“They “say that April showers bring May flowers but I think they bring April Angel Food Cake. Call me crazy but spring seems like the perfect time to dust off the angel food pan, use up those egg whites in the frig or freezer and whip up one of my favorite classic desserts. That’s right this #baketogether is old-school baby (spoken in a Cake Boss kinda way). April is a celebratory month what with Passover and Easter quickly approaching and, for me, it’s also birthday month! Alex and T were born 3 days short of 3 years apart – A on the 23rd and T on the 20th. This cake will be the perfect dessert for all these occasions. Oh, and if you don’t have any whites hanging around, crack open a few fresh eggs and use the yolks to make a killer curd to serve alongside this cake. Check out my curd recipe on FineCooking.com
And speaking of companionship.. I’ve added a second recipe to this month’s #baketogether. No, not because I want you all to work yourselves to the bone but because I think this cake deserves a little dose of friendship especially if it’s in the form of a bittersweet, salty and boozy caramel sauce. That’s right.. this killer sauce has a good shot of Grand Marnier in it but… you might want to make it espresso… or raspberry. You know.. be all kinds of #baketogether-y with it. And, just to make things really interesting, check out this technique. If you’ve ever wanted to make a caramel sauce “dry”, now is your chance. It’s the same as making a regular sauce but you don’t add any water to the sugar which allows the crystals to melt and caramelize nice and slowly. I’ve included a few pix to guide you through this process – check ’em out below. It’s a few more than usual so I made them smaller. Please let me know if you think there are too many or if you’d prefer them ‘normal’ size.
If you are new to #Baketogether – Welcome! We are a very inclusive group of happy bakers and I just know you’ll have fun. Subscribe to my rss feed so you stay in-the-know and check out this post for some info on how we #baketogether.
Here are a few suggestions for switching things up:
- Change the shape: Maybe you want to try making angel cake layers or muffins or loaves.. Go on.. give it a try.
- Add more or different flavors: Adding citrus zest or finely chopped herbs like lemon basil to the batter is an easy addition. Or, you can really shake things up and go with coffee, almond, cocoa .. maybe all three. Who knows?
- Add texture: finely ground nuts, cornmeal or poppy seeds can add complexity as well as texture to the cake. If you are going here, I’d fold them in at the end.
- Change the sauce: Move over to another flavor entirely ( chocolate? Fruit?) or monkey around with this “dry” caramel sauce.
- Add a drizzle or a glaze: Any complimentary flavor will be great.
So here’s your chance to chose one or both recipes to make your own. And, remember, here at #baketogether, we love all shapes, sizes and flavors equally so put on your thinking caps and start planing Tangerine Angel Food Cake #Baketogether right now. Let me know when the cake is cooled and I’ll be right over. As always, if you need further guidance or inspiration, give me a holler!
To those that celebrate, Happy Passover and Happy Easter! And to A and T, in case you are reading.. Happy Birthday babies.
ps.. My first give away is coming soon.. bakers are going to love it!
I thought a few hints and pix would help you before you dive into the recipes.
For the cake:
- Start with uber clean mixer and beater. I rinse both with cold water and a good splash of vinegar (I use cider or white) to rid them of any hint of grease and dry with a clean towel.
For the Sauce:
- The crystals are beginning to melt around the edges
- Almost there and it’s time to swirl.
- Check out the color.
- Careful. The caramel really bubbles up when you add the cream and butter and the steam can cause some damage so please stand back.
- I use my flat whisk to smooth and blend the sauce but any wire whisk will work.
- The best and easiest way to clean the pan and whisk is to add water to the skillet and place over medium high heat and boil until the caramel is dissolved.
Tangerine Angel Food Cake with Bittersweet Caramel Sauce
Makes one voluptuous, 10-inch cake or about 12 servings.
For the cake:
1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
11 large (1 1/3 cups) egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup (7 ounces) superfine sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated tangerine zest
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the sauce (makes 1 1/2 cups):
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream, warmed
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 -3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Good pinch of Fleur de Sel
To make the cake:
Heat oven to 350. Have ready an 10 x 4–inch angel food cake pan. If the pan doesn’t have feet to support it while cooling the cake, have ready a bottle or funnel to hold the pan in a level, upside-down position.
Sift ( just a regular old sieve will work here) together the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt three times (no joke – THREE times) onto a sheet of parchment, waxed paper or foil and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increasing speed to medium, and beat until whites are opaque and climbing about half way up the bowl (the tracks from the whisk will be beginning to hold their shape) forming very soft peaks. Continue beating while slowly and continuously adding the superfine sugar. Beat on medium high until the whites are thick, shiny and form medium-firm, fluffy peaks. (The peaks should droop over gently.) Do not over beat. You want to leave some room for those whites to expand in the oven. Add the tangerine zest and vanilla. Beat just until blended, about 10 seconds.
Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture over the beaten whites. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the whites. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, one quarter at a time.
Using the spatula to gently coax the batter, pour evenly into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake until the cake is light golden brown and the cake is springy when touched, about 40 minutes. Immediately invert the pan onto the counter if the pan has feet or if it doesn’t, invert the pan sliding the center tube onto the neck of the bottle. Let cool completely.
To remove the cake, rotate the pan, gently tapping the bottom edge of the cake pan on the counter as you turn it until the cake loosens from the pan. If necessary, run a long, thin knife between the cake and the pan and around the inside of the tube to loosen the cake. Slip the cake from the pan and gently lift it up from the center of the pan and arrange on a flat serving plate.
To make the sauce:
In a medium, heavy skillet,spread the sugar in an even layer. Cook over low heat until the sugar is melted and the caramel is deep brown, about 10 minutes. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. If sugar crystals form around the edge of the pan, wash down with a clean pastry brush dipped in water. Boil without stirring until the liquid turns deep amber in color, about 5 minutes.
As the mixture darkens, gently swirling (not stirring) the pan over the heat to caramelize evenly. (I like to test the color by putting a drop or two on a white plate. If the caramel is too light in color, the sauce will be too sweet – too dark and it will be bitter.) Slide the pan from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and spatter and the steam will be very hot. Using a long-handled wooden spoon, stir gently until the caramel is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, cardamom and salt. Set aside to cool. Use warm or at room temperature or cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Cut the cooled cake using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. (I’d say you can use an angel food knife but I don’t think anyone has those any more.) Serve slices of cake drizzled with the warm or room temperature caramel sauce.
Via Jennifer:I made a carrot angel food cake, with multi-colored carrots (red, yellow, and orange). The weight and moisture of the carrots did prevent the cake from rising as much as usual, but it still worked out well enough.I made a double batch of buttermilk glaze, poured half of it over the cooled cake then took the other half and beat it into a brick of cream cheese, to make a frosting.
Via DrBabs: I was with my brother-in-law last weekend for Passover. He’s an amazing baker. The changes we made were to make it kosher. We used matzo cake meal in place of flour, and made Passover-friendly confectioner’s sugar by putting 1 1/4 cup of granulated sugar minus 4 tablespoons with 4 tablespoons of potato starch into a blender, and voila! 1 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar. (Actually a little more.) To up the orange flavor, we added fior di sicilia, a wonderful orange extract (about a teaspoon). We also beat the egg whites with a teaspoon of kosher salt instead of cream of tartar because I don’t like the taste of cream of tartar, and the salt helps the whites beat up really well).
Via Nickelmoon: Here is what I learned from this one: 1.Use only fresh eggs-the fine print on egg whites sold in stores says they WON’T beat up for cakes. 2. DO NOT grease the pan…had to search for that one…preparing the pan as you would for other cakes, doesn’t work with egg white based cakes because they need to “grip” to rise. 3. There is a fine line to over-beating. 4. You CAN freeze egg yolks. 5. Everyone loves this cake—evokes memories of a kinder time.
Spicy Angel’s Cake: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice and black pepper as well as some homemade squash butter. Softly spicy with a hint of heat.