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Sand Bucket Angel Food Cake


This cake is covered with frosting made of butter and cream cheese and is topped with an iced angel-food starfish. Chewy crabs burrow into the sides. Salt-water taffy is sprinkled around the cake.

  • Servings: 14

Source: Martha Stewart Kids, Summer/Fall


  • 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces jelly candies, 1 3/4-inch diameter
  • 2 ounces shortbread cookies, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon round sprinkles, optional
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack placed in lower third. Line bottom of a 10-inch diameter tube or angel-food cake pan with parchment; set aside. Sift together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. Resift into a medium bowl.

  2. In electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Beat in cream of tartar and vanilla. Increase mixer speed to medium-high; beat until whites are nearly stiff, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low, and then beat in remaining cup of sugar, two tablespoons at a time, until peaks are stiff but not dry.

  3. Sift reserved flour mixture over egg-white mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold mixture until all the flour is incorporated. Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Run a knife through the batter, touching the bottom of the pan, to eliminate air pockets. Smooth the top with a spatula.

  4. Bake until top of cake is golden and the cake springs back when pressed lightly, 35 to 40 minutes. (If top begins to darken, tent with foil.) Invert pan onto its legs or hang it over the neck of a bottle or funnel; let cake stand upside down in the pan until completely cool, about 1 hour. Run a knife around the sides of the cake; remove cake onto large cake plate or cake stand, widest end down; set aside. Repeat recipe to make a second angel food cake.

  5. While second cake is baking, use crab-shaped cutter to cut 20 crabs from jelly candies. Set aside. Remove cooled second cake from pan; trim arched golden side so it is level. Place on top of first cake, trimmed side down. To shape the bucket, place 6-inch plate on top of cake for a cutting guide. Starting at edge of plate, use a serrated knife to cut a straight line down at a diagonal to bottom of 10-inch base. (Bottom layer gets trimmed very little.) Work around cake until sides are even. Reserve the trimmings to use for the starfish cutout that sits on top of the cake.

  6. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter until soft. Sift in sugar; add vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Frosting may be made up to 1 day ahead. Rebeat frosting before using.

  7. Using a clean, dry brush, brush crumbs from trimmed cake. Remove top layer; set aside. Using an offset spatula, frost top of bottom layer with 3 tablespoons frosting. Replace top cake. Frost entire cake with a thin layer to seal. Refrigerate until crumb coat of frosting is firm, about 20 minutes. Frost cake with a thicker layer, saving 2 tablespoons for starfish for top of cake.

  8. Tilt cake; dust side with cookie crumbs. Apply candy crabs around sides. From reserved cake trimmings, use 3 1/2-inch star cutter to cut out starfish. Frost with reserved frosting; dust with sprinkles, then cookie crumbs. Place on top of the cake.

  9. To serve cake, cut through one layer at a time, cutting halfway down.

Cook's Notes

To make this cake you will need to bake 2 angel food cakes. Boxed shortbread cookies work well for the decorative and "sand" that covers the cake. For the crabs, we used round jelly candies, sliced in half crosswise and cut with a crab-shape cookie cutter.

Reviews Add a comment

  • sarahfrances4
    5 NOV, 2009
    Where can I find the crab cake cookie cutter in this size? I have looked and I can only find a 5-inch crab cookie cutter.
  • Rochelle46
    29 NOV, 2007
    What happens if the cake falls out of the pan when inverted to cool? I can't find an old-fashioned untreated cake pan. They all seem to have a non-stick Teflon coating. When ever I turn the cake over to hang to cool, they fall out. How can I avoid this from happening?