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Its time for another Recipe Round-up and Review!

It all began when the kids and I decided to have a “Birthday Party” for the sun.  In our family’s observance of the Wheel of the Year, Candlemas (Imbolc) is a celebration of the transition from the end of Winter to the start of Spring.  As the kids reckon it, in the cycle of the sun, it marks the the transition of Baby Sun King to the Sun King Kid (sounds like an old Western gunslinger nickname, lol). The day has historically been a celebration of Brigid (first as the Celtic goddess, and later as the Catholic saint), but our familial celebration does not have such a focus.  Instead, we briefly discuss the historical aspect of the day, and try to best honor the season at hand. Serendipitously,  I happened to find a recipe that seemed like it would make a pretty good cake for the Sun…and thus begins the saga of The Cake.

Its not easy to find an orange cake mix, it took me two tries at local grocery stores (and I almost missed it at the second one).  Its even harder to find Galliano.  As the proprietor of one liquor store told me, “We order it in September and hope its all gone by Christmas.  You can’t give the stuff away otherwise.  But I can order it for you.”  When I declined, I told him it was for a recipe to use the next day day and asked if there were any substitutions.  He was kind enough to offer some advice, “Sambuca works for mixed drinks or you can make your own Galliano subsitiute–just Google it.” (thoughtful pause) “You could try a bit of anise extract and vanilla in the recipe, it should get you the same flavor.”

Needless to say, we made a few substitutions…

Sunny Day Cake 

(an almost Harvey Wallbanger Cake)

1 box orange cake mix
1 box vanilla pudding
4 eggs
½ c oil
½ c Galliano 1/2 c water, 1/8 teaspoon anise extract, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tbsp vodka

Combine the above, beat 5 min and bake in greased and floured bunt cake pan—350o for 45 min. Pour glaze on warm cake.

Glaze: 1 c powdered sugar, 1 tbsp orange juice, 1 tbsp Galliano, 1 teaspoon vodka 2 1/2 teaspoons orange juice, yellow and orange food coloring (divide glaze into two, and color one yellow and the other orange, applying yellow glaze and letting it set a bit before adding orange glaze over the top)

In the end, the cake was pretty darn good.  My 13 year old brother rated it as “pretty good” and ate two pieces (according to my mom, this is impressive praise).  And I know for a fact that my kids loved it–they all but inhaled their cake, and have eaten a piece every day since.  Even my mom, who confessed that she had never really liked the cake as a kid thought it was good.  I liked it too, and I’m not normally a fan of fruit flavors in cake or icing.

I don’t have an authentic Harvey Wallbanger cake to compare it to, but I’m willing to bet that my substitutions in the cake lent a more mild anise flavor than the Galliano (mild enough that it just gave the orange a bit more bite, and didn’t really taste anise-y at all).  Overall, it was pretty tasty, and we will definitely be making it again!