I grew up going to church. Every Sunday at 7:30 am, I pulled on my pink or purple dress—both patterned with pastel flowers—and buckled my shiny white heels. Around 8 am, Mom hustled everyone into the car to drive across town, and we slipped into the sanctuary right as the organist began playing the prelude.
As a five-year-old, I thought church was all about mornings filled with coloring pages, singing songs, and donut holes, so it completely shocked me one day when Mom mentioned we’d return in the evening. Upon seeing my eyebrows draw together in confusion, she explained that the church was hosting a fundraiser party on the Sunday before Halloween and invited the congregation to come dressed in costume.
I wanted to be a witch for the second year in a row, and as my black dress still fit, Mom dug out the pointy hat (my favorite part!) from the hall coat closet. I slid on my black tap shoes from dance class, and my brother and I grabbed our orange plastic jack-o-lantern treat buckets for good measure.
At the party, we played the beanbag toss, throwing the lopsided little things through a ghost’s mouth and eye sockets, and other adults passed out candy every time we smiled sweetly and chirped, “Trick or treat!” But I completely forgot about everything else—the spiders, the chocolates, even my point black hat—the moment I spotted the cakewalk. I had to win one!
Mom paid for a ticket, and I bounded over to stand on a circle. When enough princesses and pumpkins and other costume-clad kids entered too, the music started and I hopped from number to number, praying the whole time I’d land on the lucky one.
I’m sure you can guess what happened… I lost, I cried, I begged to try again. But too close to bedtime (hence all the tears), Mom gathered us up to leave and promised us a chocolate chip cookie at home.
And now here I am, a fully-fledged adult, still sad I didn’t get a cake! Yesterday, I decided enough was enough and baked my own, all while dancing in circles around the kitchen to pretend I finally won the game.
With a prize as cute as this Citrus Candy Corn Bundt Cake, wouldn’t you?
The instructions below may sound a little complicated, but I promise this recipe is really simple! You just do the same thing three times—once for the white layer, once for the lemon layer, and once for the orange layer.
To start, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and zest (for the citrus flavors). Because zest is slightly damp, it tends to clump, so whisk long enough to get rid of any lumps or bumps.
Next, cream the butter and sugar. To measure the butter, cut 2 tablespoons from the stick, and slice that chunk into thirds. No need to cram the butter into a measuring teaspoon! Stir in the vanilla, skim milk (to keep it healthier!), and/or fruit juice, depending on the layer.
Before mixing the dry ingredients into the wet, beat both egg whites to stiff peaks in the same bowl. They’ll grow 5-6 times in size, which makes them a lot easier to divide into thirds! (Just like the butter.) Beating the egg whites helps make the cake texture lighter with a finer crumb.
Now stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, stopping just before they’re fully incorporated. Without the egg whites, there isn’t enough liquid to mix in all of the flour. If you tried, the cake would turn gummy from overdeveloping the gluten strands.
Finally, gently fold in the egg whites (the equivalent of 2/3 an egg into each layer) with a spatula, and spread the batters into the bundt pan to bake.
Because of the bundt pan’s shape, each slice of cake actually looks like an oversized piece of candy corn! Just with slightly rounded edges. And the bright citrus flavors taste lots better too… None of the chalkiness of normal candy corn!
This Candy Corn Bundt Cake turned out much better than the store-bought ones offered as prizes at that church Halloween party. Despite all my tears, it was definitely worth the wait. Between my guy and me, we polished off the entire cake in only 2 days!