Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Recipe for German Lemonade Cake

This cake has been a family favorite for at least four generations. It was the traditional birthday cake we had growing up, and it is what I make for my own kids now.

When I say 'Lemonade Cake' it really should more accurately be called 'Orangeade Cake,' but that just doesn't have the same nice ring to it. 

You see, in German, 'Limonade' means any type of soda. Most sodas are made from fruit juice plus carbonated water, and orange juice is the most common choice among those. The closest thing I can compare it to is Pellegrino orange or blood orange soda. In fact, both are great choices for this cake. 

Then there is the chocolate frosting. There is no way to accurately describe this frosting without doing it injustice. It is, at its core, the most delectable frosting in the universe. Period. The magic in transforming its simple ingredients into perfection is to follow the directions exactly, or it will not whip up smooth and creamy but clumpy and flat. Easy directions, but they must be followed to a T. 

Also, to warn American sensibilities, the frosting contains an egg. A raw egg. You may think it is only by the grace of God and many miracles that after hundreds of instances of my grandma, her six kids and all their descendants, and now myself and my family eating this cake we have not ever fallen ill or died from eating it, but it's true. I lived to tell about it! Raw eggs are not inherently dangerous! Chickens that live in squalid unnatural conditions might fall sick with E. coli, which could end up on the outside of the egg, which could end up in your frosting and go downhill from there, but rather than rejecting the raw egg, just buy from a reputable source of pasture-fed chickens. Or choose a pasteurized egg (only in America, lol!). Or take your life into your own hands and use a regular ol' cheap egg. The chances of getting sick from it are near zero because all eggs in stores are washed, washed, and washed again. You could even give it one more rinse yourself before using it. 

Who knew a recipe could get this political just in the intro??!? Without further ado, here is the recipe:

German Lemonade Cake


For the cake:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup sunflower oil or melted butter
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup (blood) orange soda or orange juice mixed 50:50 with carbonated water

For the frosting: 
2 sticks + 2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs


For the cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10x13 baking dish.

2. Mix together eggs and sugar. While the mixer is running, add the oil/melted butter and vanilla. Turn the mixer off, dump the flour and baking powder into the bowl, and slowly start mixing again while pouring the soda into the cake batter. Turn mixer off as soon as the batter is well combined. 

3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges are turning golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

4. Completely cool cake in the pan before frosting.

For the frosting: 

1. Melt the butter completely and pour into a small bowl. Allow to cool down to room temperature or a little warmer. This is critical! The recipe will not work with just softened butter - the butter has to be melted and warm, but not hot (that would make the egg curdle).

2. Add powdered sugar and cocoa to the bowl, and beat with electric egg beaters or an immersion (stick) blender until well combined. 

3. Add eggs to frosting and continue to beat. You will see the frosting become smooth and creamy immediately. 

To finish:

1. Frost the cooled cake while the frosting is still soft. 

2. Add colored sprinkles (we love these).

3. Enjoy! The cake tastes best at room temperature. If you have to store it for an extended period of time, do so tightly covered in the fridge, but allow the cake to come to room temperature again before serving.


  1. i'm thinking i could substitute the oil/ butter for coconut oil and the sugar for organic cane sugar. Do you think this would work??

    and you made me giggle about the eggs. I use a raw egg in my Cesar salad dressing and people always freak out lol. Make me laugh as they eat fast food or sip a coca cola. I always think your putting that in your body but wont eat a raw egg lol. people can be silly. thankful for gods grace.

  2. This sounds delicious! I will have to give it a try.

  3. I have been wondering how much a stick of butter weighs in grams and then it hit me: ask google :) So for the people in metric system: 113 grams!! So in this recipe it's probably close to 250 grams for the frosting.

  4. This looks lovely! Can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Is that measurement of icing sugar right? Half a cup seems very low! I tried making this and the icing was very runny - is it supposed to be that runny? I added extra icing sugar.

  6. I have this cake in the oven as I write this. I've converted it all to kgs though so I hope it turns out ok.
    It's certainly a day for a treat here, lashing rain, high winds, and thunder just coming in.
    Thanks so much for sharing this quick and easy recipe.

  7. thanks for sharing. Looks yummy and can't wait to try it. Don't know why people get so upset over raw egg. Our family would all be dead with the amount of cookie dough we eat, if egg was such a problem.

  8. Thank you so much for this recipe. I just made it gluten free for my mom's birthday and it turned out so well. Everyone loved it and it was so simple and easy to make.

  9. Orangeade cake and chocolate icing?! It's Schwip-Schwap (my very favorite soft drink) in cake form, and I MUST make it! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  10. He is so precious! What a sweet smile!

  11. What type of flour did you use for this cake? Was it the einkorn flour?

  12. Do you use unsalted or salted butter for the frosting?

  13. Hi Zsuzsanna, I'm going to bake this tomorrow. I love your blog. It's so well written. I'm going to try your bread recipes as well.


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