Pretty Pink Pick-Me-Ups

No matter how hectic life gets, let it never be said that I was too busy to make cupcakes.

*Mad props to CV for being hand model in shots one and two here.

Early last week, I had laid out my schedule, penciling in times to whip up the filling and the cakes for CV’s birthday masterpieces, with plans to whip up and pipe frosting on her birthday eve.  But then I met CV’s intern, who informed me that her birthday was the day before CV’s, and things went awry.  I would need a second batch of cupcakes for a second team member.  And with my first full-time week at work, I wasn’t seeing any extra hours in any of my days.

No sweat.

I pulled these pink lemonade cupcakes together in no time, coming up just short of a dozen to share with my favorite colleagues, new and old.  These have that classic sweet, yet tart, flavor pairing that is so difficult to come by outside of a glass of pink lemonade.  And whenever I take an extra minute to whip some more air into my icing, creating enough for swirls, my coworkers go crazy.  They think it takes me hours to get this look.

Confession–it might actually take less time than icing them all with a spatula or knife.  Tutorial coming soon.

To make 11 pink lemonade cupcakes (or enough to make everyone say–oh did you already eat one?), you will need:

For the cake:

  • 1 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 C thawed pink lemonade concentrate
  • 1/4 C buttermilk
  • pink food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Mix first four ingredients in bowl, set aside.  In large bowl, whisk sugar, oil, egg whites, and lemonade concentrate until combined.  Mix in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk till everything is just combined.  You want to begin and end with dry ingredients, so flour mixture, buttermilk, flour mixture, buttermilk, flour mixture.  Stir in food coloring till you have your desired pink hue.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full with batter and bake 20-25 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

For the frosting:

  • 3 C + 3 T powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 T thawed pink lemonade concentrate
  • pink food coloring

Combine sugar, butter, and salt in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Begin by beating on low speed, until sugar is incorporated.  Once you’re sure it’s not going to spew out over the edges of the bowl, crank up the mixer a couple notches and beat on medium speed.  This will give your frosting some more volume, which will allow you to pipe it in pretty swirls on top of the cupcakes.  On low speed, beat in food coloring until you reach desired color.  Pipe on cupcakes once they’ve cooled completely.

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