16-19: Midsummer Cake

We’re barely into spring, so what better way to celebrate that than to jump ahead to summer with 16-19: Midsummer Cake? We’ll call it being super proactive–you’re already thinking ahead for summer. Like when you go shopping for spring clothes and the summer stuff is already on the shelves. Look at you being so productive. Such a trendsetter!

There’s no rule saying you HAVE to make this in summer–it could be a great spring dessert as well. In fact, strawberries are generally considered more of a “spring fruit” more so than a summer one (depending on where you live), so maybe we should update this to be a “Spring Cake”? I can’t go with “Mid-Spring Cake” because that sounds like something you make in the middle of a jump.

Adding egg yolks to the frosting makes it essentially a French buttercream. If you want to know more about the 7 (yes, 7!) different kinds of buttercream frosting, read this.

Ingredients. They said to have a premade cake, so I’m going with a clearance rack rainbow confetti mix that is apparently pro-llama. Oranges are from my backyard tree (I think–it’s been a while since I actually made this, but they look like they could be from there) and the tiny mint sprig is from my backyard herb garden. My mint has been struggling the last few years, but with all the rain California has gotten this year, I feel like I’m due for a mint explosion this summer.

Mixing up the cake batter with my old trusty stand mixer. Did I ever tell you that this mixer is older than me? It was a wedding gift given to my parents when they got married, and I inherited it somewhere around 15 years ago when my mom decided she wanted a new one. Still works like a champ, almost 40 years later.

Divided the batter up into two cake pans, since the recipe calls for two layers.

While the cake bakes, I’ll work on my frosting. I’m using plant-based butter for this but it also has eggs, so it’s technically dairy-free but NOT vegan.

Grating/zesting the oranges. Best to do that first, THEN juice them. It’s much harder to do it the other way around.

Cake layers are baked. I’ll shave those peaks off the tops with a long serrated knife prior to using them so that they lay flat.

Whipping the frosting using the balloon whip attachment (as opposed to the paddle attachment you saw me use earlier). I also have a dough hook, but it doesn’t get anywhere as much use as the other ones.

Action shot! You can see the orange zest and juice off to the side, waiting to be added. Easiest to just keep them in the same container when prepping, since it’s all going in at the same time anyway.

Adding in the combined orange zest and juice.

Shaving those peaks. In case you were wondering what to do with the extra cake scraps: eat them. Mystery solved.

Step 3 asks you to toast your sliced almonds. You COULD do it in a skillet as they suggest, OR you could do it the way we did it at the restaurant I worked at: put them on a quarter sheet pan and give them 5-7 minutes in a 350°F oven (give or take on the time based on if you have fans in your oven or not). Giving them a good shake in the middle of the baking time is a good idea as well.

Slicing my strawberries. I did follow their directions for the slicing, but I have a more intricate design idea in mind than “dump them all haphazardly on top of the cake so they all fall off as soon as you cut it”.

Shaved cake layer on one of the only round plates I own.

Building the first layer.

Second layer is on, so now we frost.

Here’s what I did with my strawberries instead–I thought it looked nicer than a big pile.

Final plate, to show you what it looked like as a slice. The confetti cake was probably a weird idea in retrospect (especially for taking pictures of it), but it all worked out in the end. Cake was good and we ate it all over the course of about a week. Happy Spring!

Grade: A-