Pink Angel Food Cake
Classic, light as air, moist pink angel food cake topped with billowy swirls of pink marshmallow frosting and rainbow sprinkles.
For the cake:
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (140 g cake flour)
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (150 g confectioners' sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups 13-14 egg whites, room temperature (left out about 1 hour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (180 g superfine sugar (see Sweetapolita's Notes))
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- Few drops pink food colour (see Notes)
For the pink marshmallow frosting:
- 6 egg whites (180 g)
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (390 g granulated sugar)
- 2 tablespoons 45 g light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
- Few drops pink food colour (see Notes)
- Rainbow Nonpareils (optional)
Make the pink angel food cake:
- Arrange oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift the cake flour, confectioners' sugar and salt together 4 times. Set aside.
- Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add the egg whites and beat on the lowest speed until they start to become frothy, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and sprinkle the cream of tartar over the egg whites. Beat on medium speed until the egg whites thicken just slightly and you can see swirl lines in the mixture from the whisk (very soft peaks), about 1 minute. Add the superfine sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until the egg whites thicken and reach soft/medium, droopy (not stiff) peaks, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract, and a few drops of the food colouring, if using.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the dry ingredients 1/4 at a time on top of the meringue and fold gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Gently transfer the batter to an ungreased 10" angel food cake pan and smooth the top with a small offset spatula. Bake on the lower rack of the oven until the top of the cake springs back when touched lightly, and when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Don't check the cake before 35 minutes, or you could deflate your cake, but also try not to over-bake.
- Remove the cake from the oven and invert the whole pan onto a wire rack so it cools upside down. Let cool for one hour and then loosen sides around the center and outside of the cake using a thin metal spatula or knife. Gently coax the cake out of the pan onto the wire rack and let cool completely.
Make the marshmallow frosting:
- Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 130°F (54°C) on a candy thermometer.
- Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until it is very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and food colour, if using, and beat to combine. Best used right away (for best texture to apply frosting to the cake--after that it's best enjoyed up to 1-2 days at room temperature).
Frost the cake:
- Place the cake wide end down onto a cake plate, board or pedestal. Pile the frosting on top of the cake and use a metal spatula to spread the frosting from the top down. Create swirls using the back of a spoon and sprinkle with Rainbow Nonpareils). You can also use Rainbow Crunchy sprinkles, Pink Crunchy sprinkles, or even White Crunchy sprinkles for a more muted look.
- Slice cake using a serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion. Cake keeps at room temperature for up to 2 days. Best enjoyed day 1 (the cake stays very moist for days, but marshmallow frosting is best enjoyed sooner than later).
- As I mentioned in the post above, I use "superfine" sugar for most of my cake and meringue recipes (in my book as well) as it lends to a lighter cake and dissolves quickly into meringue, etc. This is simply a finer grain of granulated sugar that you can purchase as such (also referred to as caster sugar, baking sugar, and more), such as this India Tree brand Superfine Caster Baking Sugar. What I do is put my granulated sugar in the food processor and let it go for about a minute and voila! Superfine sugar.
- For the food colour, I used a few drops of AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Soft Pink for both the cake and the frosting, but you can certainly go all white--that would be gorgeous and classic. You can also use powdered food colouring or your favourite brand of food colour. To achieve a similar look, try a few drops of Sweetapolita Bright Pink!
- I used a classic 10-Inch Angel Food Cake Pan, but I also recommend one with a removable bottom (like this 2-Piece Angel Food Pan if you're going out to buy a new one, otherwise I did just fine with the classic style), particularly if you might opt to serve the cake without frosting. With coaxing the cake does come out of the classic pan just fine, but it tends to take the very thin brown top "crust" off the cake, which I loved for a cake that will be frosted (typically not a big fan of the brown cake crust).
- I used LorAnn Oils Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste, which is wonderful, but I also love Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. You can certainly use pure vanilla extract (I suggest a good quality one), though.