Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

In early April, I received an email from KitchenAid with an invitation to join them in promoting their Cook for the Cure® program, designed to raise funds and awareness of breast cancer. I didn’t have to think very long about my response

I quickly pressed the “reply” button and wrote, “I’d love to participate. My mom had breast cancer and was a survivor times 2 (cancer in one breast and then 10 years later, the other)! She passed on several years ago at 92, after living a very full life. Mom was quite an amazing woman; never complaining all through the bouts of cancer (colon cancer too); except one day when I called, she said that she felt sort of “icky”. I hope I can be half of what she was, if I ever have to go through something like that. Definitely count me in on the Cook for the Cure® program”.

I’ve got sweet and tangy, farm-stand fresh Pink Lemonade Cupcakes for you today. So pull up a front porch rocker and get ready to enjoy the appeal of this summertime sensation.

Summertime encompasses so many wonderful things…

Warm lazy evenings on the deck. Swimming pools. Spaghetti straps and tanned legs. Casual parties. Beach trips. Backyard grilling. Fresh seasonal produce. Iced tea and lemonade. Lots of laughter.

And how appropriate that this post was due just a few days before Mother’s Day! Although it’s been four years since my mom passed away, there’s rarely a day goes by, that I don’t think of her. I miss hearing her cheerful voice on the phone, the good advice she always gave and the way she called a “spade a spade”. I never worried that mom wouldn’t tell me exactly what she thought (even though there were times I didn’t like hearing it!). She also had a wonderful sense of humor and, quite frequently, Scott and I will recall one of her many funny sayings, and have a good laugh over it.

As I was working on this post, I thought about the fact that, although mom never had a fancy house or a wonderful kitchen with all the latest appliances, she did own a KitchenAid mixer. And I have a feeling that she would have been hard-pressed to carry on without it. This little work horse of a lady made homemade bread once a week (ten loaves at a time!), even after all six of us kids grew up and left home. She loved how that machine could whip up a big batch of dough in a hurry, and used it religiously, for the bread, and also for all sorts of delicious treats right up until shortly before she died, at 92!

INGREDIENTS
FOR CUPCAKES:

  •  2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  •  2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  •  ¼ teaspoon salt
  •  1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  •  1 tablespoon lemon zest, from about 2 lemons
  •  ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  •  2 large eggs, room temperature
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  ½ cup freshly squeeze lemon juice, from about 3 lemons
  •  ¾ cup milk
  •  a few drops red food coloring (optional)

FOR PINK LEMONADE FROSTING:

  •  1 ½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  •  3-4 cups powdered sugar
  •  1 lemon, zest + juice
  •  a few drops red food coloring (optional)
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INSTRUCTIONS
FOR CUPCAKES

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together zest and sugar until fragrant. Add in the butter and beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Alternatively add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat well after each addition. Beat in the food coloring if using.
  4. Divide the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake cupcakes until the center springs back when touched and a tester comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely on a cooling rack.

FOR FROSTING:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on high speed until pale and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, lemon zest and juice (and food coloring if using). Mix on low speed for a minute and then increase to medium-high speed to beat until well combined. Frost cupcakes with buttercream. Decorate with sprinkles and hearts.

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