If you grew up in the South as I did, then this classic pink lemonade cake with whipped icing is a familiar sight. There is something special about the bright pink cake with a lovely whipped cream icing that reminds me of church potlucks as a child.
Pink Lemonade Cake
Cake is always a hit in our house. With teenage boys in my life, trust me when I say, this disappears in no time. While I love the sweet and slightly tart flavor of the pink lemonade, kids will also love the bright pink color when they cut it into the cake.
This recipe takes just a bit of time to prepare and is sure to become a favorite on your dessert menu. You can whip it up in under an hour and have it ready to serve after dinner to surprise your kids. It's a perfect weeknight dessert, but also ideal for serving at parties or potlucks.
What is the Pink in Pink Lemonade?
There is no single way that lemonade turns pink. You may find lemonade with a bit of cranberry juice, raspberry juice, crushed strawberries, or very simple a bit of red food dye. Most of the time pink lemonade will simply be dyed that color, but that doesn't mean yours won't have another bit of juice involved.
When using pink lemonade frozen concentrate in this recipe, you are likely using a lemonade base with a bit of food dye. If you don't like the idea of adding dye to your cake, you can use a basic lemonade concentrate and mix in a bit of crushed berries to add color.
What Icings Go On Lemonade Cake?
I love the lightness of whipped topping or my homemade whipped cream icing. You may prefer a basic buttercream, cream cheese icing, or even a simple powdered sugar glaze. I've even spread a thin layer of strawberry jam on top of the cake and then topped it with whipped cream.
Vanilla, lemon, strawberry, or cream cheese icing pair best with this cake recipe. You don't have to be fancy with the icing, but it does add a barrier to the cake to help keep it moist for longer.
Does This Need to Be Refrigerated?
While the cake itself does not need to be refrigerated, you will be using a whipped cream topping and that requires refrigeration. After serving, cover tightly with plastic wrap or place in a cake pan with a lid, then refrigerate for up to 4 days.
If you think you will have extra leftovers, you can portion the cake before icing and freeze the cake without icing for up to 4 months. To thaw heat in 30-second increments in the microwave or simply leave in the refrigerator overnight. Then you can ice when desired upon serving.
If you prefer to use a basic container of icing from the grocery store, you do not have to refrigerate the cake. It will last 2 days covered on the counter and not refrigerated.
Do I Have to Use Cake Flour?
You do not have to use cake flour. If you choose not to or don't have access to cake flour, a good all-purpose flour works fine. The difference will be a lighter cake when using cake flour. It has a lower percentage of protein and thus develops less gluten when mixed. Both options turn out fantastic, but cake flour works just a bit better for a light cake.
Tips for Keeping Cake Moist
This cake recipe is fairly moist as shown, but one of my favorite ways to make a cake a bit moister is to add an additional egg and ¼ additional vegetable oil or butter to the mixture.
Once the cake has baked, it's best to make sure you keep it air-tight with plastic wrap or a sealed container. Keeping refrigerated can help it last a bit longer as well.
- Cake flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter
- Pink lemonade concentrate
- Lemon juice & zest
- Heavy cream
- Lemon extract
How to Make Pink Lemonade Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F then grease a 13"x9" cake pan and set aside.
In a large bowl or a stand mixer bowl, sift in the flour then add the sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir or mix on low to combine.
Add the sliced or cubed butter into the flour mixture and beat until it forms small crumbles.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pink lemonade concentrate, milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Whisk until just incorporated and eggs are slightly beaten.
Turn the mixer to slow speed and add the egg mixture to the flour mixture in 3-4 batches until completely incorporated.
Spread the batter into the cake pan evenly and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Set the cake pan on a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.
In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, sugar, and lemon extract on low speed slowly increasing to high speed until thickened and stable.
When the cake is cool, spread the icing evenly and garnish with lemon slices and zest if desired.
Serve with additional lemon if desired.
If you plan to make a lot of cakes, invest in a good cake pan with a solid lid that seals well. I like to find customized ones that can be monogrammed or personalized. There are some great powder coated lids for cake pans that can be personalized with logos on Etsy.
More Dessert Recipes You'll Love
I confess that dessert is my favorite part of the day. This pink lemonade cake is a delicious addition to your menu, but sometimes you want a little something different. Below are a few of my favorite desserts that are easy, delicious, and always a crowd-pleaser.
- Moist Cheesecake Banana Bread
- Refreshing Lemon Cake Recipe with Lemon Glaze
- The Perfect New York Style Cheesecake
- Flaky Pear Turnover Recipe
- Crock Pot Cherry Dump Cake Recipe
- Coconut Poke Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe
- Instant Pot Chocolate Chip Cake
- Banana Pecan Cake
- Italian Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 4 eggs
- ¾ cup pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
- ½ cup milk, room temperature
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
Whipped Topping Ingredients
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ tsp lemon extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F then grease a 13"x9" cake pan and set aside;
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder;
- To the flour mixture, add the cubed butter and beat until the mixture begins to form crumbles;
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pink lemonade concentrate, milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest;
- To the flour mixture, begin beating the egg mixture in slowly in 3-4 batches until combined;
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean;
- In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, sugar, and lemon extract on low speed for 1 minute then gradually increase to high speed beating until thickened;
- Cool the cake completely on a wire rack;
- Once the cake is cool, spread the whipped icing in a smooth layer and garnish the top with lemon zest and slices;
- Serve immediately or refrigerate covered for up to 4 days.
Substitute the homemade whipped topping for Cool Whip or similar whipped topping if desired.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 596Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 1gSugar: 40gProtein: 7g