When I was a little girl, my mom used to make pink fluffy icing for our birthday cakes. It is full of great memories for me. I haven’t had that pink fluffy, marshmallowy icing in maybe 30 or so years (yikes am I really that old?). But, I might be having it more often again now that I’ve made it myself and fallen hard for it again. On the weekend we got together with our dearest friends to celebrate a birthday. Allie is turning four in a couple of weeks, but she’ll be away visiting family in Ireland. We couldn’t let a year go by without celebrating with this special little friend, so on the weekend we had a little party just for her, her family and us. Our theme was lemonade, pink and yellow, and we had a great, great time playing, laughing, and eating together. I’ll be sharing all the details of the get together soon, but thought I’d start out today with the cake. I usually make cupcakes for parties. I love cupcakes, they’re the perfect serving size, you don’t have to worry about cutting them up like a cake, and they’re so yummy. But…recently my girls have been asking for birthday cakes. When I think of birthday cakes my mind drifts back to those childhood cakes my mom made me with that pink, fluffy icing. So, pink fluffy icing it was, and to add a modern spin to the retro icing, I did pink ombre layers inside. This cake was a little time consuming but not difficult, and was a big hit at the party.
To make the ombre layers I started out with a French vanilla regular old cake mix. I had three pans, so I split the batter into three equal bowls. I just eyeballed it at first, but then stuck it on a scale to make sure they were even, which worked really well.
To make the batter pink, I used some red food colouring. (In hind sight, if I were doing it all again, I would probably use a white cake mix, rather than the French vanilla, and pink gel food colouring rather than the red liquid food colouring -just to get truer colours with no hint of orange). I started with my lightest layer by adding just a couple drops. The next layer got around 8 drops, and the last layer maybe 20. Just keep adding and stirring until you like what you see. And start with your lightest layer first, since if it gets too dark you can use it for a darker layer, and start again with your next bowl of batter.
Bake the layers according to package instructions and allow to fully cool before icing.
Here’s the recipe for the frosting:
Fluffy Cooked Icing -Grandma’s Recipe
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp corn syrup
1/2 cup cold water
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1. Combine all the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a double boiler.
2. While the mixture is heating in the double boiler, mix with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form (5-10 mins).
3. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla, and food colouring if you wish (we used red to make pink frosting). Ice cool cake, while the icing is still is warm.
When you first finish this icing it’s marshmallowy, sticky, and soft. My mom told me that my Grandma always made it and served the cake immediately so it was soft and sticky. My mom used to make it slightly in advance and ice the cake, so the icing would get a little hard on the outside and then be ooey, gooey soft on the inside. I made my cake the day before, but in hind sight, it would have been better if I’d served it the same day. The cake still tasted amazing, but it did look better the day I made it -it was also very hot and humid here this weekend which didn’t help the cake but was great when it was slip n’ slide time. 😉
With retro fluffy marshmallow icing, and pretty pink ombre layers inside, this cake really was awesome. And the birthday girl, she seemed to love it too. 😉 I think this one might become a regular around here again.
With cake like this one, life really is a party.
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