Joy’s Birthday Cake (Happy Birthday, Joy!)



Today is Joy’s birthday. Happy Birthday, JOY!

Joy and I have been friends since 1986. Wow, 26 years! How did that happen? Time flies.

I feel very fortunate to have such a close friend living nearby. A sister, really, more than a friend. When we met in college, I would never have guessed that Joy and I would end up practically neighbors here in West Seattle. She came to W.S.U. from Illinois and I came from California. I don’t think either of us planned on staying in Washington, but here we both are, 26 years later, 100% Washingtonian, living just 10 minutes away from each other, having a blast collaborating on A Passionate Plate, and we are still posing for photos in matching outfits.

Happy Birthday, Joy! I’m wishing you the very best year filled with everything delicious!


Lemon Layer Cake with Fresh Fruit & Cream
Recipe Type: Dessert, Cake
Author: A Passionate Plate
Serves: 8
Moist, lemony cake layered with fresh berries and sweetened whipped cream. A yellow cake mix saves time and a simple lemon syrup adds extra lemon flavor.
  • 1 package yellow cake mix (plus eggs, oil & water according to package)
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 16 oz. fresh strawberries
  • 8 oz. fresh raspberries
  • 8 oz. fresh blueberries
  2. Prepare the yellow cake mix according to package directions, with one addition – add the zest from one lemon to the batter.
  3. Pour prepared batter into 2 – 9″ round cake pans and bake according to package directions. Let cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a baking rack to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, place 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook the mixture down until it reduces by half and forms a simple syrup, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat to cool. Stir in the lemon juice.
  7. Gently rinse and dry the strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Set aside a few of each for garnishing the top of the cake. Hull and slice the remaining strawberries, then gently toss the fruit in a bowl with 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Set aside.
  9. When the cakes have completely cooled, slice each in half to form two round pieces.
  10. Using a pastry brush, soak each piece of cake with the syrup. (You may not need all of the syrup – be careful not to oversoak the cake or it will become soggy).
  12. Place the whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whisk. Beat the cream on low until it begins to thicken, then turn up the speed to medium high. Continue mixing until soft peaks begin to form. Stop the mixer and add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue mixing until thick peaks form. (Slow down the mixer’s speed towards the end to keep a close eye on things – over mixed cream will loose volume and eventually turn into butter).
  14. Place one layer of cake on a plate, cut side up. Generously spread whipped cream over the top and then lay down 1/3 of the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Repeat the process two more times – cake, whipped cream, fruit. Place the final layer of cake on top – this time, cut side down. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream and garnish with additional strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, if desired.
  15. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 6 hours.



  1. […] made me this beautiful and delicious birthday cake for my special day, and I had hoped to return the favor. But, […]

  2. Marilyn Gordon says:

    Happy Delicious Birthday Joy from Marvs sister in Ohio!

  3. Charlene says:

    Happy Birthday Joy!

  4. Dorothy Fairman says:

    Happy Birthday, dear daughter! Yes, you two are beautiful, and I’ve always said, “you look like sisters!” So sweet of you, Mary, to make the beautiful cake for Joy 🙂 I’m sure it tasted yummy, too!!! Blessings on your precious friendship. Love Mom

  5. I love berries! This is such a fresh dessert for summer.

    • MaryMiller says:

      Carrie, I totally agree! It was hard for me to not eat all of the strawberries while I was making this cake. 🙂 I think it would be a great dessert for the 4th of July as well.

  6. Jim says:

    The cake looks delicious, but the best part of this blog is the photo’s. You two have “aged” so nicely. You’re lookin’ good, even after all the years and the likely trials and tribulations that we all go through as the years pass. Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work.

    Jim Oswald

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