21 – {Harvey Wallbanger Cake}

I forgot to tell you guys: I turned 21 at the end of March.

Before you even ask: yes. I am still a kid. I know I’ve talked about it before, but it’s a state of mind more than anything. I mean, I’m certainly mature, but I’m young at heart. Is that so hard to believe?

I refer to many people as kids. It’s not an insult – it’s just like girl/guy/man/woman. Whatevs.

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that – not surprisingly – not much has changed from 20 to 21. Except, you know, that now I have a fancy-pants horizontal license instead of a vertical one (is that just a Michigan thing?) and I can get into bars and buy alcohol and stuff.

But, to be completely honest, alcohol has never been foreign to me. Though my parents didn’t encourage guzzling it, they never hesitated to offer me a sip whenever a bottle opened, a can popped or a glass filled. Their actions and example taught me that alcohol was something that needed to be respected and handled with care – not abused.

As such, I’ve never been much of a drinker. Besides the occasional wine cooler, I always thought alcohol tasted gross and I preferred chocolate milk or orange pop anyway. None of my friends drank until I got to college, so I didn’t experience the infectiously curious desire to get drunk until then.

Now, I’m definitely not condoning underage drinking, but I like you guys and want to be honest and admit that I did it. Yeah, I made some bad decisions along the way, but I also had a lot of fun and accept the trials as part of growing up. I discovered early on that going “all-out” isn’t my style, but I do enjoy mixing drinks with friends and quite like a buzz if I’m in the mood for it.

I’m not sure what you guys would have expected from me, but I didn’t go wild and crazy on my 21st birthday. I ate some awesome vegan food with a buddy from Cedar Point, then went to a jazz bar with two friends from high school. I had a couple drinks, kept my pants on and was in bed by 2 AM.

It was tame, but it was fun.

There’s plenty of time for shenanigans and over-indulgence in the future, but for now I’ll just bask in the fact that I can now stuff my baked goods with whichever kind of booze my heart desires – and not feel sketchy posting the recipes on the blog 😉

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

This cake is a new favorite. I hope you’ll like it too! It’s not a traditional take on the retro dessert, but I wanted to try my hand at it. Grandma made it for Christmas last year and I’ve been craving it ever since.

Printable Recipe

Orange and Galliano Cake adapted from Pick Yin (via Smitten Kitchen)

2 c + 1 Tbsp (284 g) cake flour
1/4 c (23 g) powdered milk
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp orange oil (optional)
1 egg
2 yolks
3/4 c (177 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 c (60 ml) Galliano
1/2 c (113 g) butter, room temp
1 c (200 g) sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F and oil and line two 6-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered milk, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, combine the orange juice and galliano. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and orange zest for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the vanilla and orange oil, if using. Scrape down the bowl again and add the egg. Beat about 30 seconds to combine, scrape the bowl, and add the yolks. Beat to combine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix just to combine and add half of the orange juice mixture. Continue adding the dry and wet ingredients in this fashion, ending with dry.

Divide batter evenly between the pans and tap on the counter a few times to eliminate large air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap well and refrigerate until well-chilled.

Mascarpone Cream

1/2 c (4 oz) mascarpone cheese
1/6 c (39 ml) well-chilled heavy cream
1/8 c (25 g) sugar

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat to stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Orange Glaze
This might make more than you need – I can’t remember how much I used!

Freshly squeezed orange juice, from 1 orange
Powdered sugar

Begin whisking powdered sugar into the orange juice. Add enough to form a glaze suitable for pouring. Cover with a wet towel until ready to use.


Orange and Galliano Cake
Mascarpone Cream
Orange Glaze

Divide both layers of cooled cake into two layers horizontally. Place 1/4 of the mascarpone cream on the bottom layer, top with another, and repeat. Use the last 1/4 of mascarpone cream on the top of the cake. Spread the sides with orange glaze and attach sliced almonds, if desired.

Decoration inspired by Photisserie.


  1. Whiskkidmom says

    Oh, my dearest daughter, what does a mom say to your latest post? Thanks for keeping your pants on. Guess I taught you well. 😉 Love you.

    • says

      WKmom, from all I can see and read I think you did an amazing job with your WKid. She never fails to encourage reflection, laughter, anger (not at her, of course) and much, much good eating and baking. <br /><br />Happy belated birthday Kaitlin! You are such a special young lady. I&#39;ve told you in the past that you have an amazing future ahead of you, and, your latest post, makes me that much

  2. says

    Happy belated birthday, Kaitlin! My experience with drinking alcohol is very minimal. I only had the smallest amount of alcohol (Baileys) on my birthday this year, in January, and I recognized it as a privilege. I also haven&#39;t had so much as a drop since. I agree with you about the freedom of being able to use it in recipes now – it&#39;s no longer off limits, to make and/or post. Let alone

  3. says

    Sounds like you had an awesome time turning 21! I can&#39;t imagine waiting that long to drink. It&#39;s silly really. I&#39;m from Canada, and when I was 18 I was able to drive 10 minutes into Quebec (I&#39;m from Ontario and the drinking age is 19) and grab a beer for the beach! It was awesome at the time, and I wasn&#39;t an irresponsible kid. Oh well, at least you have plenty of cakes and

  4. says

    Happy belated birthday! Everyone here in the UK drinks so much that waiting until you&#39;re 21 feels like a grand old age :-) I love this cocktail cake – beautifully simple but can imagine it tastes delicious.

  5. says

    Happy Belated Birthday!! Mascarpone whipped cream is my go too frosting for just about everything, I change up the extracts or liqours, juice for different flavors and it is so easy and delicious..plus waaaay more stable than whipped cream

  6. says

    Happy B-Day!<br /><br />You&#39;ve accomplished so much for 21- totally an old soul. Your blog inspires me and I love your recipes!<br /><br />(P.S. The cake looks great!)

  7. says

    Happy Birthday Kaitlin!!!! Gosh, at 21 I was still eating the dessert &#39;cake&#39; in TV dinners thinking that was actually alright tasting. I&#39;m not proud of this, juuuust sayin&#39;! <br />Your cake looks outstanding, as always! <br />I&#39;m cracking up that your mom applauded you for keeping your pants on.

  8. says

    What a beautiful cake!<br /><br />And happy birthday! 21 is so exciting. I think that when I turned 18, I bought cigarettes, an adult magazine and got a hunting/fishing license. Since I didn&#39;t smoke, thought the adult magazine was gross and don&#39;t hunt or fish, it was a strange combo of things to get. I think I just got them because I could.<br /><br />When I turned 21, I just remember

  9. Anonymous says

    Looks delicious! and Happy Birthday :) Because of the filling (cream and mascarpone) does this cake need to be stored in the fridge?

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