Wow, did this bring back some great childhood memories. Those bright pink cake slices with colorful sprinkles, also known as “Pastel de Niños” (Children’s Cake). On Sundays my Mom would send my Dad to pick up pan francés or bolillos to serve with the Menudo soup for brunch. If I timed it just right, my Dad would ask me to go with him to the panadería. All I could think of is the pan de dulce that would be waiting for me when we finally got there. One of my favorites was the pink cake slices, because what kid didn’t like cake with frosting? Most bakeries will not give up their recipes, so I researched a bit and pieced together this recipe for Mexican Pink Cake. It’s pretty close to what I remember and it made me feel like a kid again!
Yields 10 to 12 servings
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil, you could also use 1/2 cup applesauce or 1 cup mashed bananas as an alternate for the oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Zest of 1 lemon, optional
1 cup milk
For Light Pink Frosting (Thicker):
3 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 drops red food coloring
You will also need candy sprinkles
I tried two different frosting recipes, but was not that crazy about the darker, cooked frosting on the left side.
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray or oil a 9×9 (for a thicker cake) or a 9×13 (for a thin cake), set aside.
2. In one bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine, set aside.
3. In another bowl, cream together the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until creamy. Add in the lemon zest, if using. While the mixer is running, alternate adding some flour, then some milk until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center of cake. If you overbake, it will be dry. Remove from oven and let cool.
4. Once cake has cooled, prepare frosting. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Add the food coloring and stir until well combined. Frost the cake in the pan and add sprinkles. The frosting will firm up as it sets.