Collaborative Solstice Cake

June 23, 2010 in dessert, Food Porn


We had a little party in the garden to celebrate the summer solstice. It was a quick one because I had to milk the goats right after so that I was not doing that in the dark!

For this party I made the 1-2-3-4 yellow cake in Joy of Cooking and then iced it with royal frosting (didnt want to make a heavy buttercream frosting). I added some Lorann orange oil to the cake and frosting and I think I added too much! Was too intense. I put the recipes for both at the bottom of this post. The decorations on the cake were a collaboration between me and my 6 yo. It is not something Martha Steward would find appealing! She wasnt on the guest list so it was ok with us.

The kids were happy for any sort of party but thought we needed to add more decorations and water gun play and running – all things that are hard to do in my garden but they tried anyways!

2010 Summer Solstice: cakes and craziness ensued

We cut the cake and munched on it in the afternoon light. We talked about what the solstice means and how its the first day of summer and the opposite of the winter solstice.

2010 Summer Solstice: cakes and craziness ensued

A bit of a cake-induce stupor overtook the kids as they munched but then they were back to the usual jumping about.

2010 Summer Solstice: cakes and craziness ensued

My little boy didnt mind the silliness of wearing pink tights – I thought such silly merriment was in order.

1-2-3-4 Yellow Cake (Joy of Cooking, page 938, 1997 ed)

Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Line three 8×2 inch or 9×2 inch round pans (or what ever you want) with parchment on the bottom – butter and flour.

Preheat oven to 350 F.


  • 2 2/3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon, scant cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar


Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt; set aside.

Mix milk and vanilla; set aside.

In a large bowl cream the butter until it lightens. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat to fluffy. Beat in one egg yolk at a time. Add a 1/3 of the flour, mix. Add 1/2 cup milk, mix. Add 1/3 of flour, mix. Add 1/2 cup milk, mix. Add last of flour, mix. Set aside.

Whip the egg whites and cream of tarter to soft peaks. Add the 1/4 cup sugar and whip to stiff peaks.

Add some of the flour/yolk mix to the whites. Add 1/2 of the whites to the remainder of the flour/yolk mixture and fold. Add the rest of the whites and fold gently.

Portion out the batter into your pans and put into the oven immediately.

Bake some 20-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove pans to a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove cakes from pans and cool further. Ice/frost once cake is cool.

I do NOT recommend using royal icing for this cake but will put the recipe here for your edification (winks).

Royal Icing (Joy of Cooking, page 1009, 1979 ed)


  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • more powdered sugar as needed

Mix egg white with 2/3 cup powdered sugar. Microwave about 30 seconds until temp hits 160 F, no higher than 175 F. Mix and then put in mixer bowl. Add 2/3 cup powdered sugar and beat. If its not the consistency you like/need, add more sugar but slowly so you do not make it too dry.

2010 Summer Solstice: cakes and craziness ensued