Pink Lemonade Layer Cake

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Cook Time: 45 min
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients Add to grocery list

butter for coating pan
1 (18.25-ounce) white cake mix, plus any additional ingredients the package directions call for
3 tablespoon pink lemonade drink powder
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 lb confectioners sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoon frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest





Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper; set aside.

For the cake, in a large bowl, stir together the cake mix and lemonade powder. Prepare the cake batter according to the package directions, using any additional ingredients called for (eggs, milk, water, oil, etc…). Stir the lemon zest into the batter. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minuets. Carefully turn cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, beat together the confectioners’ sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in the remaining ingredients until combined. 

Transfer one cake to a cake stand or large platter. Using an offset spatula spread the top of the cake with a layer of frosting. Place the second cake on top of the first. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of both layers.

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Reader Comments:


I'm going to attempt this cake! I am just curious and do like citrus; but don't care for cake. I think it might be a winner.

By Douglas M. Basko on August 23, 2013



By Brooke on June 16, 2013


i came across this recipe in a magazine and by a friend so i decided to make it

By tyasia on May 16, 2013


love your show

By on September 26, 2012


Do u tried this recipe a d it was way too tart! Now that I went thru the comments it looks likd I should have used ore sweetened drink mix looks like I will either reduce the "kool aide" or use presweetend mix next time. I wax disappointed Paula's recipes are usually so good! I'll give it another try with some adjustments.

By Silvia on June 21, 2012


There is a misprint in the cake directions. It should read one tablespoon or 3 teaspoons. The cake will not rise with 3 tablespoons. Also, the icing takes a lot more than 3 tablespoons of concentrate. And the reipe makes enough frosting to frost at least 2 cakes. When I finally corrected the error, the cake was deliious, though.

By Sally Friedman on April 23, 2012


Made this cake and it turned out fine using sweetened Crystal Light in the cake, and the frozen pink lemonade concentrate in the icing. Some people loved how tart it was, others thought it was a bit too much (the cake, not the icing). Will probably cut back to 2 rather than 3 tablespoons of the pink lemonade powder in the cake for next time to account for that.

By Heather on April 06, 2012


Hi, I came across this recipe because I loath cake mixes and wanted to try and make a lemonade cake from scratch ever since I saw the Pillsbury cake mix at the store. If I can't find frozen pink lemonade could I use the powder and how much of it should I use? Thanks, Anna

By Anna Bouillon on March 01, 2012


Paula I don't know if you remember but I did a make a wish with you back in. 2007 at your opening buffet in mississippi. since than I got married and been cooking like crazy and inspired by you of course. but one recipe my mom made was a regular cheesecake with a pink lemonade icing syrup on top its so good I wish you could try it! She has MS n loves to cook now since she retired! thanks for always been someone to make us laugh and have fun with our love for food! love you paula!

By Jessi on February 23, 2012



By DEbbie on November 25, 2011


SUPER GOOD CAKE!! Our Family Loves This!!!

By Erica on November 08, 2011


I tried making this cake twice and both times it didn't rise. The first time I used unsweetened Kool-aid mix and the second time I used Crystal Light. Do I need to use a mix that is already sweetened?

By Janice Clark on October 03, 2011


This cake was a HIT at a recent church homecoming...I even got asked for "my recipe" (and that never happens!!!! Yes, I did give Paula all the credit except that I did substitute 4 single serving packets of Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade in the cake mixture (in place of Country Time) and 3 Tablespoons of Raspberry Lemonade in the icing (instead of pink lemonade) but otherwise followed the recipe to a "T". I saw a photo of a pink lemonade cake on a recent cover of Ladies Home Journal but the recipe was pulled out and I wasn't impressed with the recipe they had online and found this one. Only other thing I did differently was to use 9" pans (the cake was "shorter" but the pans are the "old" version with the bar that releases the cake so I opted to use them to be sure the layers would come out cleanly! Next time, if I was making it for a lot of people I would probably double the recipe. Thanks to Paula!!! She never fails to impress! Thank you!

By Susan Armstrong on September 04, 2011


Made this cake 7/25/2011 for my man for his birthday.Boy did I score points he loved it said it was best cake he ever ate said it could win a blueribbon.Made him happy even gave our little Jack Russell a small pinch of cake no icing and she loved it.My mans family and my mom and bro got a small piece and they gave it and me a A+.Wonderful cake. Thanks Paula.

By janetrm on July 26, 2011


>Kerri - You thaw the frosen concentrate lemonade first. From my experience, however, the 3 TBLS lemonade wasn't enough liquid ingredient for the frosting to be the right consistency. - You may need to add an additional TBL of milk or maybe water.

By Anonymous on July 16, 2011


I have a question about the icing I'm hoping someone can answer. It may be stupid but here goes: When it calls for frozed concentrate do you put it in frozen or do you thaw it first?

By kerri on June 29, 2011


Made this cake tonight and it is perfect! I followed the recipe and it looks as if this is going to be one of my "ooooh, make me one, please?!" cakes! Thanks for this easy recipe!!!

By Anonymous on June 26, 2011


I made this cake for a family get together, it was a hit. They ate it all but a few crumbs. I used Countrytime Pink Lemonade mix in the batter. I also used lemon juice in the frosting instead of frozen lemonade. If you want the cake to be pink add a little red food coloring to the batter. I also added a little yellow to the icing. Everyone wanted the recipe. Larry

By Anonymous on May 28, 2011


I saw this cake on Paula's show and wanted to try it. After reading numerous reviews here, I emailed someone at to hopefully answer a few questions before I began. The person who contacted me was very helpful and (without indicating any particular brand) affirmed that it was indeed a pre-sweetened pink lemonade drink powder that you should use. I also reported to her about the discrepency with the same recipe on the Food Network and she indicated that for some reason with the Food Network, things sometimes get lost in translation and recipes don't always get posted correctly. She confirmed that the recipe posted here on Paula's site was correct and said she'd look into getting the one on the Food Network site corrected. So - I went forward using a Duncan Hines white cake mix and 3 "Level" Tbls of Country Time and it turned out wonderful - giving the white cake just a hint of pink lemonade flavor. The real pink lemonade flavor punch actually comes from the frosting which is amazingly good! However I did need to make one small adjustment to the frosting recipe. I noticed a recipe for basic buttercream frosting on the back of the C&H powdered sugar box was pretty much exactly the same as this recipe, except that this one uses 3 Tbls frozen concentrate lemonade, while the other called for 1/4 cup milk. In this comparison, it crossed my mind that Paula's frosting recipe was 1 Tbls. less on it's "liquid ingredient" than the C&H recipe and wondered if it would turn out too thick. Well, I mixed the frosting accordingly... It seemed to stay kinda powdery and fluffy for a long time but eventually started to blend more completely. And, as I kinda predicted, it was WAY too thick, almost more like a cookie dough than a frosting, and it really bogged down my mixer. I didn't want to add anymore lemonade for fear it'd be too tart. So, taking my cue from the C&H recipe, I simply added 1 Tbls milk and suddenly it was perfect! I'm a bit puzzled by reviewers who've claimed it didn't make enough, or that they had to add an additional stick of butter! - I had enough frosting to generously frost the tops and sides of both 8" layers and even had a tiny bit left over. Overall, with the exception of adding a little milk to the frosting, I pretty much followed this recipe to the letter and had fantastic results! Candied lemon slices and a sprig of mint made a great garnish and it definately tasted as good as it looked! Heres a link to a photo taken:

By Scott on May 21, 2011


Made this as a 3 layer cake for my daughters baptism and everyone loved it-there was nothing left but crumbs and I can guarantee it will now become a family favorite. I also served it on a milkglass cake stand very pretty and perfect for a little baby girls special day!

By Michelle chiquet on May 16, 2011

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