Pink Lemonade Cake
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Pink Lemonade Cake

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 for our homemade recipe.

Pink Lemonade Cake

Serves 10
Work: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours

For the Cake

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)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)

Candied Lemon Zest

This beautiful garnish gives your cake a gourmet touch, and it's so easy to prepare.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.