March 19, 2018

MORE SUN = MORE FUN! We created this lemony YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE CAKE with GOLDEN RAYS crafted from Jolly Rancher Hard Candy in honor of the EQUINOX (March 20th!) You can use almost any brand hard fruit candy to make the rays, just be sure it is clear so the sun comes shining through! To give the frosting a SUNNY GLOW we painted it with a wash made from lemon extract. The rich color appears to SHINE from the inside! Here’s how we made it:


1 lemon cake mix baked in a 9-inch springform (or deep round) pan

1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting

Yellow food coloring(McCormick)

For the rays:

30 yellow and a mix of 25 red, orange, and yellow hard candies (Jolly Ranchers Hard Candy or store brand)

Vegetable cooking spray

For the vodka paint:

Yellow and red food coloring(McCormick)

1 tablespoon lemon extract (McCormick)

  1. Cut the cake in half crosswise to make 2 semi circles. Spread some of the vanilla frosting on the flat side of one half and sandwich together with the other half. Place the cake, cut side down, on a cardboard cut to fit. Give the entire cake a light skim coat of vanilla frosting and freeze the cake for 30 minutes to set. Tint the remaining vanilla frosting yellow with the food coloring (frosting does not need to be a saturated yellow because the vodka paint will make the color more vibrant) and cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line several cookie sheets with foil. Place the unwrapped hard yellow candies in a zip top bag and use a small hammer or the back of a saucepan to break the candies into small pieces. Sprinkle the candy pieces in an even layer on the prepared cookie sheets. Spray a long smooth-bladed knife with cooking spray. Bake one cookie sheet at a time until the candies are just melted into a smooth pool. Transfer the cookie sheet to a wire rack. Immediately, using the sprayed knife blade, press the blade into the softened candy to score it with  long triangles roughly 2 inches wide by 5 inches long. (If the blade gets sticky quickly clean it, spray it again, and continue scoring the candy. If the candy hardens before it is all scored save the un-scored candy to reuse.) Let the scored candy stand until the candy has completely cooled, about 10 minutes. Carefully break apart the triangles, reserving any extra pieces to break up and melt into another sheet of candy. (You will need about 10 large yellow triangles.) Repeat with the mix of red, orange, and yellow candies to make 9 smaller triangles roughly 1-1/2 inch wide by 4 inches long. To get a stained glass effect, mix the crushed red, orange, and yellow candies together in a sheet.
  3. Spread an even layer of yellow frosting over the cake and make smooth. Return the cake to the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. Tint the vodka with the yellow and red food coloring to make a rich yellow color. Use a 1-inch pastry brush to coat the chilled cake with the vodka paint in overlapping horizontal strokes on the front and back and in long smooth strokes around the sides. Continue brushing to smooth any ridges in the chilled frosting and to intensify and vary the color at the edges.
  4. Using a small knife to make slits for insertion, insert the rays of sunshine into the curved side of the cake, placing them on a slight diagonal and alternating long and small triangles evenly spaced from one side to the other.


Makes 12 servings

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Happy decorating, Sunshine!

Alan and Karen

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