Sunshine Cake

11 years ago, today, I gave birth for the first time. My daughter, Madison, was and is a ray of light. Positive, joyful and full of energy, we nicknamed her ‘Sunshine.’ This cake is my homemade present to her. I used my recipe for the Best Low Sodium Birthday Cake Ever, swapping lemon extract for the vanilla in the cake batter, and adding yellow food coloring to the frosting. Bake the cake in two 8-inch round pans, leaving one intact and cutting the second into 8 equal wedges, as show below. Once assembled, the yellow-tinted frosting gives the cake its sunshiny look and can be decorated whatever way you’d like. For Maddie’s cake I piped on multicolored icing to make a face, but you could use M&Ms or other candies, colored sprinkles or sugar. The beauty of this cake isn’t just in its looks either. As delicious as it is pretty, it’s sure to put the sunshine into any celebration. Many thanks to the cookbook Baking: easy-to-make home bakes for the sun cake inspiration.

Yields 16 servings.

SODIUM CONTENT: 27 mg per serving


1 3/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. (10 2/3 T.) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
2 t. pure lemon extract
3 c. flour
2 1/2 t. Featherweight sodium free baking powder
1 1/2 c. low fat milk

4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. low fat milk
1 t. pure vanilla extract
24 drops yellow food coloring


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out two 8-inch round cake pans. Grease and flour both pans and set aside.

Using a mixer, cream the sugar and butter in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon extract and blend well. Sift together the flour and baking powder in another bowl. Add the flour mixture to the wet batter, about 1/3 at a time, alternating with the milk. Repeat until everything has been added, mixing well.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans. Place on middle rack in oven and bake 30-40 minutes, or until tester inserted into the center of cake comes clean. Remove pans from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Cool fully before carefully running a knife around edges, inverting pans and gently removing cakes.

Before assembling, prepare a base for the cake. I used a large baking sheet covered in aluminum foil.

Leave the one round cake whole and position it in the center of the baking sheet.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the second round cake into 8 equal wedges as shown.

Trim each wedge at the base, so that it fits snugly against the round cake.

Assemble the sun by placing the trimmed wedges around the round cake as shown.

Set the sun aside and prepare the frosting. Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter, and cream together using an electric mixer. Add the milk and vanilla, and beat until smooth. To tint the frosting, add yellow food coloring, one drop at a time, beating and adding more as necessary ( I used 24 drops for the color shown).

Spread a tiny dollop of frosting on the base of each wedge to “glue” it to the round center.  Then gently frost the top and sides of cake, and decorate as desired.


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15 Responses to Sunshine Cake

  1. This is awesome, Dishy –
    my wife would love this too… she’s ‘all about celestial stuff’! 🙂

  2. Christy says:

    Thanks Inky! Now you know what to make her for HER birthday!! 🙂

  3. So cute! And of course I immediately pictured you baking a really huge cake and then cutting chunks out to make the rays and feeding the extras to the dog. This is much smarter, and I’m apparently very uncreative.

  4. Christy says:

    Oh, no way! You obviously have WAY overestimated my skillz. The only time I ever did a “cut out” type cake was for our beloved former dog’s birthday (it was a bone) and by the time I got it to an acceptable bone shape it was so tiny I almost scrapped the whole thing. Thank goodness it tasted good. LOL

  5. MADDIE says:

    Its my b-day!!!! I am hungry now….

  6. OMG, that is ADORABLE Christy! I saw Maddie at the field trip today and wished her a big happy 11th birthday! Happy, happy birthday to her again–isn’t it amazing to think that you gave birth to her that long ago now? xoxo Cindy

  7. Christy says:

    Thanks so much Cindy!! I can’t believe Maddie’s 11 – time truly flies.. I keep telling myself she’s aging, but I’m NOT. (in my dreams) Hahahahah


  8. Shambo says:

    Such a cute cake! I bet your daughter was thrilled. I envy you. I don’t do desserts very well at all.

  9. Christy says:

    Shambo, that’s why I posted this — so other people will see how easy it is and try it too!! Maddie was thrilled — actually, we are were – it was delicious! (I cut myself off after 2 pieces. So full..) 🙂

  10. tona says:

    Beautiful!! Happy Birthday, Ms. Maddie!

  11. Christy says:

    Sorry Maddie, your comment got stuck in the spam file!

    Glad you finally got to eat your cake. It was so yummy!!

    Happy Birthday, SUNSHINE!! We love you!

  12. Christy says:

    Thanks Tona — I’ll make sure Maddie sees your comment! XO

  13. such a cute cake!!! i’m sure maddie girl loved it. 🙂 sending her belated wishes for a wonderful 11th year. this cake really looks delish but i’m scared of her bday dinner choice. fish? really? for an 11 year old? where are the chicken nuggets? your kids have more sophisticated palates than me!

  14. Christy says:

    Hah! Madison LOVES salmon (and his interchangeable twin brother, steelhead trout) and she went back for seconds. Me, I’d moved on (at least mentally) to the cake. All-in-all, a delicious birthday meal. But I have a feeling she was most excited about the PRESENTS. Oh yess…

  15. Pingback: The Daily Dish » Blog Archive » Chocolate Stout Cake

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