daily californian logo


My favorite recipes from summer

article image



We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

SEPTEMBER 06, 2023

If you’re all about celebrating summer through your taste buds, stick around. We’re talking about orange carrot cake that’s basically a slice of sunshine on a plate, olive oil muffins that became my mom’s ultimate favorite — a taste of Europe right at our breakfast table — and let’s not forget the peanut butter oat energy balls that kept me fueled for my adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just on the hunt for some culinary inspiration, these three recipes are tailor-made for you. They’re the embodiment of simple and easy — perfect for a casual get-together with friends.

Orange carrot cake recipe

Ingredients for the cake

  •  1 1/4 cups oil of your choice
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • Grated zest of one fresh orange
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

Ingredients for the cream cheese orange frosting:

  • 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract


1) Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.

3) Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Then use a fork to whisk dry ingredients together before turning the mixer to low until blended.

4) Stir in carrots, zest, extracts, and nuts.

5) Divide among prepared cake pans and bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

6) Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream cheese orange frosting

1) Beat cream cheese, butter, zest and extract together until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

2) Frost cake between layers, as well as sides and top. Decorate with chopped toasted pecans if desired and store in the refrigerator.


Olive oil muffins recipe


  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 orange, zested 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plant-based milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 g)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Frosting of choice (lemon frosting or glaze preferred!)
  • Flowers of choice for decorating


1) Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a 12-cup muffin tin. 

2) In a large mixing bowl, add the granulated sugar and the citrus zest. Use your fingers to press and combine the zest and sugar until it feels like sand. Add the olive oil and whisk to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until smooth.

3) Add the yogurt, milk, vanilla, lemon and orange juice. Mix to combine until smooth.

4) Add the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Whisk just until combined.

5) Use a cookie scoop to fill each muffin liner with batter, filling about 3/4 of the way.

6) Bake at 425 F for about 5 minutes, then drop the temperature to 375 F and bake for another 7-10 minutes. Remove muffins as soon as the tops are lightly golden.


Peanut butter oat energy balls recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds 
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2–3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped chocolate chips


1) Combine rolled oats, chia seeds, nut butter, honey and chocolate chips.

2) Add in 2 tablespoons of whatever milk you like and mix. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes to allow oats and chia/flax to absorb some liquid. If the batter is too dry, add in another tablespoon of nondairy milk.

3) Then use your hands to roll it into golf ball sized balls.

4) Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes then move to the refrigerator for long-term storage.


I hope you enjoy these delicious recipes! Whether you’re treating yourself or impressing guests, these recipes will surely fill your life with sweetness! Happy baking and indulging!

Contact Natalie Grover at 


SEPTEMBER 06, 2023