A Taste of Sunshine: Easy California Cake Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen! Today, I am excited to share with you my California Sunshine Cake recipe. This cake is a perfect dessert for any occasion, from a family gathering to a birthday celebration. The recipe is easy to follow, and the final result is a delicious and moist cake with a burst of citrus flavor that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy.

The California Sunshine Cake is also known as the Pineapple Sunshine Cake or the Orange Sunshine Cake. This vintage recipe has been around for decades and has stood the test of time. The combination of crushed pineapple, orange juice, and orange zest gives this cake a unique and refreshing taste that is perfect for a sunny day.

I have made this cake countless times, and it never fails to impress my guests. The aroma of cinnamon and sugar fills the house while it bakes, making it impossible to resist. I love to serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or cool whip on top, but it’s also delicious on its own.

So, grab your apron, preheat your oven, and let’s get baking! I promise you won’t regret trying this California Sunshine Cake recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

California Sunshine Cake
California Sunshine Cake

If you’re looking for a cake recipe that is perfect for any occasion, then you’re in the right place! My California Sunshine Cake recipe is sure to brighten up your day with its sweet and tangy flavors. Here are a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe:

First of all, this cake is incredibly easy to make. You don’t need any special skills or equipment to whip up this delicious treat. All you need are a few basic ingredients that are probably already in your pantry.

Secondly, this cake is versatile. You can make it for a birthday party, a potluck, or just because you’re in the mood for something sweet. It’s perfect for any occasion, and it’s sure to impress your guests.

Thirdly, this cake is bursting with flavor. The combination of oranges, pineapple, and raisins gives this cake a sweet and tangy taste that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. The cinnamon and sugar topping adds a nice crunch and a hint of warmth to the cake.

Lastly, this cake is perfect for any time of year. Whether you’re enjoying the sunshine in the summer or snuggled up indoors in the winter, this cake is sure to bring a little bit of sunshine to your day.

Overall, my California Sunshine Cake recipe is a must-try. It’s easy to make, versatile, bursting with flavor, and perfect for any time of year. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get baking!

Ingredient List

Let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make this California Sunshine Cake recipe. Don’t worry about anything too fancy or complicated, you probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry already!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 (15 oz) can crushed pineapple
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped oranges
  • 2 tbsp orange zest

Ingredient Notes:

  • Yellow Cake Mix: Use your favorite brand of yellow cake mix. I prefer using a mix that is made with white flour and buttermilk for a lighter, fluffier texture.
  • Crushed Pineapple: Make sure to use a can of crushed pineapple in 100% juice, not syrup.
  • Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed orange juice will give the cake a brighter, more citrusy flavor. However, store-bought orange juice will work just fine too.
  • Raisins: If you aren’t a fan of raisins, you can leave them out or substitute them with chopped nuts or dried cranberries.
  • Oranges: Use any type of oranges you like. I like to use navel oranges for their sweetness and easy-to-peel skin.
  • Orange Zest: This adds a bright, zesty flavor to the cake. Make sure to only zest the orange peel, not the bitter white pith underneath.

The Recipe How-To

Now that we’ve covered all the ingredients, it’s time to dive into the recipe how-to. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.

Step 1: Preheat oven and prepare pan

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare your 9×13 inch baking pan by greasing it with butter or non-stick spray.

Step 2: Mix wet ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of buttermilk, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 4 eggs, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Mix all the ingredients together until they are fully combined.

Step 3: Add dry ingredients

Next, add 3 cups of white flour, 4 tsp of baking soda, and 1 tsp of salt to the mixing bowl. Mix slowly until the dry ingredients are completely integrated with the wet ingredients.

Step 4: Add fruit and spices

Stir in 1 cup of raisins, 1 can of crushed pineapple (20 oz), 1 can of mandarin oranges (11 oz), and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Make sure everything is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Step 5: Bake

Pour the batter into the greased baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

Step 6: Cool and serve

Once the cake is baked, let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve the California Sunshine Cake as is or with your favorite toppings like whipped cream, cool whip, or even orange curd.

Now, you have a slice of sunshine in every bite!

Substitutions and Variations

If you want to get creative with the California Sunshine Cake recipe, there are a few substitutions and variations you can try.

– Flour substitute: For a gluten-free version of this cake, you can use almond flour or coconut flour instead of white flour. Keep in mind that this will change the texture and flavor of the cake slightly.

– Fruit substitute: While oranges are the star of this recipe, you can also swap them out for other citrus fruits like lemons or limes. You can even try using mandarin oranges or grapefruits for a twist on the classic recipe.

– Raisin substitute: If you’re not a fan of raisins, you can leave them out or substitute them with chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts.

– Frosting substitute: The California Sunshine Cake is delicious on its own, but if you want to add some frosting or toppings, you can use whipped cream, cool whip, or even vanilla pudding. You can also make an orange curd to drizzle over the top for an extra burst of citrus flavor.

– Cake mix substitute: If you don’t have a yellow cake mix on hand, you can use a vanilla or even an almond cake mix instead. Just keep in mind that this will change the flavor of the cake slightly.

– Low-fat substitute: If you’re looking to make a lighter version of this cake, you can use low-fat buttermilk and reduce the amount of butter and sugar in the recipe. However, keep in mind that this may affect the texture and flavor of the cake.

Overall, there are plenty of ways to customize the California Sunshine Cake recipe to your liking. Experiment with different fruits, nuts, and frostings to create your own unique version of this classic cake.

Serving and Pairing

This California Sunshine Cake Recipe is a delightful and refreshing dessert that can be served at any occasion. It is perfect for a summer afternoon snack or a sweet treat after dinner.

When it comes to pairing this cake, the options are endless. The sweetness of the cake pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. You can also serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra indulgent treat.

For a healthier option, try pairing the Sunshine Cake with fresh fruit salad or a fruit compote. The tangy and sweet flavors of pineapple, oranges, and raisins in the cake complement the flavors of many fruits.

If you’re looking to add some zest to your dessert, serve the cake with a side of orange curd or lemon zest. The tartness of the citrus will balance the sweetness of the cake and add a burst of flavor.

For a special occasion, you can also serve this cake with a glass of champagne or sparkling wine. The light and fluffy texture of the cake pairs well with the effervescence of the bubbly.

No matter how you choose to serve it, this California Sunshine Cake is sure to brighten up your day with its sunny flavors and delightful texture.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

This California Sunshine Cake Recipe is perfect for making ahead of time. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month. To store, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out.

If you want to reheat the cake, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the cake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it’s warmed through. You can also microwave individual slices for 20-30 seconds to warm them up.

Another great way to serve this cake is by topping it with whipped cream or Cool Whip. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try serving it with orange curd, vanilla pudding, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This cake is perfect for special occasions or just a simple dessert after dinner. It’s sure to bring a little sunshine to your day!

Tips for Perfect Results

When it comes to baking a California Sunshine Cake, there are a few tips and tricks that can help ensure perfect results every time. As a chef, I’ve learned through trial and error, and I’m happy to share my tips with you to make your baking experience a success.

First and foremost, it’s important to follow the recipe closely. Baking is a science, and even the slightest deviation from the recipe can result in a different outcome. Measure your ingredients accurately and follow the steps in order.

When it comes to the ingredients, use high-quality ones whenever possible. Fresh oranges, for example, will provide a brighter and more flavorful zest than packaged ones. Also, be sure to use butter that is softened to room temperature. This will make it easier to cream with the sugar and result in a light and fluffy cake.

Another important tip is to not overmix the batter. Overmixing can cause the cake to be tough and dense. Mix the ingredients just until they are combined, and then stop.

The baking time can also affect the outcome of the cake. Be sure to check the cake’s doneness with a toothpick or cake tester before taking it out of the oven. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake it for a few more minutes until it is fully baked.

Finally, let the cake cool completely before frosting or serving. This will help the flavors to develop and the texture to set. You can even make the cake a day ahead of time and store it in an airtight container at room temperature.

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to baking a perfect California Sunshine Cake every time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with substitutions and variations, but remember to always start with a solid foundation of proper baking techniques.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a cake recipe that will make you feel like you’re basking in the warm California sunshine, then look no further than this California Sunshine Cake recipe. This recipe is easy to follow and yields a deliciously moist and flavorful cake that’s sure to please anyone who tries it. With its perfect combination of orange, pineapple, and cinnamon flavors, this cake is a true crowd-pleaser and a perfect dessert for any occasion.

Whether you’re hosting a summer BBQ, a birthday party, or just want to treat yourself to a delicious dessert, this California Sunshine Cake recipe is sure to make a lasting impression. So why not give it a try and experience the taste of sunshine for yourself? I guarantee that once you taste this cake, you’ll be hooked and will want to make it again and again. So go ahead and whip up a batch of this cake today and enjoy the delicious taste of California sunshine in every bite!

California Sunshine Cake Recipe

Much like the Orange Kiss-Me Cake, this recipe uses an entire orange, raisins and walnuts. I like to substitute hazelnuts. Recipe can be halved for an 8" X 8" cake. Check for doneness at about 35 min. for smaller cake. I use organic oranges and wash them thoroughly.

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (do NOT use low fat margarines)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups white flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Juice the oranges, reserving juice for topping.
  2. Put the orange rind, the raisins and the nuts through the medium blade of a meat grinder (or process with steel blade in food processor until a coarse grind is achieved).
  3. Combine butter and sugar in mixer bowl and beat together until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating until completely incorporated.
  5. Combine salt, flour and baking soda and sift together.
  6. Add flour and buttermilk alternately in 3 portions, mixing on low after each addition.
  7. Fold in orange, raisin, nut mixture until completely combined.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9" X 13" pan or a bundt pan.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.
  10. While cake is still hot, pierce all over with a fork.
  11. Mix orange juice, sugar and cinnamon and carefully pour mixture over cake. (This is harder on the bundt cake — be patient).
  12. When cake has cooled, remove from pan.
  13. Refrigerate leftover cake.
< 4 Hours, Citrus, Dessert, For Large Groups, Fruit, Healthy, Oranges, Potluck, Small Appliance

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