October is when I like to get into the Halloween spirit by baking up spooky sweets and creepy cakes. October isn’t just about Halloween, however. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there are all kinds of campaigns out there to raise awareness about breast cancer – which impacts 1 out of every 8 women in the US – and encourage people to work towards both prevention and a cure. A common way to show your awareness of breast cancer and your support for the various efforts to fund research and prevention is by going pink. The NFL and MLS wear pink gear, for instance, and I bake pink cupcakes.
These Pink Lemonade Cupcakes could really be delicious any time of the year, but they are perfect for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The cupcakes have a bright lemon flavor and they’re dyed pink with the help of a little bit of bright pink food coloring! The lemon flavor comes from both lemon juice and lemon zest. The bright pink frosting gets the same treatment, with lemon juice, zest and pink food coloring. The finished cakes are tender, have a great lemon flavor and are absolutely adorable to look at.
When it comes to frosting these, you have a few options. You can spread the frosting on with a knife or pipe it on with a pasty bag (or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off), just as you would with a traditional cupcake. You could also pipe it into the shape of pink ribbons on top of the cake. The cake is light and fluffy enough that the cupcakes are tasty even with minimal frosting, and adding a pink ribbon is a nice away to reinforce the fact that these are to help raise awareness for breast cancer in addition to being a delicious dessert.
Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 – 1/2 tsp pink food coloring
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg, pink food coloring, lemon zest and vanilla extract until mixture is smooth. Add additional food coloring as needed to achieve desired color.
Stir one third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by the lemon juice. Stir in an additional third of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in all remaining flour, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups.
Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the tops of the cake spring back when lightly pressed.
Let cupcakes cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the muffin pan. Cool completely before frosting.
Makes 12 cupcakes
Pink Lemonade Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 – 1/2 tsp pink food coloring
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and pink food coloring (add coloring gradually to achieve desired color) until well combined. Gradually blend in the confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick, fluffy and smooth. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.