Arsip Tag: pink

pink lady cake – smitten kitchen

I know what you’re thinking: another dessert, Deb? Are you trying to kill us? But let me explain; you see, when your house guests fill your fridge and freezer with sausage and cheese and bread and you buy some wonderful Satur Farms arugula (now available at Whole Foods! Oh, how happy this makes me.) and make daily vinaigrettes with your new French Dijon, it turns out you don’t have to cook dinner at all. For days. And that’s pretty much where we’re at with things that do not involve sugar.

pink lady batter

Alas, they left us with no dessert, and more poignantly, no pretty pink princess birthday cakes (the nerve!), and so when the call arose on Monday to make one for Liz’s (of spaghetti and meatball photography fame) birthday, I jumped in with two feet.

Because everyone has a pretty pink princess in their life, be she four or 34, and when that pretty pink princess has a birthday, you need a cake that is appropriate. And there is nothing more darling and swell, more coquettish and eyelash-batting, than a pink lady cake. Simply nothing.

creating a pink lady cake

Of course, the process of getting from “my favorite cake growing up was called a Pink Lady Cake” to the recipe you see below, was surprisingly difficult. You see, the Pink Lady Cake my friend knew and loved, as outlined by AllRecipes and a dozen other sites, is a white cake mix with a box of strawberry Jell-O and bag of frozen strawberries mixed in. And while I do not judge you if you wish to put such things (oh, there I go being all passive-aggressive again) in your birthday cakes, I was bent on finding a more natural way to approach things.

pink lady cake

I looked in The Joy of Cooking. I checked out Martha. I Googled until the letters “P” and “L” on my laptop were worn down to nubs. I begged some of my Monday lunch dates for leads. And then? Then I opened my favorite cake book in the entire world (yes, I know I sound like a broken record but if you like to bake birthday and celebration cakes, step to it, get this book) and le voila! A white cake with pureed strawberries.

pink lady cake, sliced

Like every recipe I have tried in the book, the cake was surprisingly easy to make and tasted better than every white cake I’d tried previously–richer, and more buttery. It also has a tremendous “ta-da!” effect, clocking in at easily six inches tall, knocking into the lid of the cake box, so eager to make its entrance, so like a princess.

Oh, and it tasted so very darling, and pink, if such a thing is possible.

pink candles for a pink lady cake

Not the Celebration Cake you were looking for? You’re in luck! We have a whole index of other ones over here.

One year ago: Pumpkin Butter and Pepita Granola
Two years ago: Spinach Quiche

Thanks: Be to Ms. for letting us hijack her camera when we forgot ours!

Pink Lady Cake [Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Filling]

The cake recipe is adapted from Sky High, and the only thing I would change next time would be to add a drop or two of red food coloring because when cake is called Pink Lady, well, it should really be pink.

The cream cheese frosting is not from the book (which has a Swiss buttercream-based one I am eager to try when I am not rushing to finish) but a classic, standard recipe. I have upped the amount of cream cheese frosting from what I used, which you can see is spread a tad thin. Pretty pink princesses should never be deprived of fluffy vanilla cream cheese frosting on their birthdays, you know?

For the cake
4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries*
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food dye, if using (to make the pink color pop more)

For the cream cheese frosting
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350»F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point. (Deb note: I must warn you not to try the batter at this point. Not even a smear of it. How unbearably good it is will shock you, and lead to more dipping. Only you can stop this from coming to pass.)

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.

4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.

Make the cream cheese frosting
5. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Frost and assemble the cake
6. Place one cake layer on a cake board or platter. Tucking scraps of waxed paper under the edges of the cake will protect the board or plate from any mess created while frosting the cake. (I forgot, as can be clearly seen above.) Spread about 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Repeat with the second layer. Add the top layer and frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving a small amount if you wish to tint it and pipe a decoration on the cake. If not, you can decorate the cake top with thinly-sliced strawberries. Remove the waxed strips to reveal and neat, clean cake board.

7. Serve with pink candles on pink plates to the sort of person who dreams in pink. I suspect you know at least one.

* Huntsman notes that it may seem surprising that frozen strawberries are used here, but they’re always available and their quality is consistent. I suspect you could swap fresh ones, but given that the ones in the store in October are so lackluster, and cruelly unlike the astounding ones we had in Paris last week, I went with her suggestion. This will be from about half a one-pound bag.

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pink lemonade bars – smitten kitchen

Last year, not seconds after putting the final touches on what I certain was The Lemon Bar To End All Lemon Bars, a recipe intended for that little cookbook I wrote, I couldn’t quite change the station and became immediately absorbed in making something I wanted to call a pink lemonade bar. They’d be as awesome as a summer carnival, the kind that rolls into town with sketchy rides that your parents forbid you to go on but you do so anyway (or so a friend once told me!), or maybe a play date at the friends house whose mom served prettier, thus cooler, lemonade than what you had at home. I had great plans for these bars, I just had one tiny problem: I had no idea what made pink lemonade pink.

plopping in the dough
pressing in the shortbread

I don’t mean that I am naive; I was aware that in 99 percent of the iterations of pink lemonade out there, the pink was supplied by food dye. I was also bummed to learn that some other people had thought to make pink lemonade bars first — being the type who still clings to the silly notion that there are new, uncharted waters to bake our ways through — but the vast majority of the recipes called for red food dye too. Surely, before pink lemonade was made with red food dye, it was made with a fruit of sort, like strawberry or raspberry or cherries, right? Since last summer, this article has been written but even it doesn’t come to a singular conclusion as to what should make pink lemonade pink. The only thing that is apparent among its discussions of clothing dye and red hot candies is that if you can make it with something natural and/or tasty, you’re probably improving upon its lineage.

pureeing raspberries for a natural pink

pressing out the raspberry seeds
seedless raspberry puree
squeezing the lemons
pinking the lemon batter

With that, I decided that seeing as raspberry lemonade is a delicious thing to drink, it would have to be a delicious thing to eat in a bar format. The bars exceeded expectations, and I couldn’t wait to tell you about them but then I ran into another spot of drama: how was I going to tell you about this riff on a lemon bar so close to publishing a cookbook with the lemon bar of my dreams in it? I mean, how does that conversation go? “Here’s a lemon bar but there’s an even better one in my cookbook!” or “Basically I found my lemon bar nirvana but this isn’t it!” As you can imagine, none of these options were very appealing so I tabled it for the year and that pretty much brings us up to today, when I decided that this is ridiculous and must stop. I cannot go another minute without telling you about these because you should not go another minute without having them in your kitchen. Because they’re wonderful. Because there’s enough space in the world for multiple ideas of lemon bar perfection. These are pinked with raspberries, buttery with shortbread and they have that 1:1 crust-to-curd ratio that I dream of in bars cookies. They’re as happy as a summer picnic, which is exactly where they were hoping you’d take them this weekend. And by “them,” I mean me. But these will probably fit better in a tote bag, so I understand.

some didn't survive until photo time
pink lemonade + buttery shortbread
pink lemonade bars

Related: Lemon Bars, Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins, plus more bar cookies, more lemonade, lemony stuff and more things with raspberries.

One year ago: Tomato Salad with Crushed Croutons
Two years ago: Everyday Chocolate Cake
Three years ago: Plum Kuchen and Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
Four years ago: Huevos Rancheros and Blueberry Crumb Bars
Five years ago: Quick Zucchini Saute and Summer Berry Pudding

Pink Lemonade Bars

The bars as written yield a not overly sweet lemon bar (I know it must have been nicely tart because this guy wouldn’t eat them, and he considers turning down a cookie a breach of toddler contract) with a subtle raspberry kick and pale pink color. Updated: A few days later, I made these again… twice! The first time, I forgot the flour in the lemonade layer but let’s not talk about that. The next time, I used raspberries that were much older and darker than the ones in these photos. Three tablespoons of that puree made the bars absolutely purple/magenta! So, very pretty but hardly a color I’d associate with pink lemonade. So, this is just to note that clearly the amount of red tint one gets from the berries can vary greatly by the berries. If yours looks crazy saturated with pink and you’ve only added two tablespoons puree, you can always add another tablespoon lemon juice instead of the last spoonful of raspberry. On the flipside, if your berries seem pale, you can always add one less tablespoon of lemon juice and one more of the raspberries. The main thing is that you keep the amount of liquid (lemon juice + raspberry puree) at 7 tablespoons. More, and the bars might seem too soft. Less, they might seem too eggy.

My cup of berries yielded 1/3 cup strained puree, which is more than you’ll need, but it seems safer to estimate up as last time I called for a berry puree, many people ended up with less than I’d gotten. If you have extra, I highly recommend stirring it into your morning yogurt. Or smoothie. Or vanilla ice cream.

For the base:
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (125 grams) flour

For the lemonade layer
1 cup (about 5 ounces or 140 grams) raspberries
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice; this should only require 2 lemons
1/3 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with parchment, letting it extend up two sides. Butter or coat the bottom and sides with a nonstick spray and set the pan aside.

Make the base: In a food processor, pulse together the sugar, zest and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it is evenly dispersed in the dough. Add the flour and pulse the machine until it’s just combined and the mixture is crumbly. Press the dough into the prepared pan and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Don’t worry about making this perfect; mine was an uneven mess and nobody can tell. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at edges. Let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling (though no need for it to be completely cool when you fill it). Leave oven on.

Make the pink lemonade layer: Puree the raspberries in your food processor until they’re as liquefied as they’ll get. I don’t even bother cleaning mine between steps, but I’m also probably lazier than you. Run the puree through a fine-mesh sieve, trying to press out all the raspberry puree that you can, leaving the seeds behind. I ended up with 1/3 cup strained puree; don’t worry if you get a smidge less.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of raspberry puree. Stir in flour. Pour into cooling crust and return pan to the oven, baking the bars until they’re set (they’ll barely jiggle) and slightly golden at the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into rectangles. (You can speed this up in the fridge.)

I intended to cut mine into 32 2×1-inch rectangles but actually cut them into 28 2×1-ish rectangles. I like lemony bars small but you could also cut them into 16 2×2-inch squares. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Store in fridge for up to a week.

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pink lemonade popsicles – smitten kitchen

[It’s the last chapter of Popsicle Week, wherein I admitted that I had something of a popsicle incident this summer, wherein incident = gotta a little carried away, made too many and couldn’t let summer end without sharing the queue with you. This is Popsicle 3 of 3.]

I began this summer of accidental popsicle obsession by saying that growing up, we made popsicles by pouring orange juice (created with or without manual labor) into these molds, letting them freeze and eating them outside so we didn’t sticky up the kitchen floor. And yet, when I first bought my popsicles molds a year ago, did I put juice in them? No. I had to make things really, really complicated. Banana purees, Nutella and salted pistachios. Strawberries, lime, black pepper and sometimes white tequila. Key lime pie filling rolled in graham cracker crumbs. Butterscotch. Pudding. Pops.

raspberries, lemons, go!
scene of raspberry violence

It seems only right and proper that I end* Popsicle Week with a riff on the same frozen juice popsicle. But, you know, I couldn’t use just any juice, it had to be lemonade, which to me is the quintessential sitting at a picnic table in a beach town icy drink to slurp through a straw while being unable to consider a single other thing on this earth that previously felt urgent, as we did yesterday afternoon on our Maine vacation.

straining the raspberry puree

some simple syrup
raspberry puree, sieved
lemon squeezer
it gets really, really pink

The thing is, for reasons I have yet to put a finger on (because it’s pretty?) pink lemonade is unequivocally better than regular lemonade. It just is. What’s less clear is what makes the lemonade pink. Well, in most cases, it’s Red Dye #40 or something, so excluding those, in our pink lemonade conversations (and can I tell you how much I love that this here is a space where we can have intense conversations about pink lemonade? more than words, people) several conclusions have been drawn: grenadine (the real stuff please, and not the corn syrup + food dye sadness that populates most grocery aisles), strawberries (delicious, but my experiments, even the reddest ones mostly yield a salmon-toned lemonade, which is just not the same) and, my favorite, raspberries, which are not only abundant in peak lemonade season of high summer but make the brightest red puree that quickly turns your lemonade hot pink, and makes it taste even better. Raspberry wins; hot pink wins. These popsicles are pure summer — tart and icy and gorgeous. They melt quickly and should be sent outside, just like us, while we still can.

pink lemonade, popsicle-d
pink lemonade popsicles
pink lemonade popsicle

* Tired of popsicles? Don’t worry, this is the last chapter in Popsicle Week. Need some dinner ideas from earlier in the summer? May I suggest: Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes, Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts, Burst Corn Galette with Corn and Zucchini, Avocado-Shrimp Salsa, Slow-and-Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken, Pickled Vegetable Sandwich Slaw, Charred Corn Crepes (with a lot of different meal suggestions), or (hello!) a Grilled Bacon Salad with Arugula and Balsamic. And please don’t miss the One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes from July, because I think it’s one for the yearbook. Plus, there’s a whole Summer category in the archives, all geared towards warm-weather cooking and produce. Enjoy!

Popsicles, previously: Fudge Popsicles; Banana, Nutella and Salted Pistachio Popsicles; Strawberry, Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles, Key Lime Pie Popsicles and Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles

UK Book Tour: Just in case you missed it, last week I announced a UK book tour the other side of the pond (no big deal) (SUCH A big deal). Early details over here; more to come. [The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook UK Book Tour]

Three years ago: Fresh Tomato Sauce
Four years ago: Cubed, Hacked Caprese
Five years ago: Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs and Dimply Plum Cake
Six years ago: White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Pink Lemonade Popsicles

Yield: 10 1/3-cup or 3-ounce popsicles

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups water (1 cup can be very cold)
1 cup (about 5 ounces or 140 grams) fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup lemon juice (from approximately 7 to 8 lemons)

Heat sugar with 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Pour into large bowl, add remaining 1 cup cold water. Let cool, a process you can hasten along by setting it in a shallow bowl of ice water or placing it in the fridge (or freezer, but briefly) while you prepare the raspberries.

Meanwhile, puree raspberries in a food processor or blender until they’re as liquefied as possible. If you’re as irked by gritty raspberry seeds as I am, stir the puree through a fine-mesh sieve, trying to press out all the raspberry puree that you can, leaving the seeds behind. I ended up with 1/3 cup strained puree; don’t worry if you get a smidge less. If you’re unbothered by raspberry seeds, you can skip this sieving step.

Add raspberry puree and lemon juice to cold sugar-water mixture and stir until combined. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze as manufacturer suggests.

More notes:
Popsicle molds: I use these guys. I have the metal version, which was all that was available when I bought them a couple years ago, but the metal parts are not dishwasher safe and don’t hold the popsicle sticks in place as well as I understand the plastic ones do, so if I were buying them again, I’d opt for plastic.

No popsicle molds? You could any kind of tiny cup to mold them instead, but my favorite is a champagne flute for shape; you could even use those disposable plastic ones. When the mixture is halfway frozen, insert a popsicle stick and now no retro popsicle mold needs to come between you and Popsicle Week.

To unmold: To unmold popsicles, dip the frozen molds in a warm bowl of water. I give them a tug every couple seconds to see if they’re loose yet because I don’t want to soften them any more thn absolutely necessary. If the stick comes out before the popsicle (boo!), they just weren’t frozen enough. You’ll want to freeze most popsicles for 5 to 6 hours, just to be certain they’re hard enough to unmold.

To store popsicles: Here’s how I do it: I put a tray in the freezer and cover it with waxed or parchment paper, just long enough for it to get cold. I unmold all of the popsicles and place them on the tray, and refreeze them for 10 minutes out of their molds before putting them in a freezer bag. This extra step ensures that any melting/softening that happens when you unmold them doesn’t mess up their shapes or cause them to stick to one another. You can also separate them in their freezer bags by extra strips of waxed or parchment paper. Then you can wash the molds and use them again for everything you may have missed this week.

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picnic pink lemonade

picnic pink lemonade…

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