When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Cupcakes–Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

And now begins the official weekly cupcake challenge. I would say it has started off refreshingly. Something else that is refreshing (with it being summer and all), a glass of lemonade and if you are feeling fancy, pink lemonade. And that is how I started off week one of my challenge, feeling fancy.

WEEK ONE- PINK LEMONADE CUPCAKES

When I first read this recipe, I went back and forth on if I wanted to try it. But I like pink lemonade and most other things pink so I figured why not. After making a quick run to the store to buy some frozen pink lemonade (since my house doesn’t keep that stocked) and to buy a white mix that DOES NOT contain pudding (which actually turned out to be harder than you would think), I was ready to go. Or so I thought. But then I realized I had no idea where my mom keeps the electric mixer. After a quick phone call to a friend who lives 5 houses away, she brought me a mixer. I had all my eggs in a row and I was offically ready to go. The thing I could do without actually are eggs. They are so…well I don’t know. My least favorite part of every recipe is the time when I have to separate the egg whites from the yolk. But I guess it has to be done, much to my hatred.

After adding various things together, the moment of truth came. Up until now, I was simply making a white cake mix. But now, came the moment when I was taking the plunge, either ruining my cupcakes or making them tasty. Now was the time to add the pink lemonade.

After adding the frozen slush that was pink lemonade, I was ready to mix. Mix, mix, mix. Add a drop of food color. Repeat.  Repeat.

And then all was well. The batter was mixed nicely. It had an equally nice light pink coloring to it. I was a happy girl.

Now came the time to create the cupcakes (aka put the wrappers in a pan and fill them). And I did just that. The thing I found works best for me is using a spatula and a spoon to fill them. I don’t really know if they were both needed in the process…I probably could’ve just used the spoon. But I felt like the spatula was helping, hence I will continue to use a spoon and a spatula.

And off they went into my 350 degree oven. (Side note:  I love the oven at my house. When you set the temp and it’s ready, a little thing comes on in the right corner that says “Bake On”. The oven believes you can do it and is ready to help. And it’s just witty. OK, done rambling about the oven now.) How fitting to have pink lemonade under the sweltering heat of the oven. Most people drink icy cold beverages when in the heat so it only makes sense that lemonade takes its turn in the heat. It’s a beautiful circle of life really…or something like that. Just nod and smile for me please. :)

When the cupcakes were baking, I took this chance to whip up the frosting. That’s right, pink lemonade frosting to top. I’ve never made homemade frosting before (it always seemed kind of daunting actually) but I figured I should start sometime, and the time was now. This frosting was simple, butter, pink lemonade and heaps of powdered sugar.

I put all 3 ingredients into a bowl and fired up my mixer. This frosting then took me on a journey. First, it was a crumbly mess. I really didn’t think I did it right and found myself wondering how I managed to mess up a simple 3 ingredient combination. But I fought the urge to throw it away and start over, I just kept mixing. And then it started to get a thicker consistency.

Oh man was it thick. I started slowly adding my food coloring. The only reason I kept mixing was to get this food coloring in. It was to the point of thickness that I had to stop every 20 seconds and clean out my mixer. And then I would start mixing again, well I mean the mixer would start again. I say that because I really had no control of this mixer. It was going to get through this frosting and blend the color in with or without my guidance. But after much silently cursing the frosting, I was content (as was the mixer).

And now it was time for my cupcakes to be out taken out of the oven. It was glorious.

Not only was it glorious, but they were perfect. I never know when cookies are done but I know exactly when to take cupcakes out. Win for Sarah.

After waiting around (well I read a magazine and did some dishes), the cupcakes were cool and ready to be frosted. My frosting went on cupcakes exactly like I thought it would, it didn’t. This frosting was unspreadable (again, I silently cursed). I was spreading with a knife (and by spreading, I mean I was holding a knife hardly making progress). I found a technique in piling a glob of frosting in the center and pushing it to the outside of the cupcake. It was still not easy or as pretty as I would have hoped, but it worked.

Frosting took the longest of this whole cupcake making journey. And I threw out the extra frosting. Good riddance. Mature, I know. :) And now, I was going to try the cupcakes.

They were actually pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised. The cupcake itself was baked perfectly and didn’t have a strong pink lemonade flavor but it was enough. I was able to taste a slight flavor, but it wasn’t overpowering. :) The frosting is where you got hit with a lot of the flavor. Where the cupcake was slight flavor, the frosting was overpowering.  I wasn’t a big fan of the frosting on its own (of course, I’m probably bias due to the battle we had) but when you took a bite of it all together, it was actually a pretty decent cupcake. If I would change anything, I would add a little more pink lemonade to the cupcake and dull down the frosting a bit. The frosting ultimately was a little too sweet. But overall, I would say it was a winner (my brother gave it a B-, but that is an above average grade, so I’ll take it). My mom actually liked it too, frosting and all.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

RECIPE FROM: The Cupcake Bible

1 package (about 18 ounces) white cake mix without pudding in the mix

1 cup water

3 egg whites

1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, divided

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 to 8 drops red food coloring, divided

4 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 standard muffin cups with paper baking cups.

2) Beat cake mix, water, egg whites, 1/3 cup lemonade concentrate, oil and 4 to 6 drops food coloring in large vowl with electric mixer at meidum speed 2 minutes or until well blended. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.

3) Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

4) Beat powdered sugar, butter and remaining 1/4 cup lemonade concentrate in medium bowl with electric blender at medium speed until well blended. Beat in remain 1 to 2 drops food coloring until desired shade of pink is reached.

5) Spread frosting over cupcakes.

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