Let the Sun Shine In

After spending months wrapped in sweaters and blankets, spring brings us the opportunity to truly enjoy the sunshine. Lighter clothing, open windows, and al fresco dining all find their place in our routines when we're halfway through the month of May. And what better way to help celebrate that sunshine than with a light, citrusy cake that bears its name:

This super simple, truly amazing dessert is built on a simple cake mix with some tweaks. Fruit finds its way into both the cake and the topping and the result is a dessert that is bursting with yellows and oranges on your plate. And the taste is simply stunning. I tend to make my cake a little thinner so the topping and cake layers are about the same thickness. Besides, it also allows me to freeze cupcakes and additional topping for another time. Who is going to complain about having a ready-made dessert waiting in the freezer for unexpected company or a lazy afternoon?

There's also a lot to be said for needing a mere seven ingredients to make this dessert. If you plan a little ahead, you can even have all of them on hand most of the time so it could be a matter of just deciding you want this delicious cake at nearly a moment's notice. I tend to start making this one in April or May and will continue to do so until well after the kids head back to school in September. With a recipe this good, why not?

Sunshine Cake

For the Cake:
  • 1 yellow cake mix w/ pudding in the mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges w/ juice
For the Topping:
  • 8 oz. whipped topping
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple w/ juice - chilled
  • 1 package (3 oz.) instant vanilla pudding

To make the cake, beat all of the cake ingredients together & bake in a greased 9 x 13" pan (I used that plus a 12-cup cupcake tin so I could freeze some for later) @ 350° F for 25-30 minutes.

To make the topping, mix the pineapple & pudding together in a large bowl. Fold in the whipped topping — do not beat. Cool the cake before putting on the topping. Put the topping on the cake and refrigerate. Serve chilled. OR keep the topping in a side container & top the cake as you serve it. (I split the topping and froze half of it to serve with the cupcakes.)

  • Yields: 1 large cake plus 12 cupcakes
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour plus chilling time