When people know you're writing a book about baking, they tend to talk about their favorite cake recipe and often present it, proudly, written on a piece of note paper. I love this tendency; many of these offerings have made it into my book in one way or another. However, more times than not, the recipe isn't the right fit, however delicious it may appear to be.
Today I offer a recipe given to me by a friend's mother, Kay. She claims it is the "best summer cake (and it's not even chocolate!)" and I'm sure she's right. Since it uses a mix as a base, it is not a candidate for the book, and although I can convert recipes that use cake mixes, I already have a vanilla layer cake with fruit. So this one, dear readers, is all yours. Best Summer Cake
Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix (or your own, see instructions)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
5 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablepspoon orange flavoring
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 cups total sliced strawberies, raspberries and blueberries
Bake two 8 or 9-inch cake layers using cake mix, as per instructions, and set out to cool completely. (Alternately, to make your own from scratch, follow any recipe for a vanilla chiffon cake, or yellow layer cake. You can also try this recipe for Orange Chiffon Cake using the cake part of the recipe only.)
Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add confectioners' sugar and orange flavoring and beat until no lumps appear. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture and stir in marmalade.
Spread marmalade mixture on one cake layer. Arrange sliced strawberries, raspberries and blueberries on top, reserving a handful of good-looking berries for garnish. Place second cake layer on top. Spread cream cheese mixture on top and on sides. Refrigerate.
When ready to serve, garnish with remaining berries.