Pretty and Pink, Sweet & Tart Lemonade Cake
Frozen lemonade concentrate is a great ingredient when you want a pronounced lemonade flavor and it is put to good use here in both the tender cake and sweet frosting. Lemonade cake is not new, and it is a great addition to your repertoire for special occasion cakes when you want to go beyond yellow, white and chocolate.
You can make this in round layer cake pans or make it into a small sheet cake – great for bake sales. The pink swirl is optional; feel free to keep this as a “yellow” lemonade cake if you prefer.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup low-fat or nonfat buttermilk, at room temperature
- ¼ cup defrosted frozen lemonade concentrate
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (LINK)
- Pink gel color (optional)
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 6¾ cups confectioner’s sugar, whisked before measuring (plus extra as needed)
- ⅓ cup defrosted frozen lemonade concentrate (plus extra as needed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pink Disco Dust (optional)
- For the Cake: Position the rack in the center of your oven. Preheat to 350˚ F. Coat the insides of two 8-inch by 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment. (Or coat the inside of 9-inch by 13-inch pan, line bottom with parchment, then spray parchment.)
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to combine and aerate; set aside. Whisk together the buttermilk and lemonade concentrate; set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Beat in zest. Add the flour mixture in four additions, alternating with the liquid mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth. Divide the batter in half and tint half of it with pink coloring, if you like. Add batter to pans (or pan) in alternating scoops of colored batter using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, then use a butter knife to gently swirl by drawing the knife through the batter; do not over swirl or you will lose the pattern.
- Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes for the 8-inch rounds (30 to 35 minutes for the 9 by 13-inch pan) or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs. The cake will have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place directly on rack to cool completely. The cake is now ready to fill and frost. Alternatively, place layers on cardboard rounds and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within 24 hours. (If you are baking the 9 by 13-inch cake a day ahead, simply leave in the pan, cover with plastic wrap once it has cooled completely and store at room temperature overnight before frosting.)
- For the Frosting: In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add remaining sugar, defrosted lemonade and vanilla and beat on high speed until silky smooth. Add more confectioners’ sugar if it is to thin or more lemonade if it is too thick.
- Fill and frost the two round layers or just the tops and sides of the 9x13. Use a spoon or icing spatula to make simple attractive swirls. Decorate with Disco Dust if you want some sparkle. Cake may be served immediately or store at room temperature under a cake dome for up to one day.
- You may use two 9-inch round pans in lieu of the 8-inch but your cake will be shorter top to bottom.