This year my sweet daughter Sarah celebrated a milestone birthday, her 25th! Sarah is not one for change, which means that when I ask what flavour of cake she'd like for her birthday, in the past it's always been one of two types - triple chocolate almond or boxed rainbow sprinkle vanilla. You can't beat the classics, can you? However, this year the answer was different - "surprise me!" I said that I wanted to try a pink lemonade for a while and she thought it sounded good, so I gave it a try.
The first recipe variation I'd read about was from Better Homes and Gardens, but the bakers' feedback online was not good at all. I've been cautious lately about new recipes, after my most recent failure, so I appreciate the feedback from other bakers. I dislike recipes that are overly sweet and the BHG recipe called for marshmallow Fluff as the icing base - that is WAY too sweet for me! Searching online I found a recipe from good old Betty Crocker, which had great feedback. Although the recipe was for cupcakes, it was easily adapted into a layer cake. Here's Betty's version of Pink Lemonade Cupcakes.
What you need (as noted in the recipe) is a white/vanilla cake mix and prepared vanilla icing. The flavour comes from the frozen pink lemonade concentrate. Once the batter was prepared, I tinted all of it pale pink and used half the batter for the first layer. I added more pink colour to the remaining batter to get the darker colour for the second layer. It was my first time using gel pink colour, which is so easy to use. A little goes a very long way, so using a toothpick to add the colour was the best technique. Once the layers were baked and completely cooled, I placed a line of toothpicks around the layers as the guide to slice them into two halves, to get the ombre effect.
The next time I make it, will add less of the concentrate to the icing, because it became too runny. After icing the cake, I put it back into the fridge right away to set a bit. Once it hardened, I added the pink pearl beads (actually crispy rice bits) to decorate the top. The flavour and the decoration got rave reviews with requests to make it again.