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Lemonade in February

lemonade1Sometimes, you just want lemonade, even it’s winter. And sometimes you think hey, lemonade cake would be great, because lemonade and cake.

But that’s often where it falls apart, because most of the time, it doesn’t seem like lemonade cake recipes take into account the extra sugar you’re getting from the lemonade. They just add lemonade to the already high-sugar cake, and ugh. No one needs that. I love cake, but I also love sensible cake. This is not a contradiction. If you are going to douse your cake in liquid buttercream (oh, we’ll get there), you don’t need 3 cups of sugar in the cake itself. I promise.

This recipe differs a lot from the original, so I’m not even going to link that pink travesty. Cheeky.

THE CAKE:

1 cup butter, at room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup frozen lemonade
lemon zest if you like

The sugar measurement up there is half what the original called for, and I suspect you could take it even lower, but you might need to start tweaking other measurements some at that point too.

Cream your butter and sugar until smooth, and whip in your eggs one at a time until the batter is frothy. Make sure your butter is totally smooth, because you don’t want clumps in the batter when you add the frozen lemonade, because ha, that would be a badly blended cake.

You can sift your dry ingredients together before adding them to the wet, or not. Entirely up to you. I alternated adding the dry and adding the lemonade, making sure everything was well blended as I went. I did not lemon zest, only because I didn’t have a fresh lemon — mine are all frozen and while they keep really well for juice that way, the rind is less successful for zesting. (I am sorry, my lovely Microplane, but we shall meet again.)

Preheat your oven to 350. This is pretty low/slow temperature for cake. The original recipe called for 25-30 minutes, baking in a buttered/floured bundt pan, and I laugh at this, because your batter is going to be pretty dense and is likely not going to bake in that time. I baked mine for 30, and then added another 25. AND if I do this again, I might add more time, because there is still a smidgen of batter that didn’t bake up as I hoped.

When it’s done baking, let cool for ten minutes, then tip from pan. A little bit of my top stuck; if that happens, carefully knife/fork it out of your pan and set it in place. Your liquid buttercream is going to hold it on.

LIQUID BUTTERCREAM? Mmm.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
powdered sugar
1/4 cup thawed lemonade

So, this might be the devil’s buttercream. It’s pretty super. This is cut in half from the original recipe (I have a tub of leftover icing in the fridge, right next to the caterpillar). If you are making a regular layer cake, I’d say the double quantity will be perfect.

But, Elise, you don’t measure your powdered sugar? I don’t. Sometimes, you add too much (even if the recipe says!) and it gets that awful sugar edge to it, where you can’t taste anything else. I find it best to experiment. Add a cup at a time, mind the consistency and taste, and see how it goes. I probably used half a bag here — but I was making the full recipe because oh, trusting me.

Beat the ingredients until smooth, and then, oh then, put the buttercream into a small pan, and allow to melt. Trust me. It won’t take long.

Hopefully you are cooling your cake on a rack that can sit over a sheet pan. Because next step, you get to drizzle your liquid buttercream all over your cake. If that doesn’t cheer up a glum February day, I’m not sure what will.

lemonade2

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