Pink Lemonade Cake

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Recipe photo
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Yield: one 8" or 9" round layer cake

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Pink lemonade is a summertime staple for many, and it inspires this cake.

Pink Lemonade Cake

star rating (20) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: one 8" or 9" round layer cake
Published: 01/22/2013

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 3/4 cups (11 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons Cake Enhancer, optional, for freshness and moist texture
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 to 5 drops pink or red food gel or coloring

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder, optional, for stability
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice fruit powder
  • 4 cups glazing or confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
  • *Don't have lemon juice powder? Substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice for the milk.

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8" or 9" round cake pans.

2) To make the cake: Stir together the dry ingredients.

3) Work in the butter until the mixture is evenly crumbly.

4) Beat in the egg whites one at a time followed by the whole egg, beating and scraping the bowl after each addition.

5) Gently beat in the lemon juice; then the milk, in two additions. Stir in the food coloring. Pour the batter into the pans.

6) Bake the cakes for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

7) Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

8) To make the frosting: Beat together the butter, salt, and meringue powder.

9) Add the remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

10) Frost the top of one layer, top with the second layer, and frost the whole cake as desired.

Yield: one 8" or 9" round layer cake.

Reviews

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  • star rating 09/30/2014
  • Pam from Ashburn, VA
  • I baked this cake for a potluck at work. It was dense, dry and tough. A digital scale was used to weigh the flour, and the other measurements were carefully done. It was so bad that my co-workers wouldn't even eat it -- and they'll eat anything resembling food. I'm very disappointed. This was the second time I've baked this cake. The first time came out perfect -- light, tender, and moist. I greased the pans and used parchment paper; no trouble with the cakes turning out of the pans. It was just not very good. What can be done to compensate? The eggs were very fresh, as was the milk, cake flour & baking powder. I'd like to make this again -- the color and taste are so refreshing -- but have it turn out better.
    Sorry to hear that the second batch did not turn out as well as the first. If the ingredients were all fresh, and the recipe has come out well before, it sounds like either an error in measuring, or in method. Give the hotline a call for troubleshooting help. ~ MJ
  • star rating 08/19/2014
  • Diane Powell from Staten Island, NY
  • So, I went into baking this cake with much trepidation. There are several reviews which are very negative, with claims of poor results. I read all the replies to the negative results and followed all recommendations. I even reviewed the recipe for tender white cake. I am meticulous about my measurement also. I believe that can not be my error in execution. Sadly, I am disappointed with my end product as well. The cake is very dense and did not rise as high as pictured. It was a very soft, delicate crumb, but the density ruined it. I believe you need to amend the recipe instructions. My guess is I did not beat the eggs whites long enough, but how long should that be. Thankfully, my cake stayed together, but as one reviewer stated it did look like it could crumble to pieces. As it cooled the surface looked like the dry Serengeti. I would like to attempt this again after I hear back from the experts. BTW, the icing was delicious :)
    It may well be that the cake batter could have used a little more beating after the addition of each egg. The technique for putting the Pink Lemonade Cake together is the same as for our Tender White Cake. Please take a look at the blog for the Tender White Cake. MaryJane took some wonderful photos of the batter and you can see just how light the batter is after beating in the eggs.~Jaydl@KAF
  • star rating 07/05/2014
  • DonChaCha from KAF Community
  • I made this cake yesterday for our Fourth of July dinner party. But I made it in a 9x13 pan. After reading all the reviews I followed the recipe ingredient-wise but followed the instructions for your Tender White cake, such as beating for two minutes after adding each egg white, etc.. I also combined the lemon juice, milk and food coloring, adding it by thirds. I had made the Tender White cake before for my son's birthday and it was spectacular. This cake has a very fine texture with tiny, moist crumb and a subtle lemon flavor. Delicious. It's even better today. I made the frosting w/o the meringue powder (none in house) and added zest from two lemons as I wanted a stronger lemony flavor. Finally, since I was adapting the cake to the 9x13 pan I contacted a KAF baker to ask how long to bake it. She said to start testing at 20 minutes. Just so you (and she) know the cake -- in a 9x13 aluminum pan -- took 40 minutes to reach temperature. By the way, I posted a pic on FB and already had a request for the recipe. You're welcome. ;-)
    Thanks so much for your generous comments and your FB post! And we will take note of your 9X13 baking time. Barb@KAF
  • 07/04/2014
  • CLKrause from KAF Community
  • I'm in the process of making this cake, and forgot to order that lemon powder from KA. Can I substitute unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid instead?
    I think that would give you a very different flavor, but it might work. For best results I would substitute lemon juice for the milk content in the frosting. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 01/07/2014
  • Mary Jo Iverson from Saint Paul, MN
  • I made this cake for my 4 year old Granddaughter's birthday and she said it was the best cake she ever tasted. The adults at the party loved it, even though it is pretty sweet. Yes, I definitely will bake this again as has been voted a family favorite.
  • star rating 09/01/2013
  • Rachael from California
  • I've now attempted to make this cake twice, triple checking the directions and following them to the letter. Both times the cake mixed up and rose beautifully. However, when I removed the cake from the pans it crumbled to pieces on the cooling rack. The crumbs taste great, but I would rather have a cake I can frost and slice.
    Hmm, it sounds like there may have been an ingredient or measurement issue in this case. Please call our Baker's Hotline so we can troubleshoot with you!-Jon 855 371 2253
  • star rating 08/09/2013
  • Alison from Ohio
  • This cake was totally inedible. I followed the instructions exactly, and it was tough, gummy, and rubbery vi am extremely dissapointed!
    Next time try leaving out the cake enhancer and increasing the flour by 1/4 cup. This can be very helpful when making this cake especially in the summer. BR@KAF
  • star rating 08/06/2013
  • Sandi from Arlington, VA
  • I tried this twice....folllowing all the instructions + checking what was in the blog post ...cake did not rise very much..cracked and dense....fell apart when transferring to try to frost.
    Please give our Baker's Hotline a call so we can try to troubleshoot your baking problem with you!-Jon 855-371-2253
  • star rating 07/27/2013
  • Rsiegfried from KAF Community
  • This was probably the biggest baking failure for me. I am giving the cake/frosting still the 3 stars for flavor but as for presentation....most likely a 1 star. I followed the directions exactly- checked all the reviews and even went to the referenced recipes to make sure I knew all the tricks but to no avail. the cake mixed up beautifully but when it came time to remove it from the pan trouble ensued. Just lightly greasing the pan is not enough- I recommend flour also or lining the cake pan with parchment paper. I was finally able to move the cake to my cooling rack but when it was time to move it to dish- more problems. The cake literally fell apart on me! The crumb was wonderful, the flavor awesome but it does not resemble a cake anymore. Fortunately my family understood and I know will eat it without issue but I am grateful I was not planning on using this cake for a special occasion today. :(
    Oh no! That certainly is disappointing. This cake is a rendition of our Tender White Cake with some flavor/color adjustments. I highly recommend checking that recipe blog to see how it comes together: the crumbling cake sounds like either a little too much flour (measuring mishap?) or an issue with the mixing--too little and the cake will have trouble staying together; too much and it could be overwhipped and unstable. You can always call our Bakers Hotline to troubleshoot next time: 1-855-371-2253. We are here 7 days a week, 9am to 5pm EST (and until 9pm Monday through Friday). Best, Kim@KAF


  • star rating 07/07/2013
  • Chris from Arroyo Grande, California
  • I made this cake for the 4th of July. At first I thought I made a mistake with the cake because it turned out dense and only about rose to 1 thickness. Not at all like the picture. Figuring it was me, I re-made the cake and it also turned out very dense and didn't rise much higher then the first one. I used all the specifically mentioned king Arthur ingredients from the recipe. So I frosted the second cake and took it to our event and everyone loved the cake and especially the frosting. It was a crowd favorite. Who'd of guessed.
    Chris: this cake is really a slave to the process. If you follow the instructions (and see the photos) for making our Tender White Cake, it's essentially the same process with a bit of extra flavoring and color added in. I recommend taking a peek (and really being sure to whip those eggs in well--the eggs really do create the volume in the final cake)! Kim@KAF


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