Bursting with lemon flavor, this Pink Lemonade Cake takes your favorite Summer drink from the glass to a plate! Each bite is the perfect combination of sweet, citrusy goodness! If you love this lemon inspired cake, you will definitely love my Strawberry Lemonade Cake, Lemon Layer Cake, Ultimate Lemon Pound Cake and these Lemon Cupcakes with Mojito Frosting!
Growing up, I spent many Summer days in Mississippi visiting with my Big Mama. We spent most of our time in the kitchen baking cakes and whipping frostings. But, while our cakes rose in the oven, we sat out on the porch to escape the kitchen’s heat (not that outside was much better). We’d chat and wish for warm breezes while sipping on ice cold glasses of fresh lemonade. I can still feel the cool condensation dripping over my fingers.
On unbearably hot days, each sip was a Godsend. Big Mama’s lemonade was always well-balanced: sweet and tart. To this day, I still make her recipe on hot days or, just when I miss her the most.
Today, I’m putting a spin on that refreshing, cool lemonade and turning it into the perfect Summer dessert!
What IS LEMONADE CAKE?
I love recipe development; it allows me to be creative and let my imagination run free. I can revisit old classics or discover something new. The kitchen is my playground!
This recipe was one that super fun to play around with! I started with a traditional sheet cake recipe then, tweaked it by adding a pink lemonade concentrate and a few drops of food coloring.
Once baked, I double dipped in the lemonade pool and used the leftover concentrate to whip up a frosting. The result was a moist, delicious cake packed with tart citrus flavor. Every bite reminds me of a refreshingly sweet glass of pink lemonade. So tasty!
HOW TO MAKE PINK LEMONADE CAKE
My goal in developing this recipe was to create a cake that would taste exactly like my favorite glass of pink lemonade. And boy, did I succeed!
Here’s how I made it happen:
Cake flour is a finely milled, delicate flour with a low protein content. When used in baking, it results in a super tender texture with a fine crumb. It’s a perfect choice for a lighter, airer cake like this one.
Unsalted butter gives you complete control of the overall flavor of any recipe. The unsalted butter in this recipe infuses pure, sweet cream flavor while still allowing the lemonade flavoring to shine through.
Frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
Pink lemonade concentrate is made with the same ingredients as traditional lemonade but with added red food dye, strawberry, cranberry or other fruit juice to give it color. Its flavor is sweet, tart and fruity.
A bit of extract enhances the lemonade flavor and layers in extra citrusy lemon flavor.
Pink Food Coloring
In order to mimic the trademark pink coloration of pink lemonade, I chose to add a bit of food coloring. The pop of color really brings this cake to life! Totally optional!
HOW TO STORE A FROSTED CAKE
Frosting serves as a protective barrier for a cake, so there’s no need to wrap or refrigerate. Cover the cake using a cake keeper or an overturned bowl to protect it from anything in the air. Almost any frosted cake can be kept at room temperature for four to five days.
If you’d feel more comfortable refrigerating the cake, or you just prefer cold cake, that’s okay too! Chill the cake uncovered for 15 minutes to harden the icing then, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap.
WHAT ABOUT AFTER I CUT INTO IT?
Once you’ve sliced the cake, moisture will begin to escape and cause the cake to get stale more quickly. I suggest setting aside a bit of extra frosting and using it to cover any exposed sliced edges. Alternatively, you can press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the sliced cake. Make sure it sticks!
After you’ve done that, proceed with covering and storing the cake (see “How to Store a Frosted Cake”). A cut cake will last for a little less time, about three to four days at room temperature.
GRANDBABY CAKES LEMONADE INSPIRED RECIPES
Feeling the heat? Refresh yourself with an ice cold glass of Homemade Lemonade or try out one of my BEST citrus inspired recipes:
Pink Lemonade Cake
For the Cake:
- 2 ½ cups cake flour sifted
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup unsalted butter slightly chilled and cut into slices
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate thawed
- ½ cup milk room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- Pinch salt
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- ¼ cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed 4 tablespoons
- 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- Optional: pink food coloring, straws, and lemon slices
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan then set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, add flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and mix on low speed to combine.
- Next slowly add in butter slices and allow to mix until flour resembles coarse crumbs.
- While butter mixes, in a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, pink lemonade, milk, lemon extract and vanilla extract and set aside.
- With mixer still on low speed, add egg mixture in three batches allowing liquid to combine into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
- If desired, stir in a few drops of pink or red food coloring to create a fun pink color. Spread batter into prepared pan evenly.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs. Cool in pan on a wire rack until room temperature. While cooling, prepare the frosting.
For the Frosting:
- In your stand mixer, add butter and salt at medium low speed.
- Next turn the mixer down to low and slowly add confectioner’s sugar in small portions until all is added then turn the speed to medium high to combine.
- Add lemonade and lemon extract and mix until nice and fluffy. Add in food coloring at this point if desired.