If I am going to bake Devils Food Cake one week, then surely Angel Food Cake also deserves a slot?! This is a cake I had never heard of until my son was born in South Korea. (That’s where the angel connection starts & stops as you all hum the Carpenters “on the day that you born the angles came together, and decided to create a dream come true…., sprinkling star dust and the like about the place!) He was our first born, we were many thousands of miles away from our familys but were lucky enough to be surrounded by friends from around the world who minded us, spoiled us and generally made the whole first baby away from home thing very very easy.
One such couple were Gary & Monica from America. They bought us our first stroller / buggy and invited us to dinner on the American Base in Seoul many many weekends, where I incidentally, discovered Long Island Iced teas, Cobb Salads and the beauty that is a truly well (as in properly) cooked rare fillet steak. When it came around to our first borns first birthday, we were invited around to their riverside apartment for a birthday tea and this is where we discovered Angel cake. Monica apparently baked this cake each year for her, by this stage, adult son. We were honored for her to continue the tradition with ours.
15 years have rolled by, we have long since left Seoul and our close Seoul friends are now close Facebook friends around the world, and we come to the first borns Birthday again. So this year, in honour of friends near and far, of Gary & Monica and their family and of teenage birthdays, we eat Angel Cake once more.
This is a cake that requires A LOT of egg whites. But it is the lightest, most impressive dessert cake you can possibly bake. The only slight flaw is that it really should be eaten quickly – it doesn’t last well, tasting at its lightest, tastiest best on the day its baked. It will serve about 10 / 12 people so it makes an ideal birthday cake dessert. It happens to be totally fat free, bar all the whipped cream and delicious homemade lemon curd you pour on top. But technically this qualifies as a ‘fat free’ cake. Just saying.
(And Happy Birthday to my 15 year old “Angel” too!)
125g/4½oz plain flour
300g/10½oz caster sugar
10 large free-range egg whites
2 large lemons, grated zest only
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp salt
DO NOT GREASE YOUR TIN.
(Contrary to every baking instinct in your body – this cake needs to bake in a grease free, non baking parchment tin, where the meringue like batter will cling and crawl up the side of the pan to emerge TALL and airy)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 (fan 160C) and arrange an oven shelf in the bottom third of the oven. Sift the flour and 100g/3½oz of the caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk or mixer on a high speed for one minute until frothy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Increase the speed and add the remaining 200g/7oz of caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks.
- Sprinkle over one-third of the flour mixture and fold gently to combine. Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the flour mixture folding gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
- Transfer the batter to a 25cm/10in angel food cake pan.(A straight sided pan is better – I had to make do with this one, but it worked out fine)
- Gently run a knife through the centre of the batter to remove any pockets of air. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and immediately turn upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs, or place over the neck of a wine bottle. Leave to cool for at least one hour.
- Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of cake to remove it from the pan. Invert onto a plate. Carefully use a palette knife to separate the cake from the base of the pan. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- For the topping, whisk the cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the topping over the angel food cake and, using a palette knife, coat the top and sides of the cake, smoothing as you go.
- Decorate with fresh strawberries (I had a punnet of these ready to decorate the cake with but they all dissappeared before the cake was cool enough to slather with whipped cream), fresh lemon curd and possibly passion fruit squeezed over the top.
- Remember to checkout the home page to see if anything else takes your fancy!