What’s better than lemonade? Pink lemonade! So for my first post I wanted to create a lemony cake, but much more fun. For this one I got to play with lots of bright colours, and also sherbert.
How does it taste? As you might guess, quite lemony but not too strong, you also get the slightest hint of raspberry from the pink lemonade, and the sherbert makes it nice and fizzy, as you’d expect from lemonade!
A word of warning – this takes a wee while to make. That’s because to make pink lemonade, you need pink lemonade syrup. From lots of Googling I discovered while this syrup’s easy enough to buy in the US, it’s pretty tricky to find in the UK.
First up, here are the ingredients:
For the syrup
- 1 lemon
- 170g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 150g sugar (granulated is fine)
For the cake
- 375g butter or Stork
- 375g caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 375g self raising flour
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 tablespoons milk
- pink paste/gel food colour
For the buttercream
- 300g butter
- 675g icing sugar
- 1 sherbert fountain, liquorice removed
You’ll also need 3 lined 8 inch cake tins.
Let’s start by making the syrup. Put the raspberries and sugar in a pan. Zest half of the lemon and reserve it for the cake. Then slice the lemon and add to the pan. Bring to the boil then leave to cool, then drain it through a sieve and discard the berries and lemon.
Now we’re moving onto the cake itself, so get the oven on to 170C. I’m lucky enough to have a freestanding mixer, so if you’ve got one too use the paddle attachment to cream the butter/stork for a good few minutes til pale and fluffy. A handheld mixer does an awesome job too, or you could do it by hand but it’ll take a lot of work! Next, add in the eggs one by one with a spoonful of flour, and mix til incorporated every time, then add the rest of the flour.
Now, remember the zest you saved from half the lemon for the syrup? Add that to the cake, along with the zest from the other lemon, and 1 and a half tablespoons lemon juice. It’s time to start creating the ombre effect by making each of the three layers a different shade of pink, so take three bowls and divide the milk equally between each of them. You’ll add the pink colour to the milk – it is very strong so start off small, maybe a tiny drop for the palest, working up to a half teaspoon for the brightest layer.
Divide the batter evenly between each of the bowls with the different coloured milk and fold through til the batter is evenly coloured, then smooth the batter in each of your three prepared tins. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes til a skewer comes out clean. As soon as your cakes are out the oven use a pastry brush to paint a tablespoon of pink lemonade syrup over each sponge and leave to cool.
Once your cakes are cool you should have something like my picture – bright different coloured sponges. Layering cakes is always much easier when they are flat so take a knife or cake wire to cut them flat.
Now it’s time for the fun part, icing! Buttercream is nicer when the butter’s been beaten for a very long time so use your mixer to beat it for a good five minutes til it turns almost white. Then add the icing sugar in two stages, mixing well after each addition, and 1 and a half tablespoons each of your pink lemonade syrup and leftover lemon juice, and beat for another five minutes til it looks really fluffy. Reserve half of it, and split the other half into two sections so you’ve got two quarters. You can add pink food colouring so you’ve got your colours ready to create an ombre effect with the icing. Half the icing you’ll need pretty pale, so add just a tiny bit of colouring. The two quarters you can add much more past to, to get bright, but remember you want one to be a mid pink, and the other very deep.
Phew, finally it’s icing time! Take your darkest cake, and put a dollop of the palest icing for the first layer, and smooth it over and sprinkle a third of your sherbert over that. Then the mid coloured cake and the same pale icing and sherbert all over again. Top with your palest cake and use the pale icing to do a crumb coat, reserving some of the pale buttercream for your proper icing. Chill the cake for an hour to get the icing nice and hard.
Now it’s time for the top coat of icing! A pallet knife will help you here, take your darkest icing and smooth it round the bottom third of the cake – you don’t need to worry about getting it too polished here. Then take the mid shade of icing and cover the middle third of the cake with it, and take the palest icing to cover the top of the cake and reach the mid coloured icing on the side of the cake.
Next, make sure your pallet knife is clean and use it to smooth round the side of the cake to make the icing nice and flat, the ombre fading effect will create itself automatically as you smooth the buttercream. Smooth the top of the cake too, and sprinkle with the remaining third of the sherbert. And there you have it! A pink lemonade ombre cake.