Every winter of my childhood, my parents and I would bundle up and head over to my Uncle’s house to celebrate his birthday. My memories from those early years are fuzzy, but what I know for sure is that his birthday fell in the third week of January when the ground on the mountain in Tennessee where I grew up was often covered in ice or snow.
The other thing I know for sure is that there was Sunshine Cake, my Aunt Marilyn’s homemade orange cake covered in fluffy white frosting flecked with orange zest that was so bright and refreshing you forgot it was cold outside.
Like most people, I struggle with the dark, gray days of winter. In fact, my need for warmth and sunlight were primary reasons for my move to California twelve years ago (to escape the icy winters of Tennessee) and most recently to Sonoma (to escape the double winters of San Francisco). To combat these winter blues, I've been exploring ways to add a little light and warmth to each day, and needless to say, I keep going back to the Sunshine cake.
Pulling from that special family recipe, my new slow cake release takes its inspiration from sunshine in the form of my favorite California citrus: Meyer lemons (a cross of Mandarin and lemon) and Blood Oranges (because that color screams sunshine).
The cake, Meyer Lemon Sponge, is soaked in Blood Orange simple syrup, and filled with the daintiest Blood Orange curd and mousse. To match the texture of the original cake and add a bit of complexity, the frosting is inflused with Blood Orange reduction and zest, along with a little rose essence for heart day.
My new slow cake release: Sunshine Cake with Rose can be ordered through February for my local Sonoma community, as long as I have Meyers and Blood Oranges on hand. It's made to order and requires one week advance notice.