Pink lemonade cake is a perfect summer potluck party recipe. Serve this moist and tart strawberry lemonade cake cold from the fridge or room temperature at your next backyard barbecue.
Spring is birthday season in our house. The girls have their birthdays a few weeks apart which makes for a busy season.
This year, Little Pea had her First Communion the day before her birthday. Life was crazy and in the chaos, her birthday cake wasn't as delicious as I had hoped it would be.
Once we had a slower, more relaxed weekend, I decided to try a MUCH more simple cake "just because."
My little girl loves strawberry lemonade (or pink lemonade) so I whipped together this easy 9 x 13 sheet cake as a special Friday treat.
This is now the cake she asks for on repeat, which is fine by me since it is so easy to make!
Why This is the Best Recipe
As we head into summertime with all it's special events to celebrate, you absolutely need to save this cake recipe.
It is the perfect backyard barbecue or potluck party dessert because it is totally portable.
Little Pea loved how it tastes just like pink lemonade but what really surprised me was just how much Handyman Tim ended up loving it.
We all enjoy our cakes cold right out of the fridge and somehow that just really works well with this strawberry lemonade cake.
The colder temperature for serving really reminds you of the beverage it is imitating.
Cool and refreshing for a hot summer evening but without the worry of melting like ice cream or popsicles.
This from-scratch cake is just as easy as a boxed cake mix. You only need a few ingredients.
For the Cake:
- Baking Powder
- Vanilla Extract
- Dry pink lemonade drink mix (the concentrated dry powder mix, not the beverage you can buy in the fridge section. Do not add water.)
For the Frosting:
- Heavy Cream
- Powdered Sugar
- More dry pink lemonade drink mix
Sheet Cake or Cupcakes?
I made the strawberry lemonade cake into a simple 9 x 13-in sheet cake, but you could easily adjust this recipe to make cupcakes.
You would get at least 1 dozen cupcakes, possibly up to 2 dozen depending on how much you fill the cupcake wrappers. Just be sure to adjust the bake time to a shorter time to start since cupcakes will bake faster than the sheet cake.
Pink Lemonade Frosting
There is strawberry lemonade in BOTH the cake and the frosting!
The cake has a slightly pink hue to it and the frosting is a lovely light pink.
It makes "just enough" frosting, not too much, which is great because my kids don't like cakes that are over frosted.
If you plan to frost your cupcakes with a tall generous swirl, you might want to consider doubling the frosting portion of the recipe.
This strawberry lemonade cake is so pretty all on it's own, but I decorated it with a small sprinkle of some pink and blue confetti balls I had in my baking cabinet. They were the perfect festive final touch.
You could also garnish with fresh strawberries or even thinly slice lemons to give your friends a preview of what the flavor will be like.
Make Ahead Tips
As I've mentioned, since this cake is so delicious when cold, it makes the perfect make-ahead dessert to bring to a party.
You can make it 2 - 3 days in advance and just keep it covered in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
You could also bake the cake and freeze it unfrosted. Then just thaw it in the fridge overnight and frost it before serving.
More Summer Desserts
Looking for more chilled desserts to serve for a hot summer party? We love these cold or frozen treats:
Strawberry Lemonade Cake
- ¾ cup butter softened
- 1 ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 ¾ cup flour
- ½ cup presweetened pink lemonade drink mix the powder, don't hydrate it.
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites
- 1 whole egg
For the frosting:
- ¼ cup pink lemonade drink mix the powder
- 3 tablespoon water
- ½ cup butter softened
- 16 oz powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with butter and coat it in flour, set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with a hand beater or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Add the milk, vanilla extract, lemon zest to the bowl and mix on low until just combined. Add the flour, lemonade drink powder, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and beat on high for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and egg whites to the bowl and beat on high for an additional 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl between steps.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a spoon or spatula. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Bake for 35 - 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely (for at least one hour) before frosting.
To make the strawberry lemonade frosting:
- Combine the ¼ cup lemonade powder with 3 tablespoon water and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside.
- Beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1 or 2 cups at a time and beat until each addition is combined. Add the lemonade mixture and the heavy cream after a few cups of the powdered sugar have been mixed into the frosting. Continue to add the powdered sugar and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy. If the frosting gets too thick, you can add more heavy cream a teaspoon at a time until desired consistency has been reached.
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Made this for my sisters birthday and the cake turned out ridiculously dense! The icing tasted good but the cake was so dense we couldn’t really eat it.