Pink Angels – A Devilishly Sweet Square Recipe


30 Aug Pink Angels – A Devilishly Sweet Square Recipe

Pink Angels, a devilishly sweet square - The Messy Baker

Pink. I hate it. It’s yet another carry over from my childhood. Every time I wore any shade of fuschia, magenta or bubble-gum some well-meaning adult would put a hand to my forehead and ask me if I was feeling all right. Classmates? They’d just tell me to get a tan. If you grew up with encouragement like this, you too would  learn to loathe pink in all its rosy glory.

But when it comes to food? I’m a little more accepting. I figure pink’s okay if it goes in me, not on me.

These Pink Angels (also known as Pink Sin or Pink Ladies*) are a classic Canadian goodie most often found at church functions. Exceptionally sweet, these squares have no nutritional value, will corrode your tooth enamel before you’ve swallowed, and can send your blood sugar through the roof. However, if you like your sweets sweet, you’ll find them so tasty you’ll be willing to risk it all — even the red food colouring.

Got a colour you hate? Go on vent. Then have one of these. They’ll sweeten you up again right away.

Pink Angels. Sweet as hell.  The Messy Baker

Pink Angels – A Square Recipe
Recipe type: Baking
Cuisine: Canadian
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
These classic Canadian squares go by many names such as Pink Sin or Pink Ladies. After much debate, I decided to call mine Pink Angels since they're pink, devilishly sweet, and you have to beat the devil out of the icing.
Crumb Base
  • 1 cup graham wafer crumbs
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
Coconut Layer
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 (330 mL) can sweetened condensed milk
Butter Icing
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cups icing sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup milk, whole or 2%
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 or so drops red food colouring
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
Crumb Base
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the graham crumbs, sugar and flour. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and mix to combine well. Press the crumb base firmly into the pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the base smells toasty and is just beginning to brown.
  2. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack until the base is cool enough to touch. While the base cools, turn the oven down to 300°F.
Coconut Layer
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the coconut and condensed milk together with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined. Spread the coconut mixture over the cooled graham base. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the coconut layer is golden around the edges.
  2. Cool on a wire rack until room temperature. Refrigerate if necessary but do not ice if the coconut layer is still warm.
Butter Icing
  1. This icing works best if made with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, but you can use an electric mixer. To achieve a light icing, beat for a good 2 minutes after each addition.
  2. Beat the butter for 2 minutes on high.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and add the icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Once all the icing sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat for 2 more minutes.
  4. Mix the milk and vanilla together, add it to the icing and beat for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the food colouring and beat for 2 to 4 minutes or until the icing is very light and fluffy. Add as much colouring as you need to obtain the correct colour of pink.
  6. Spread the icing over the cooled coconut layer. Refrigerate to set the icing and then cut into squares.


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  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 14:03h, 30 August Reply

    Dear Charmian,
    I found these are better at room temp than right out of the fridge.
    Love from your sweet tooth sister.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:27h, 31 August Reply

      @Robin Smart, we make a great team. I like them cold from the fridge, so I get the first round. You like them room temp, you get the second round. Between the two of us? We’ll keep the dentist happy.

    • Danielle
      Posted at 17:23h, 07 March Reply

      I just stumbled on this recipe after following a link from Manifest Vegan. THANK YOU! You made my day. This dish is a staple Christmas cake in my family. My grandmother used to make it every year no question and when she died I began to make it. Seeing this post almost made me cry.

      • Danielle
        Posted at 17:24h, 07 March Reply

        We called them the “pink cake”, always a hit and a hop skip and jump away from a triple bypass….

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 19:12h, 07 March Reply

          Pink cake is a new one. I know they go by many, many names. I’ll add that to the tag section in case anyone else is searching. And yes, I make no health claims with this recipe. Eat at your own risk :-)

      • Charmian Christie
        Posted at 19:11h, 07 March Reply

        I know how you feel. My grandmother made a butterscotch cookie — but no one can replicate it. If I ever stumbled across the recipe I’d cry for sure.

        Funny that you came to this recipe through a vegan link. They’re not vegan. But they are tasty! Thanks again for commenting and sharing your reaction.

  • Angelique from Bitchin' Kitchen
    Posted at 14:14h, 30 August Reply

    Hey Charmian!

    It’s been a while. But, I just had to comment on this recipe! U had me at ‘beat the devil out of the icing’! I’m a horrible baker, but love sweets… so I will be trying this one… let’s hope it comes out right!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:37h, 31 August Reply

      @Angelique from Bitchin’ Kitchen, great to hear from you. Have fun making these. As long as you let the coconut layer cool before adding the icing it’s hard to go wrong with this recipe.

  • torviewtoronto
    Posted at 15:44h, 30 August Reply

    delicious dessert
    lovely pink

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:38h, 31 August Reply

      @torviewtoronto, thanks. It is a pretty pink providing I’m not wearing it.

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites
    Posted at 11:28h, 31 August Reply

    Can I go to your church? I’ve never seen anything this good at any church basement reception I’ve been to.

    Love the pink! I only embraced it when I became pregnant. Go figure.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:36h, 01 September Reply

      @Aimee @ Simple Bites, did you embrace pink because you were having a girl? Just curious.

      I’ve been to a lot of funerals lately. From what I can tell this square is popular with Lutherans. There’s gotta be a better way to conduct food research.

  • Jenny (VintageSugarcube)
    Posted at 17:12h, 01 September Reply

    Those are absolutely gorgeous! I’m drinking a cup of coffee and sooo wish I had one right about NOW!!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:37h, 01 September Reply

      @Jenny (VintageSugarcube), you won’t need sugar in your coffee with one of these on the side.

  • Jessica
    Posted at 14:02h, 02 September Reply

    Delicious! These beautiful pink squares are masquerading as “angels” but they’re really devils in disguise! They are making me want them right now…! lol

  • Paula
    Posted at 14:48h, 03 September Reply

    Christie, this looks so delicious! I love such cakes and I`m going to do this soon! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:10h, 05 September Reply

      @Paula, hope you like them. These are very sweet, so you either love them with a passion or move quickly onto the shortbreads.

  • Leanna
    Posted at 22:11h, 04 September Reply

    These look AMAZING!!!!!!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:11h, 05 September Reply

      @Leanna, it’s the icing, isn’t it? I’ve seen versions with just a smear of icing and am not tempted. But this? Go big or go home with these guys.

  • Mary Ann Cormican
    Posted at 22:10h, 24 September Reply

    I want to know what is Icing Sugar is it the course sugar??? I want to make these for a bake sale for work to earn money for our kitchen equipment. We are earning the money ourselves to get the updated equiment we need for our oudated kitchen. In October we are having a Pink bake sale since October is Cancer month. I need more recipes than are PINK.
    Thanks, Mary Ann

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 22:26h, 24 September Reply

      @Mary Ann Cormican, icing sugar is also called confectioner’s sugar. It’s a powdery sugar used for icing and frostings.

      Good luck with your fund raiser!

  • filiz
    Posted at 02:33h, 07 November Reply

    The pictures are lovely and I love pink..But you did reminded me of my daughter. Most of the time I dressed her up in pink and she did not mind when she was a little girl. But know that she is 21 years old she can not stand pink and any color closer to pink. What a big damage I have done to my daughter :) I still think pink is beautiful on her but she doesn’t agree with me. Sorry your post bring some of my memories back..
    I am going to try your recipe ASAP because of my love for this color:)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:30h, 07 November Reply

      @filiz, your story made me smile. When I wear pink I look very pale, but I adore pink flowers and have my garden crammed with pink roses, phlox, echinacea, checker mallow, hollyhocks, weigela, spirea…

      Hope you like the recipe. And make that icing as pink as you like. I’m sure your daughter will find pink in this form acceptable.

  • the honey nut
    Posted at 00:06h, 31 May Reply

    While I don’t quite share the same thoughts on the color pink, I do think these bars look awesome!!! These turned out so cute and sound amazing!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:47h, 31 May Reply

      I’m betting you look great in pink :-) These bars really stand out amidst a sea of brown cookies. If you do make them, I’d love to know if you think they taste as good as they look. Happy baking.

  • Shers
    Posted at 21:38h, 23 July Reply

    My mom and aunt always made these but they used maraschino cherry juice instead of milk to make the icing. I think it cuts the sweet and adds a little flavour.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:46h, 23 July Reply

      That’s smart. I’ve never tried that version before but it makes sense. Thanks so much for sharing your family trick. My brother-in-law loves maraschino cherries and would give this suggestion two enthusiastic thumbs up!

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