rainbow lamassu cake

rainbow lamassu cake

Happy Pride Month! To celebrate, I baked this rainbow lamassu orange blossom cake for my LGBTQ+ Assyrian family, friends, and readers. May you be loved, accepted, and respected wherever you go, and may you always be free to be your beautiful, wonderful self ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

This recipe is adapted from Quin’s vanilla almond rainbow petal cake—I cut the recipe in half to make it one single layer, subbed orange blossom water in place of the vanilla and almond extracts, and made my favorite cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream. Quin’s recipe is wonderful, and you should check it out and give it a try (especially her beautiful rainbow petal design).

rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake

For anyone who’s interested in replicating this rainbow sprinkle covered white chocolate lamassu, I’ve included instructions and a video in the recipe below. But a small word of warning—this rainbow lamassu takes a lot of patience and care. If you’re the kind of person who likes building ships inside bottles and knitting intricate hats, this is totally up your alley. But if you’re the kind of person who absolutely dreads fiddly tasks, like installing a tiny SIM card, or if you always manage to get the entire bottle of superglue on your fingers instead of on your favorite broken coffee mug, then this project isn’t going to spark joy for you. But covering a cake in rainbow sprinkles is always a hit, so don’t sweat it if you don’t feel like fussing with all that tempering and piping.

rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake

rainbow lamassu orange blossom cake

adapted from Butter Be Ready’s vanilla almond petal cake
yield: 8 servings
active time: 30 minutes (+ an extra 30 minutes active with the rainbow lamassu)
total time: 90 minutes
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the cake

  • 200g all purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)

  • 7g baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 3g salt (1/2 teaspoon)

  • 55g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (4 tablespoons)

  • 55g neutral-flavored oil (1/4 cup)

  • 150g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (110g)

  • 160g buttermilk, room temperature (2/3 cup)

  • 15g orange blossom water (1 tablespoon)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) convection (without convection, it might just take a couple more minutes to bake). Butter an 8-inch cake pan, line it with a parchment round, and then butter the parchment.

  2. Use a mesh sieve to sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set it aside.

  3. Place the butter, oil, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium-high speed with the paddle attachment until it comes together, then beat for another 3 minutes until it lightens a bit.

  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each to incorporate completely before adding the next. Then add the buttermilk and orange blossom water, and beat until combined.

  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix just until it comes together into a smooth batter (don’t overmix it—it’s ok if there are a couple little lumps).

  6. Pour the batter into the cake round. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  7. Trace around the edge of the cake with a thin knife, and then invert onto a cooling rack (flip it one more time, so it’s cooling flat-side-down). Let it cool completely before leveling or frosting.

cream cheese frosting

  • 225g (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

  • 115g butter, softened to room temperature (8 tablespoons)

  • 250g powdered sugar (2 cups)

  • 7g orange blossom water (1 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 1 pinch salt

  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.


  • Cooled cake

  • Cream cheese frosting

  • Rainbow sprinkles

  1. Once the cake cools, carefully shave a little off the top if it has a hump (it’s ok if it has a slight hump).

  2. Evenly frost the cake with the frosting (use a rotating cake tray and offset spatula if you have them).

  3. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles, or try your hand at a rainbow lamassu (below)

rainbow lamassu (optional)

  • White chocolate

  • Tiny round rainbow sprinkles

  • Large circle rainbow sprinkles (optional)

  1. Draw the outline of a lamassu on a piece of paper (look at some photos online, and feel free to just print one if that’s easier). Place the drawing on a small microwave-proof cutting board and masking tape it down so it doesn’t move around. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the drawing, and use about 4 small pieces of masking tape to keep it in place and hold it flat.

  2. Temper some white chocolate (zap it in the microwave 10 seconds at a time, mixing between zaps, until it melts completely). Transfer the white chocolate to a pastry bag (or ziplock bag), and cut a small hole in the tip. Carefully pipe the outline of the lamassu in white chocolate (pipe at a 45 degree angle, rather than pointed directly down, and let the chocolate fall in a line).

  3. Once you’re completely done outlining, cut a larger tip in the bag, and go back and flood the rest of it. It will probably look a little rough and will probably harden a bit as you work—your priority is to stay in the lines and flood it with a somewhat thin layer (about 1/8-inch). Use a small offset spatula to help it spread out if you’re having trouble piping thinly enough.

  4. Once you’re done, place the lamassu back in the microwave just for a few seconds to slightly warm it if it has hardened at all (it takes about 15 seconds in my microwave, so keep a very close eye on it). It should be melted, but still holding its shape. Use a small offset spatula to very carefully smooth out any lumps on the surface, without letting it spill over the sides (make sure it stays in the lines).

  5. Once it’s nicely smoothed out and pretty much level (it doesn’t have to be perfect), top it generously with rainbow sprinkles. Carefully shake the excess sprinkles off the cutting board—tilt the board slightly in different directions to get them to fall off (being careful not to disturb the white chocolate too much—you don’t want it to run).

  6. Use your offset spatula to gently nudge the outline back into shape (some sprinkles will stick to the side of the outline, and you’ll want to nudge those into the chocolate slightly, so that the outline isn’t jagged).

  7. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until it’s completely solid.

  8. Once your cake is frosted, carefully remove the tape from the parchment. Once the parchment is released from the cutting board, carefully lift it away and lift the lamassu away. Place the lamassu in the center of your cake, and optionally decorate the cake with a few large circle sprinkles.

To make this cake ahead:

  • The cake itself can be baked 16 hours ahead and left at room temperature. If you want to bake it a day ahead of time (or longer), wrap it tightly and freeze it as soon as it cools, or it will get stale (it will stale even faster in the refrigerator than at room temperature). Let the cake thaw for a couple hours at room temperature before you’re ready to frost it.

  • Frosting can be made a couple days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, but must be brought to room temperature so that it’s spreadable before you frost the cake.

  • The white chocolate lamassu can be made a couple days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Leave it on the cutting board, and wrap the board with plastic wrap once the chocolate has hardened.

  • Cakes are best assembled and decorated as close to the last minute as possible, because they tend to stale a little in the refrigerator (especially as the butter hardens), but it can be kept in the refrigerator for about 8 hours without much negative effect. Try to let it come to room temperature for about an hour before you serve it.

rainbow lamassu cake

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orange blossom fig cake

orange blossom fig upside down cake

Fig season is a little confusing—there’s always a big rush in June, but then they tend to disappear for a few weeks, only to come back in full swing for the rest of the summer and early fall. Apparently this is because they have two back-to-back fruiting seasons. But I’ve been noticing them popping up in supermarkets this week, so I guess fig season is here, at least for now! The next time you spot them at the market, be sure to grab one or two baskets, so you can make this fabulous fig cake, and have plenty to snack on while you wait for it to bake.

orange blossom fig upside down cake
orange blossom fig upside down cake

While I’m usually a big fan of buttermilk in cakes like this one, I decided to go with plain yogurt here, because I wanted to make this a little easier to throw together using ingredients you probably have around the house on a day that you just happen to find some really delicious figs. Like buttermilk, yogurt gives this cake moisture and a little tang, but unlike buttermilk, it’s probably actually in your fridge right now. I mean, that’s what was in my fridge the day that I brought these beauties home from the fruit market and decided to make this wonderfully syrupy orange blossom fig upside down cake. If you happen to have buttermilk, you can instead use 1/2 cup buttermilk in this recipe (instead of 3/4 cup yogurt).

The only ingredient that’s a little hard to find is orange blossom water, but you can get it at a supermarket with a good international food aisle, just about any Middle Eastern market, and of course online. It’s good to have around for Middle Eastern baking, and I strongly recommend keeping a bottle handy (once you do, you’ll start putting it in everything). If you can’t find orange blossom water, this cake is also wonderful with a few drops of rosewater, which is a little easier to find—in addition to Middle Eastern markets, you can also find rosewater in South Asian markets. If you go with rosewater, be sure to use restraint, as it has a tendency to overpower. Or feel free to omit flower-waters altogether, and let the figs speak for themselves.

orange blossom fig upside down cake
orange blossom fig upside down cake
orange blossom fig upside down cake
orange blossom fig upside down cake

orange blossom fig cake

active time: 20 minutes
total time: 1 hour
download a PDF to print

fig and brown sugar bottom

  • Butter for greasing the pan

  • 57g melted butter (half a stick/4 tablespoons)

  • 100g light brown sugar (1/2 cup)

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 300g small fresh figs (about 10-11 oz)*

  1. Butter one 8-inch round cake pan. Cover the bottom with a parchment round.

  2. Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and salt, and pour it over the parchment-covered cake pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the brown sugar out evenly over the bottom until it's completely covered.

  3. Slice the figs in half. Arrange the figs cut-side-down over the buttery brown sugar.

orange blossom yogurt cake

  • 200g flour (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 5g baking powder (1 1/4 teaspoon)

  • 1.5g baking soda (1/4 teaspoon)

  • 3g salt (1/2 teaspoon)

  • 2 large room temperature eggs (110g)

  • 55g melted and cooled butter (half a stick/4 tablespoons)

  • 150g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)

  • 170g plain yogurt (3/4 cup)**

  • 15g orange blossom water (1 tablespoon)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F convection (177° C).

  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.

  3. Beat the eggs and butter together until they are very well incorporated. Then add the sugar, yogurt, and orange blossom water, and beat to combine well.

  4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture, and stir together just until everything is combined. It won't be completely smooth, and there might be some tiny lumps; this is completely fine. Don’t over-mix!

  5. Carefully pour the batter over the figs, smooth out the top a little bit with a spatula, and bake for about 30 minutes. It's done once you can insert a toothpick into the center and batter doesn't stick to it.

  6. Let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the cake pan. Then trace around the edge with a butter knife to make sure it's loosened from the pan. Place a plate or cake-stand upside-down over the cake. Put on your grippiest oven mitts, and hold the plate and cake together so that your thumbs are underneath the cake pan. Carefully and quickly rotate it away from yourself and give it a quick up-and-down shake to release the cake from the pan. Remove the pan, slice, and serve.

* If you can’t find small figs, you can use larger ones. Just make sure you cut them into about 1/2-inch slices instead of cutting them in half. To get the same look as these photos, slice the figs along their equators instead of stem to end.

** If you have Greek yogurt, you can substitute it here, but make sure you water it down slightly before measuring (using either a little milk or water). It needs to be the approximate consistency of plain, unstrained yogurt (Greek yogurt doesn’t have as much moisture).

orange blossom fig upside down cake
orange blossom fig upside down cake

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