Pink Lemonade Cupcakes: “The perfect beginning of summer cupcake”

With nice weather and weekend BBQ’s even though it’s not officially summer, it sure feels like it.  I’ve been trying to come up with more summer inspired cupcakes to bring to these weekend events since chocolately cupcakes can get pretty heavy in the warmer weather.

When I was a kid I loved setting up my lemonade stand on the side of the road to try to make a little cash in the summer.  One time my friend and I were selling pink lemonade and someone asked us if we had made it (well we  had made it from the frozen concentrate, that counts, right?) and how we got it pink.  I told her raspberries.  Hey, I was a budding entrepreneur and I had to come up with something quickly.

Since pink lemonade is such a refreshing summertime drink, I figured, how about a pink lemonade cupcake?  This was a tough one since all of the recipes out there in the internets called for boxed cake mix, which obviously I wasn’t going to do so I had to improvise.

For Cupcakes

Makes 24

  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. milk at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 4 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin with 24 liners
  2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended
  3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining
  4. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more.
  5. Add in lemonade concentrate, zest, and juice and beat until just combined
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and let cool

For Frosting

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
  1. Beat butter until softened and add in powdered sugar one cup at a time
  2. Once combined, add in lemonade concentrate, lemon juice, and zest.  Beat until combined and frost cupcakes
These cupcakes were super lemony and tart.  They didn’t necessarily taste like pink lemonade, but rather a lemon cake.  If I was to make them again, I might not do a pink lemonade frosting but rather a whipped cream topping so it was less tart.
Everyone at the BBQ liked them, although I think they were a little sour for the little kids.  To quote Boy Cupcake, “They were a perfect beginning of the summer cupcake.  They tasted like goodness in your mouth.  They reminded me of a pink lemonade Italian ice”.  Thanks for that one.  That’s why I love him.
Now I’m on the quest for more summer inspired cupcakes.  Any ideas of what you’d like to see at your summer BBQ?  Leave me your ideas and I’ll put them on my list!





Strawberry Shortcake Inspired Cupcakes: Bring on the Summer BBQ’s!

Despite the fact that we’ve been having rainy days all week, somehow the nice weather manages to reach us for the weekend.  Awesome!  I’ll take a little rain during the work week if it means we have beautiful days for weekend BBQ’s.  This weekend we had two get togethers…we’re so popular, I know.  Since I was obviously going to bring cupcakes to both, I decided to go with something that would work double duty.  It had to be a cupcake that would be unique enough for my family on Saturday so I wasn’t repeating cupcakes for them but also delicious enough for our friends on Sunday.

Originally I was thinking of a candy inspired cupcake but 80 degree weather isn’t really the time to be eating cupcakes with chocolate in them.  Nice days like that definitely require a fruit cupcake, but what?  Strawberry shortcake immediately popped into my head so I decided to go with a cupcake that was more inspired by the shortcake flavors than being actual strawberry shortcake.

[Inspried by Martha Stewart]

For Cupcakes

Makes 36 (according to the recipe but mine made 34)

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 standard cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then beat in vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition. Fold in strawberries.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two-thirds full, about 2 ounces each. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire racks.

For Frosting

Makes about 9 cups

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, insides scraped out
  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla and vanilla bean, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes.

I was excited about these cupcakes simply for the reason that they were frosted with my favorite frosting.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Swiss meringue butter cream is awesome!  It’s not too sickeningly sweet like some other frostings and almost anything can be added to give it different flavors.

These cupcakes were super fluffy and moist with great pieces of strawberry in the cake.  And the vanilla bean buttercream was the perfect compliment.  My family raved about them, but isn’t that what family does?  When I brought them to our friend’s party, people were all over them.  And there were a bunch of people who ate two cupcakes, so I can safely say they were fairly successful.  I think I’m going to need to start  baking more fruit flavored cupcakes since they always seem to come out nicely and almost bever become dry.  I’m hoping peach will be the next fruit inspired cupcake.