Pink Lemonade Cake Murder By Joanne Fluke: Review/Giveaway/Recipe

Jul 22, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy & Joanne Fluke

This week we have a review of the latest Hannah Swenson Mystery by Joanne Fluke along with a recipe from Joanne. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Pink Lemonade Cake Murder: A Hannah Swenson Mystery By Joanne Fluke
Review by Sandra Murphy

Hannah Swensen is back with new recipes created for the Tri-County Summer Solstice Celebration. There’s one thing more important than the celebration: Mike, Lake Eden’s handsome police detective, is determined to quit. Bill, Andrea, Hannah, Norman, and more friends want him to stay. Delaying tactics seem to be the best idea, so Mike will have time to think over his decision. A colleague spirits Mike to the lake cabin for rest, relaxation, and fishing.

As one of the big events, a former Major League Baseball player is in town, showing off as usual, driving through town with three scantily clad teenage girls perched on the back ledge of his convertible, beauty queen style. Hannah’s mother, Delores, sees him and lets loose with a long list of ‘what’s wrong with him’ opinions and a promise to get even. Delores was the victim at a dunking booth for a previous celebration, and he threw the pitch that dunked her. She’s never forgotten or forgiven.

One of the girls’ daddies is most upset with her being ‘half naked,’ riding around, and with an older man like that, which then causes problems with her boyfriend, soon to be fiancé.

When the ball player turns up dead under the bleachers, discovered by Delores whose prints are all over the murder weapon, she’s a natural suspect, along with the angry daddy and a host of others.

Hannah and Andrea are determined to prove Delores is innocent by discovering the real killer while keeping Mike out of the investigation as a lesson in how badly he wants to remain a cop.

This is book twenty-nine in the series. While the mystery is a good one with an unexpected killer, the real suspense is in the last chapter, leaving readers with a classic cliffhanger, sure to cause a multitude of changes for all concerned.

Recipes are included as always – pink lemonade whippersnappers, tropical pie, pink lemonade cake with matching cream cheese frosting, chocolate lace cookies, blue cheese meatloaf, cherry crisps, 7th inning slush, Nutella trifle with raspberry whipped cream, How Now, Brown Cow (alcoholic version), How Now, Brown Bessie (non-alcoholic version), curveball cookies, strawberry pie, root beer cookies, summertime cookies, cinnamon toast popcorn balls, egg and bacon pasta salad, lemon muffins with lemon glaze, orange marmalade muffins with a matching butter, chocolate cherry oatmeal squares, sweet and sour chicken, satin swirl cocktail, chess bars, and a pink lemon drop martini.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

By Joanne Fluke

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.

Coat two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans with Pam or another non-sticking baking spray (the kind with flour in it) and line with parchment paper.

• 1 18-ounce box White Cake Mix (plus any ingredients the instructions on the box call for)
• 1 envelope (0.23 ounce) Kool-Aid Pink Lemonade Natural Flavor Unsweetened Drink Mix
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (just the rind, not the bitter white part)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 ounce grenadine (find this in the liquor section of your grocery store—but it is non-alcoholic)
• Note: 1 ounce of grenadine = .5 Tablespoons

For the cake, in a large bowl, prepare the cake batter according to the package directions.

Mix in the 1 envelope (0.23 ounce) Kool-Aid Pink Lemonade Natural Flavor Unsweetened Drink Mix.

Stir 1 teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest (just the rind, not the bitter white part) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla into the batter. Stir in the ounce of grenadine and that completes the

Pour the batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F., for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cakes 1-inch from the center comes out clean.

Using oven mitts, remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool 10 minutes on a cold stovetop burner or wire rack.

After 10 minutes have passed, turn the pans upside-down over a wire rack and let them cool completely while you make the frosting (recipe follows).

Frosting Ingredients:
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
• 1 cup (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) salted butter, softened to room temperature
• 1 pinch table salt
• 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (just the yellow zest, not the bitter white pith)
• 4 cups powdered sugar
• 4 Tablespoons Frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
• 1 Tablespoon grenadine (you can find this in the liquor department of any grocery store)

Hannah’s 1st Note: This frosting is easier if you use a stand or hand mixer.

Mix the softened cream cheese and softened butter together in a large bowl.
Add in the salt and grated lemon zest. Mix until well combined.
Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition.
Add the Frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate and the grenadine.
Mix until everything is well combined
Let your frosting chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

To Frost Your Pink Lemonade Cake:
Take the first of your cake layers off the cooling rack and put the first layer, upside down, on a cake plate.
Using a frosting knife, slather the top of the layer with the Pink Lemonade Cream Cheese Frosting.
Put the second cake layer, right-side up, on top of the frosting you’ve just spread.
Use your impeccably clean palms to press down a bit on the second layer, to make sure that it is securely in place on top of your frosted layer.
Then, again using a frosting knife, frost the sides of the two-layer cake. Use the edge of the frosting knife to smooth out the frosting.
Slather the rest of the frosting on top of your cake and spread out evenly.
Smooth the frosting you placed on the top of your cake.
That’s it (Unless you want to grate a tiny bit of lemon zest on the top of your comply frosted cake to make it extra fancy)!

Hannah’s 2nd Note: If you have any leftover frosting, spread it on saltine crackers or graham crackers for a snack for kids or grandkids when they get home.

To enter to win a copy of Pink Lemonade Cake Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “lemonade” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 29, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Recipe sounds delicious. I’ve been waiting
    to get my hands on this book. Would love
    to win it. thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. Sounds interesting. Usually, Delores isn’t a suspect. Count me in!

    • I love Joanne Fluke and Hannah Swenson This sounds so good. Thanks for the chance.

      • I’ve been reading the Hannah Swenson books for years and always look forward to the next one. I’ll be making this cake for sure.

        • I have read all the books in the series, can’t wait to start this one.

  3. The books are always interesting. Cake sounds great.

  4. I love the Hannah Swensen series. I just started it a few months ago and am excited to read this one as well. Thank you for the chance to win. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  5. I enjoy this series. Looking forward to reading the newest book to see what Hannah is up to.

  6. How nice to share the recipe, a perfect t summer delight. Thank you, and thank you very much for the opportunity to win a copy ot Pink Lemonade Cake Murder. I am a long time reader of Joanne Fluke’s books.

  7. Thanks for the recipe. Can’t wait to read the new book

  8. I would love a chance to read this book!! I love the series and the recipes are always a hit!

  9. I will absolutely be making this!

  10. This sounds like the perfect spring and summer cake! I think this is the one for my tea party!

  11. I’m excited for a new Hannah Swenson book! I love all the recipes too and have a couple of them over the years.

  12. I love this series anbd by the time I finish I’ll weigh a ton because all the recipes sound so wonderful and easy yo make. Haven’t read this oine yet so winning it would be a real bonus.

  13. We have a winner!


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