Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seeing Pink

 For a Mother's Day luncheon with my sisters, I was tasked with bringing the dessert, and asked for a cake. This could have presented a problem, since some in my family don't like chocolate, some don't like banana, some eschew walnuts. Which meant that my down-pat, go-to cakes were off the table.

 This the cake I made--

I saw it on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and couldn't resist, especially after reading the words "Pink Lemonade Cake." I love lemon, and I knew everyone else would too. It was pretty, with four layers comprised of two different shades of pink, inside.

 What I didn't realize was that this beauty would call for a full 2 pounds of butter, most of which went into the frosting, along with 32 ounces of-- wait for it-- Marshmallow Fluff.

I'm serious.

And you know what? It was delicious, and not difficult, with a stand mixer to help. If you make the frosting on one day, and then the cake the next, you won't even have to handwash the mixer parts in between, as I did, you can throw them in the dishwasher instead.  Just make sure you take the frosting out for an hour before using, to soften. 

For once, I followed the recipe almost exactly; I didn't rush out and replace my lovely coloring gels with liquid red food coloring, and neither should you-- just tint carefully, and make sure the second panful of batter is a slightly deeper pink than the first.

Never having made buttercream without real butter, I can't say how this frosting recipe would turn out using margarine-- but the cake could easily accomodate oil instead of butter, using the same amount of fat (1 Cup). 

This is what the cake looks like inside:

And here is the recipe, perfect for a special day when you don't mind throwing your calorie counter out the window. Hey, my younger sister eats gluten-free and dairy-free, and she had a small piece anyway-- and said it was worth it.

Pink Lemonade Cake

 Makes: 18 servings (from BH&G, May 2012)

Prep: 1 hr Bake: 350°F 35 mins to 40 mins Cool: 1 hr


1 cup butter (2 sticks)

4 eggs

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

Red food coloring

1 1/3 cups milk

1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

1 recipe Lemonade Butter Frosting


1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease two 9x2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment; grease paper. Flour pans, tapping to remove excess; set aside. In medium bowl stir together 3-1/3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In an extra-large mixing bowl beat butter with mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium until well combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat 2 minutes more. Add 1/8 tsp. red food coloring; beat to combine. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. In bowl stir together milk, lemonade concentrate, and extract (mixture will look curdled). Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to butter mixture, beating on low after each addition just until combined. Remove half (4 cups) the batter; spread in one pan. In remaining batter, stir 1/4 tsp. red food coloring. Spread in second pan.

4. Bake about 35 minutes, until tops spring back when lightly touched. Meanwhile, prepare Lemonade Butter Frosting.

5. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans; peel off waxed paper. Cool completely on wire racks. Trim off domed tops of layers so cake will stand flat. Cut each layer horizontally in half, making four layers. Brush crumbs from layers.

6. Place one dark pink layer, cut-side down, on a plate. Spread 1 cup frosting just to edges. Top with a light pink layer, followed by second dark pink layer, spreading frosting on each just to edges. Stack final light pink layer, cut-side down. Spread frosting on top and sides as desired.

From the Test Kitchen

•Tip Evenly color layers: To incorporate food coloring evenly in batter, add the first portion of food coloring to butter and sugar mixture before adding eggs.

•Tip Lemon Garnish: Thinly slice lemons and remove seeds. Coat with sugar then arrange on cake just before serving.

Lemonade Buttercream Frosting

Yield: about 6 cups


3 cups(6 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 16-oz jars marshmallow creme*

1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons pure lemon extract


1. In very large mixing bowl beat softened butter with mixer on medium for 30 seconds, until light and fluffy. Add marshmallow creme and lemonade concentrate. Beat until smooth, scraping sides of bowl. Add powdered sugar and extract; beat until light and fluffy. (If frosting is stiff, soften in microwave no more than 10 seconds, then beat until smooth.)

2. Frost Pink Lemonade Cake. To store frosting, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before frosting cake. Makes 6 cups.

From the Test Kitchen•Tip Room-temperature butter ensures that the frosting will be creamy and spreadable.
•Tip * If only 13-oz. jars are available, add 6 oz. (1-1/2 cup) marshmallow creme.

Nutrition Facts (Pink Lemonade Cake)

Servings Per Recipe: 18***

***note-- you can't get 18 pieces by cutting the cake into large wedges-- which you won't need anyway, since the topping is so rich and the cake so satisfying. What you do is cut the top two layers into smaller squares, and so on. I used my old Betty Crocker cookbook for guidance, and still didn't make that many slices, but it is a large cake! If I can find an online source for this method, I'll post it here later.

 Peace, Mari 


  1. What a darling cake! I could make this for my daughter's birthday this October, she'd love it!

    1. It tastes as pretty as it looks, too.

  2. HH - could I make this the day before and bring it to room temp the day of?


    1. Sally;

      Certainly-- I did, though I frosted the layers day of. They were more than moist enough to rest, covered, overnight.

      You can even make the frosting a month ahead and freeze it-- it may need a whiz in the mixer first to soften.

      But you can make the whole thing a day ahead, cover and refrigerate; then let it sit at room temp about 30 minutes or so (can be longer if it's not perilously hot) before serving. Just make certain those layers are fully cool before frosting!