Bright, Lemony Sunshine Cake: A Summer Treat

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailNo party is complete without cake, and this delicious Sunshine Cake has been the crowning glory of every Summer Solstice party I’ve ever thrown. Sharon Kebschull Barrett, one of my favorite herbal chefs, developed this recipe for her 1999 book Desserts from an Herb Garden (one of my bibles). Lemony, with a surprising hint of rosemary, this cake just tastes like summer—and the bright yellow color celebrates the sun.


Sunshine Cake 

Serves 12-24 

2 cups bleached all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, minced

1 tablespoon lemon verbena, minced (or lemon zest)

½ cup nonfat or low-fat buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

1¼ cups granulated sugar

¾ cup heavy cream

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon half-and-half or milk

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, rosemary, and lemon verbena; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and vanilla; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on medium speed with sugar until thick; batter should fall in a ribbon when beaters are lifted. Alternately stir in (or use mixer on low speed) flour and buttermilk mixtures, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until combined.

In another bowl with clean beaters, beat cream until stiff peaks form; gently fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake 45 minutes, until the top just springs back when pressed. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn cake out onto rack to cool completely.

Transfer cake to a serving platter. Whisk together confectioner’s sugar, half-and-half and lemon juice; drizzle over cake.

sunshine cake 

Buttermilk-rich and bright with lemon flavor, this cake is the crowning glory of my Summer Solstice parties. Photo by Povy Kendal Atchison