Blow off the fancy bakery! You can make your guests this gorgeous citrusy dessert without spending a ton of money.
To make the white lemon cake layers, add 2 tablespoons lemon zest to a white cake mix or go to LHJ.com/lemonadecake for our homemade recipe.
Pink Lemonade Cake
For the Cake
Work: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cranberry juice cocktail
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
3 drops red food coloring
2 8-inch white lemon cake layers
For the Frosting
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 large egg whites
3 drops red food coloring
Candied lemon zest (recipe below)
Candied Lemon Zest
- To make the lemon curd filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, cranberry juice, lemon juice, egg, and yolks in a medium heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes very thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture boils, then stir for 30 seconds more. Transfer to a bowl over an ice bath to cool; add food coloring. Stir occasionally until completely cool, then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and store in the fridge for up to a day.
- Trim domed tops from cakes and place one on a serving platter; spread cold lemon filling over the surface 1/2 inch from the edge. Top with second cake layer and place in the fridge while preparing frosting.
- To make the frosting, combine 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, and corn syrup in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves; remove spoon. Brush insides of pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals and place a candy thermometer into the mixture. Boil (do not stir) until the syrup registers 230 degrees F., about 2 minutes. While the syrup cooks, whisk the egg whites and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. With the mixer on low speed, pour the sugar mixture into the egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy, 5 minutes. Tint frosting with food coloring, then frost cake immediately. Garnish with candied lemon zest. (See below)
This beautiful garnish gives your cake a gourmet touch, and it's so easy to prepare.
- With a sharp vegetable peeler, cut long strips of zest from 2 lemons, being sure not to take any of the bitter white pith. Slice the strips into 1/8-inch-thick strands.
- Bring 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan; add the zest and simmer until translucent, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in the syrup.
- Strain zest and use for garnish. Use the syrup in drinks or on pancakes. You can refrigerate both for 2 weeks.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, August 2011.
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