One of the first things I do when moving to a new town is join, or start, a book club. I recommend all my friends do this – a great way to meet new people and widen your social network beyond the work crew. Naturally, work friends may dominate, but at least you’re introducing new blood to the mix.
I typically post a funny ad on Craigslist, telling a little bit about the books I like to read and inviting other wine-loving women to join. In Oregon, I posted an ad for the “Anti-Chick Lit Book Club” and I was overwhelmed with responses, including many from men, applauding the move away from Elizabeth Gilbert books. But hey, you may want to start an Elizabeth Gilbert Lovers club! More power to you.
My group’s last book was “Let Me Eat Cake,” a chronicle of one woman’s obsession with cake and a brief history of the confection. It was a weak foodie book, if you ask me, and it made me feel kind of disgusted by the end. Orangette‘s book is far superior as far as food reading goes.
Regardless, we had a sweet-themed club, complete with mini key-lime tarts, chocolate cupcakes and my pink lemonade cake with a foamy citrus glaze…
Admission: I totally Sandra-Lee’d this cake. That means it involves a box of cake mix and powdered pink lemonade. But you know what? I work late, and sometimes I just don’t have time to do it all from scratch. It turned out so moist, with a wonderful sweet bite of lemon – everybody loved it.
Here I have adapted it from Paula Deen’s sons’ recipe…
Pink Lemonade Cake with Foamy Citrus Glaze
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two round cake pans (mine were 9-inch) 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 the eggs and the oil and water. Stir the lemon zest into the batter. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for approx. 30 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 glaze, beat together the confectioners’ sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in the pink lemonade concentrate, zest and vanilla. If the glaze is still too thick, add a little water, in 1 T increments. You can make this as thick or thin as you wish.
Transfer one cake to a cake stand or large platter. Using an offset spatula, spread the top of the cake with a layer of glaze. Place the second cake on top of the first. Spread the remaining glaze over the top and sides of both layers.
The glaze spilled over my cake like a frothy mess. I loved it, and just covered the pools with hydrangea flowers from my garden (well cleaned!). I love how you can see the specks of lemon zest throughout, and just that faint pink color.
Happy Fourth of July, friends! xoxo