Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

There are a few things that just say SUMMER. To me lemonade is the quintesential summer beverage.  My office has started to celebrate to celebrate national food holidays occasionally and the other day it was National Lemonade Day.  I seem to be seeing a lot of lemonade, lemon-berry cake/cupcake recipes lately so decided to whip something up for the office. I used bits and pieces from 3 or 4 different recipes (including two on the side of the cake mix). The end results was a huge hit at the office, requested by one co-worker for her baby shower and is reminiscence of a lemonade poke cake.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake
1 white cake mix
1 lemon cake mix
Ingredients to prepare cake mixes - usually water, eggs and oil
1/2 can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate (defrosted)
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
zest of 1/2 a lemon (make sure very fine)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
16oz white frosting
8 oz of cool whip (make sure not frozen)
6-8 strawberries sliced

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  First let me tell you that using both cake mixes makes a lot of cake but I really like the flavor created by mixing.  It makes it a lighter lemon flavor more like lemonade. I was making a double layer cake (9x2 inch round) for my office and I was also able to make a single layer 8 inch square for my family. I do have to say the double layer tasted better.  Prepare cakes according to package instructions but prepare both cake mixes together. This works easily in a stand mixer. I use the whisk attachment to get a lighter batter and add an extra tablespoon of water. Bake cakes according to time indicated on package.  Take out of oven and cool for 15 minutes on wire rack.  Mix concentrate with powdered sugar using a wire whisk until dissolved. I found mine did not dissolve easily so I microwaved for 10 seconds and that did the trick. Remove cakes from pans. Level bottom cake layer.

Now here is a trick I learned from a cake decorator.  If you freeze your cakes they are easier to frost.  Also I find I like the texture better. The don't dry out.  I find it also makes it easier for me to make cakes. I make the cakes at night after my kids are asleep, put in the freezer and then can finish decorating when needed. Takes less time and tastes great. It does require a little pre-planning though so I am sure this step could be skipped. But if you skip you will need to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes after poking and adding lemonade - see below. If you are going to freeze I recommend cleaning out the cake pans with a paper towel. Line with plastic wrap and return cakes to pan.  Then follow steps below. This will make it easy to finish wrapping and put in the freezer.

Poke holes in cake using a skewer or straw. Pour concentrate mixture into holes.  I found that it worked best to spoon the concentrate into the holes.  Now finish wrapping cakes and place in freezer or loosely wrap and put in fridge.

Decorating: Slice strawberries. Zest lemon. Juice half of lemon and put in small bowl. In a large bowl combine the defrosted cool whip and white frosting mixture. I found that this was a little lumpy which I don't like. I would recommend whipping the white frosting with a whisk or mixer to get very light and fluffy before you gently fold in the cool whip. Add zest and juice.  Put a small amount of frosting on cake stand or plate. Add bottom layer. Put small amount of icing in center and smooth outward with knife or offset spatula. Top with sliced strawberries.  Add top layer of cake and ice with remaining frosting mixture. I didn't do these last steps since this was the first time I made the cake but I will in future.  Arrange sliced strawberries in a fan on top of cake and place halves strawberries and lemon slices at base. Dust with yellow sugar and place a sliced lemon in very center. Refrigerate until served. The double layer cake served about 12. Sorry for the bad picture due to the florescent lights in the break room at the office. Enjoy!

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