Angel surprise cake

Angel surprise cake

Angel cake

The Birthday Cake Book
Laura Edwards

I made this for my teenage daughter’s recent birthday and everyone shrieked with delight when she cut into it. The sweet cake (popular in the United States) contains no fat, so needs to be eaten on the day.

For the cake


Quantity Ingredient
225g icing sugar, sifted twice
140g plain flour, sifted twice
10 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 unwaxed lemon, finely zested
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pink food colour paste
orange food colour paste

For the frosting

Quantity Ingredient
180g white caster sugar
1 egg white
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch salt
50g white marshmallows, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Special equipment

Quantity Ingredient
angel cake tin, (optional)
30 cm cake drum, (optional)

To decorate

Quantity Ingredient
Everlasting flowers


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 150°C. Use a 23 cm springform cake tin, or angel cake tin; there is no need to butter it. Place the icing sugar in one bowl and the flour in another.
  2. In a large, clean, degreased bowl (wipe the bowl first with half a cut lemon and dry with kitchen paper), whisk the egg whites until frothy and foamy (I used a hand-held electric whisk). Add the salt and cream of tartar and continue to whisk to soft peaks. Sprinkle over the icing sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking after each addition. It is fatal to this cake to over-whisk, as you need to keep it very light. Lastly, add the lemon zest and vanilla. Fold in the flour 2 tablespoons at a time with a large metal spoon until you have a light, airy cake batter.
  3. Divide into three. Colour one part deep pink, the second a lighter pink and the last pale orange. Do this very gently and do not be too enthusiastic when mixing the batter, as you don’t want to beat out all the air you have just whisked in. If the colour is not completely folded in and is marbled, that is fine. Spoon each into the tin, to achieve layers of colours. Very gently tap the tin on a work surface to remove air bubbles. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch and has a beautiful golden crust. Remove from the oven and cool the cake upside down with the tin over it. I placed the hole of the angel cake tin on the neck of a wine bottle, propped against the wall.
  4. To make the frosting, put the sugar, egg white, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt in a heatproof bowl, and fit it over a pan of very, very gently simmering water; it mustn’t boil. Once melted, stir in the marshmallows and vanilla and stir until smooth and glossy. Keep the bowl over the heat and, with an electric whisk (don’t even think about doing this with a hand-held whisk) whisk for about five minutes, or until the frosting has increased in volume, is thick and shiny and forms soft peaks. Remove from the heat and use straight away.
  5. Loosen the sides and centre of the cake by running a knife around the rims and turn the cake on to the drum or serving plate. Spread the frosting all over with a palette knife (if baked in an angel cake tin, into the hole too). Allow to set for an hour or so before adding the flowers.
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