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Mexican Pink Layer Cake is my take on the traditional Mexican Pink Cake, also known as cortadillo. It’s a cake I usually see in Mexican bakeries and it’s in sheet cake form.
Of course I love transforming all kinds of baked goods into layer cake formation. This cake has three melt-in-your-mouth layers of buttermilk cake that’s filled with vanilla bean pastry filling (my addition), that’s covered in a traditional-style bakery frosting. Lastly, rainbow nonpareils are a must!
You’ll love how this cake melts in your mouth! It’s light and tender and moist thanks to the sour cream. Plus it’s made with the reverse creaming method which creates a tender but sturdy cake with an ultra fine crumb.
This vanilla bean pastry filling comes together pretty quickly and is easy to make. But take note, it does require time to chill and set up so plan accordingly. Leftover pastry cream makes perfect pudding desserts.
Pink Bakery-Style Frosting
You don’t need the super fancy buttercreams for this cake. The sugary stuff works well with this Mexican Pink Layer Cake and comes together quickly. This frosting will crust over the longer it sits out so be sure to cover the surface of the frosting with a damp paper towel if you don’t plan to use it right away.
- Center one cake layer on an 8-inch round cake board and place on a cake turntable with a nonslip mat.
- Fit a piping bag with a coupler and fill with frosting. Pipe a frosting dam around the edge of the cake.
- Fill with about 2/3 cup pastry cream and place the second cake layer on top. Pipe another frosting dam around the edge of the cake and fill with another 2/3 cup pastry filling. Place the last cake layer on top, bottom side up.
I always recommend applying a crumb coat to layer cakes. It seals in loose crumbs and gives the cake a great base to start the cake decorating process on. Apply a small amount of frosting to the cake, just enough to lightly cover it and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Cake Decorating Tools
Mexican Pink Layer Cake Baking Schedule
- Day 1: Bake cake layer and prepare filling.
- Day 2: Prepare frosting, assemble, decorate and serve.
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- 3 8-inch round cake pans
- Nonstick baking spray
- Stand mixer
- 4 cup liquid measuring cup
- 8-inch round cake board
- Cake turntable
- Nonslip mat
- Piping bag
- Rainbow nonpareils
- 3 cups (12 ounces/345 grams) cake flour
- 1 3/4 cups (12.25 ounces/350 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks/227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces/120 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 cups (16 ounces/454 grams) half and half
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/ 99 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds removed and reserved
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup/1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 cup (8 ounces/ 225grams)unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) shortening
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/4 cups (13 ounces/410 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces/120ml) heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Pink gel food coloring
- Adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 3 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment attached, add the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed to combine.
- Add the butter one tablespoon at a time to the mixer bowl, beating on low speed until all the butter has been incorporated, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a 4 cup liquid measuring cup, add the egg whites, vanilla extract, buttermilk and sour cream and whisk to combine.
- Add half of the buttermilk mixture into the mixer bowl and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add the remaining buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds until combined.
- Divide the cake batter between the prepared cake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (rotate cake pans a little over halfway through baking), or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
- Let cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes, then invert them onto cooling racks to cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, add half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla bean seeds and salt to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, combined the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Whisk in about 1 cup of the half-and-half mixture into the yolk mixture to temper. Slowly whisk in the tempered egg mixture into remaining half-and-half mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream is thick and bubbles start to pop on the surface, about 30 seconds.
- Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla bean and whisk in the butter. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours or up to 2 days.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment attached, beat the butter, shortening and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and almond extract and slowly mix until combined, about 1 minute.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Add pink gel food coloring and mix on low speed until combined.
- Center one cake layer on an 8-inch round cake board and place on a cake turntable with a nonslip mat. Fit a piping bag with a coupler and fill with frosting. Pipe a frosting dam around the edge of the cake. Fill with about 2/3 cup pastry cream and place the second cake layer on top. Pipe another frosting dam around the edge of the cake and fill with another 2/3 cup pastry filling. Place the last cake layer on top, bottom side up.
- Apply a light coating of frosting over the top and sides of the cake to seal in any loose cake crumbs. Freeze the cake for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Apply a generous amount of frosting to the top of the cake and slowly work down to the sides of the cake to cover. Use the back of a spoon to give the frosting some texture by pressing the spoon into the frosting and twirl as you lift away. Top the cake with rainbow sprinkles. Transfer the cake to a cake pedestal and serve.
Cake storage: Assembled cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 521mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 9g
*Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary.*