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.
To keep this cake edible–unless all of the icing is scraped off before serving–edible glitter needs to be used. Edible glitter is made from gum arabic, sanding sugar, or gelatin.
Disco dust, on the other hand, is NOT EDIBLE because it is nothing more than overpriced PLASTIC CRAFT GLITTER.
Rae, Thank you for this clarification. It is such a good, specific point. As you probably know dragées are not considered edible in certain countries either, yet we use them. Gold leaf, which is inert and not a food either, passes through us as does Disco dust. It is non-toxic, yet is not a foodstuff. We would never suggest eating a cupful or even half a cupful! It is widely used in the cake decorating community, although much discussion is happening within that realm as well about whether out should be banned from competitions and such. As you point out, there are products called “edible glitter” which give similar results. All are often sold together in cake decorating stores so it is good to know what one is buying.
Dede, yes, people do continue to use dragees, despite the fact that they contain actual base metals. Those, too, should be removed before something is eaten.
As for gold leaf–REAL gold leaf–gold is an element, highly pure, and it is used medicinally. It is in no way similar to plastic particles which started god knows where as god knows what.
A cake decorator does not KNOW what happens when disco dust–small, sharp, clingy particles–wend their way through the dark, wrinkly recesses of the human alimentary canal.
No amount of deliberately applied plastic “decoration” that cannot be removed before eating is acceptable.
Suppliers and retailers should be better at declaring that disco dust is plastic glitter. Yes, that should give decorators great pause in choosing to sprinkle it on food. Some suppliers have improved their descriptions in the past few years, moving from just “non toxic” to “for decoration only. Not a food stuff”, etc. , but still fall short of declaring that it’s plastic.
Disco dust is for decoration in the same manner that birthday candles, plastic figurines, and ribbons are for decoration. There is no “choice” about eating those.
It’s important for all decorators–both high and low profile–to promote better practices. The simple fact is, it should NOT be “widely used in the cake decorating community”, if it’s going to be used inappropriately.