I kept things simple with the construction of the cake. The curd adds enough flavor and textural contrast to the cake that no icing is needed. I baked the cake mix in a set of mini Wilton pans (they’re linked below, along with the 8″, 4-layer set I want next, as the 5-layer really needs a dowel in the middle). Once the cakes were cooled, I simply spread some of the curd in-between the layers and on the top, then added a few of the candied oranges. Voila! Summery, simple, and scrumptious. 


Do you have a favorite summertime tradition or treat?
I’d love to hear about it.
And please let me know if you try this Citrus Sunshine Cake!

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