Recipe: Perfection in pink

Pink marshmallow sponge sandwich is a layered treat.
Pink marshmallow sponge sandwich is a layered treat.

I was thrilled to receive as a gift Ladies, A Plate, the baking collection by Alexa Johnston, published by Penguin. I have been using it often, not just for the foolproof recipes, but for reference.

Today I would like you to have one of our cake recipes. It is for a pretty cake sandwiched with pink marshmallow and iced with pink icing.

Because I remember sponge cakes sandwiched with marshmallow from my childhood, I checked Alexa's book to see if she had a recipe for a similar one.

No marshmallow cake, but in this treasure trove of traditional Kiwi baking, I did rediscover indulgent marshmallow slice and the story behind it. And then I saw a recipe for matrimony tarts, and then I had to read the story on neenish tarts, and then I spied Anzac bars - so actually, I was really lucky to get this column finished.


Adults love this cake as much as children do.


  • Firm sponge cake (2 x 17cm round sponge cakes)
  • 60ml (4 Tbsp) raspberry jam
  • Pink Marshmallow Round
  • In the Pink Icing (see instructions for white icing for decoration within the pink icing recipe)

Turn the sponge cakes upside down and spread raspberry jam on both.

Place the marshmallow round on one cake, directly on top of the raspberry jam. Top with the remaining cake (raspberry jam side on marshmallow).

Ice the top of the assembled cake with In the Pink Icing. While the icing is still moist, decorate with white icing.

To decorate: Place the white icing in a very small piping bag with a small nozzle. Beginning in the centre of the cake, pipe evenly spaced thin white lines on to the pink icing. With a toothpick, working in the opposite direction to the white lines, draw evenly spaced lines in the pink icing, moving in straight lines through the white lines.


Makes 2 x 17cm round cakes

These are shallow cakes, but when constructed as a sponge sandwich with marshmallow, the finished cake is reasonably high.


  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 175g (3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
  • 50g butter (diced)
  • 30ml (2 Tbsp) boiling water
  • 125g (3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp) flour
  • 5g (1 tsp) baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease 2 x 17cm round cake tins with baking spray or butter, and line the bases with baking paper.

Place eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until thick and pale yellow. Add the butter to the boiling water and stir until melted. Sift flour and baking powder together. Fold into the egg mixture, alternating with butter water. Pour into prepared tins. Bake for 15 minutes or until the surface pops back when prodded. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cake rack. Cool completely before proceeding.


Makes 1 x 17cm round


  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 1/2 tsp icing sugar
  • 12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) gelatine powder
  • 65ml (1/4 cup) water
  • 200g (1 cup) sugar
  • 125ml ( 1/2 cup) water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
  • 1 drop red food colouring

Lightly grease a 17cm round cake tin with baking spray. Sift the cornflour and icing sugar together and sprinkle into tin. Shake tin to give a light, all-over coating. Tip out any excess.

Sprinkle gelatine on to first measure of water. Stir and leave for 5 to 10 minutes or until the gelatine has absorbed the water. Place sugar and second measure of water in a small pot over a low heat. Stir constantly with a metal spoon until sugar dissolves.

Place the bowl of gelatine over a small pot of hot water and stir until the mixture dissolves (or microwave for 10 seconds). Pour into the sugar mixture and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil steadily for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm.

Pour the gelatine mixture into a large bowl. Add vanilla and food colouring and stir until combined. Whisk (preferably with an electric mixer) until very thick. Pour into the prepared tin. Leave for at least two hours, or until set. Do not refrigerate.



  • 150g (1 cup) icing sugar, sifted
  • 5g (1 1/2 tsp) butter, softened
  • 25ml (1 Tbsp + 2 tsp) boiling water
  • 1 drop red food colouring

Place the icing sugar, butter and water in a small bowl. Beat until smooth. Remove 45ml (3 Tbsp) of white icing for decoration. Add food colouring to the remaining icing and stir until combined. Use immediately.

The Dominion Post