Those Cortadillos (Mexican Pink Cake) are so soft and delicious, filled with strawberry jam and decorated with pink & black icing and sprinkles. They are the perfect pan dulce to enjoy with coffee, tea, or milk!
Cortadillos is a type of cake that is popular in Mexico, particularly in the northern regions of the country. It has a vanilla, lemony taste and is covered with pink icing and colorful sprinkles.
This Mexican pink cake is usually cut into squares or triangles and is sold in Mexican bakeries called “Panaderías” along with many other types of pan dulce (sweet bread).
The icing is usually white or pink, which is the reason this cake is often called “Pastel de Niños”. Sometimes a pink frosting buttercream is used instead of the thin pink icing.
Cortadillo pan dulce is often enjoyed as a breakfast or dessert pastry and is typically served with a hot beverage, such as café de olla, hot chocolate, or a glass of milk. It is a delicious and popular sweet pastry in Mexico.
- All-purpose flour (300 gr – 2 cups)
- White sugar (300 gr – 1 ½ cups)
- Medium eggs (6 pieces, 300. Or 4 large eggs)
- Whole milk (150 ml – ⅔ cup)
- Vegetable oil (240 ml – 1 cup)
- Baking powder (3 tsp.)
- Baking soda (1 tsp.)
- Salt (½ tsp.)
- Vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lemon (3 tbsp.)
For the frosting and filling:
- Confectioner’s sugar (175 gr – 1 ⅓ cup)
- Whole milk (3-4 tbsp.)
- Butter melted (2 tbsp.)
- Red food coloring
- Strawberry jam (200 gr – 1 cup)
How To Make Cortadillos Cake
Grease a 16×12 inch (40cm x 31cm) rectangular cake pan. Preheat your oven to 360F (180°C) and place the rack in the middle.
In a large bowl, sift the flour together with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Place the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest in a separate bowl.
Mix at high speed until it forms a light, yellow, and foamy mixture (see the video).
Add oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, milk, and lemon juice. Mix at low speed to combine everything.
Add the flour in three parts, mixing a little between each addition to form a batter.
Top Tip: Don’t overmix. Overmixing will deflate the eggs and make the batter too dense, resulting in a chewy thicker cake instead of the fluffy and soft texture it’s supposed to have.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake between 20 to 25 minutes (depending on your oven) or until nicely golden on top, and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.
Take the pan with the cake out of the oven and place it on a rack. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Carefully, remove the homemade cake from the pan and place on the cooling rack. Allow to cool down completely. Once cooled, cut the cake in half to make two rectangles.
Add the filling
Distribute the jam on top of one of the halves covering it very well. Carefully place the other half of the cake on top and press a little to stick them and keep them in place.
Now, cut the cake into two squares if you want to decorate it with two different colors, otherwise, leave it in one piece.
Place the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl, and add milk and two tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk until the ingredients are nicely combined.
Divide the icing into two bowls. In one of the bowls add the food colorant one drop at a time and mix very well to integrate it until the desired degree of color is achieved.
Sprinkle with the colored sprinkles on top and let the cake sit for at least an hour.
Tip: Make sure you add the sprinkles immediately when the icing is still moist so they will stick nicely.
After the resting time and when you see that the glaze has completely dried, cut the bread into squares (cortadillos) or triangles and serve.
- Sift the dry ingredients: Sifting the flour, baking powder & soda, and other dry ingredients together will help to aerate them and create a lighter cake.
- Use room temperature ingredients: Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking. Room-temperature ingredients will emulsify more easily and create a lighter, fluffier cake.
- Don’t overmix the batter: Once you’ve added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix just until everything is combined. Overmixing can cause the cake to be tough and dense.
- Don’t open the oven door: While the cake is baking, resist the urge to open the oven door in the first 30 minutes. Opening the door can cause the cake to sink and become dense.
- Use a kitchen scale: While I give you the measurements in cups too, I highly recommend that you use a kitchen scale.
- Allow the icing to rest: Let the frosting dry completely before cutting the cortadillos, so the cut is even and clean.
How To Store Mexican Pink Cake
Store cortadillos in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat, or humidity. I don’t like to store in the refrigerator unless it is absolutely necessary, as refrigeration can dry out the cake.
To prevent cortadillos from drying out or becoming stale, cover them with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Freezing: You can also freeze cortadillo pan dulce. Wrap each square tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil, and place them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to serve, let them thaw at room temperature before removing the wrapping.
By following these tips, you can help to preserve the freshness and appearance of these delicious Mexican cortadillos.
What means cortadillos?
Cortadillos is a Spanish word that refers to a type of small pastry. The word “cortadillo” comes from the Spanish verb “cortar,” which means “to cut,” and refers to the fact that these pastries are often cut into small pieces.
How many calories are in Mexican pink cake?
One serving of this Mexican pink cake has 472Kcal as per the recipe.
More Mexican Cake Recipes
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Cortadillos (Mexican Pink Cake)
For the cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (300g)
- 1 ½ cups white sugar (300g)
- 6 medium eggs (300 gr aprox.)
- ⅔ cup whole milk (150ml)
- 1 cup vegetable oil (240ml)
- 3 teaspoons baking powder (9g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon lemon, zest
- 3 Tablespoon lemon juice
For the filling and decorating:
- 1 cup strawberry or apricot jam (200g)
- 1 ⅓ cup confectioner's sugar (175g)
- 3-4 Tablespoons whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- red food coloring (as needed)
- Sprinkles (as needed)
- Grease a 16 × 12 inch (40cm x 31cm) rectangular cake pan. Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C) and place the rack in the middle.
Make the batter
- Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Put the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest in a separate bowl.
- Mix on high speed until it forms a light yellow foamy cream (see video).
- Add the oil, vanilla, milk, and lemon juice. Mix on low speed to integrate everything.
- Add the flour in three parts, Mixing a little on low speed to combine it into the egg mixture between each addition.
- Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for between 20 to 25 minutes (depending on your oven) or until you see that the bread has reached a golden-brownish color on the surface and when you insert a toothpick in the center it comes out completely clean.
- Take the cake out of the oven and place it on a rack. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then carefully remove it and place it on the rack. Let it cool completely.
Fill & decorate
- Cut the cake in half and distribute the jam on top of one of the halves covering it very well.
- Carefully place the other half of the cake on top and press a little to stick them to each other.
- *If you are going to decorate Cortadillos with two different colors of icing, the next step is to cut the cake in two again*.
- Place the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl, and add the milk and the two tablespoons of butter. Whisk until the ingredients are combined.
- Add the food colorant one drop at a time and mix very well to integrate it until the desired degree of color is achieved.
- Add the icing on the surface of the cake and with a spatula distribute it very well to cover it nicely.
- Sprinkle with the colored sprinkles on top and let the cake sit for 30-40 minutes.
- After the resting time and when you see that the glaze has completely dried, cut the cake into squares or triangles and serve.
- Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking.
- Don’t overmix the batter, overmixing can cause the cake to be tough and dense.
- Don’t open the oven door in the first 30 minutes when baking the cake.
- Use a kitchen scale for best results.
- Let the frosting dry completely before cutting the cortadillos, so the cut is even and clean.