Monday, January 25, 2010

Orange Angel Food Cake with all the Fixings

For about the past year, I've been saving egg whites for this cake. Any time I made something like pudding (or anything else that just used yolks), I'd put the whites in a glass jar in my freezer. On the lid, I'd keep a tally mark about how many whites were inside until the jar was full. The jar filled up a couple months ago. That left me to wait for oranges in our CSA box.

Saturday, I had the oranges, the whites, and the time to make this cake. I splurged and bought some tropical fruit at Central Market (oh, how I love blood oranges...) and set about making this cake. I didn't buy the passion fruit for it, it cost way too much and I didn't miss it (since I've never had passion fruit).

Today, Monday, the cake is gone. All that is left is a pint jar 3/4 full of caramel sauce (mmm...I'll have fun using that!). This was probably one of the best angel food cakes I've ever had. It was light and airy and seemed to melt in my mouth. It had nice flavor between the orange zest and the vanilla. (My cousin made homemade vanilla extract for all the cousins for Christmas this year. It is incredible!! My vanilla is made with bourbon and Madagascar vanilla beans. I need to try making my own vanilla sometime!)

Orange Angel Food Cake with all the Fixings
from Bon Appetit

Caramel Sauce
1 c sugar
1/3 c water
1 c heavy whipping cream
2 T butter
3/4 t ground cardamom (optional)
pinch of salt

Angel Food Cake
1 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 c cake flour
1/4 t salt
1 1/3 c egg whites (about 9 large)
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1 c superfine sugar
1 T finely grated orange peel
1 1/2 vanilla

Tropical Fruit Compote
2 blood oranges
3 ripe passion fruits
1 kiwi, peeled, quartered lengthwise, then cut into 1/2" slices
1 c 1/2-inch cubes mango
1/2 c 1/2-inch cubes pineapple
1 - 2 T sugar
1 T fresh mint, chopped
pinch of salt

For the sauce (you can make this as much in advance as you want, just heat slightly before serving): Combine sugar and 1/3 c water in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until syrup is deep amber, swirling the pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush occasionally. Remove from heat. Carefully add the cream. Put the pan back on low heat and stir until the caramel bits have dissolved and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat, stir in butter, cardamom and a pinch of salt. Stir until butter melts. Bring to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator until you use it.

For the cake: Sift powdered sugar, flour, and salt 3 times. Place in a medium bowl. (The sifter shown below is your best friend for this recipe).

Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tarter and beat until whites are opaque and soft peaks form (Soft peaks=when pulled up with a spoon, a peak forms briefly and then gently droops over back into the whites). Gradually add superfine sugar, beating until whites are thick and shiny and fluffy peaks form. (Fluffy peaks=whites hold the peak shape, but the very tip falls back into the whites. The shiny appearance is very helpful in determining this--you don't want the whites to start looking dull, that means you've over beaten it.) Add the orange peel and the vanilla and beat until just blended. Sift in 1/4 of the flour over whites. Use a large rubber spatula to gently fold the flour into the whites (gentleness is the key--you don't want the whites to deflate). Repeat with remaining flour mixture in three more additions. Transfer batter to an ungreased 10-inch diameter angel food cake pan with removable bottom and 4-inch high sides. Smooth out top with a rubber spatula. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 50 minutes, or until cake is golden and springy to touch.

When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately invert center of pan on a bottle neck. Cool completely, then gently remove from pan, inverting onto a cake stand or serving dish.

For the compote: Cut all peel and white pith from the oranges. Using a small sharp knife and working over a bowl to catch juices, cut between membranes to release orange segments into a bowl. Squeeze remaining juice from membranes into bowl. Cut passion fruits in half; scoop out pulp and add to orange segments. Add remaining fruits, sugar, mint, and a pinch of salt. Toss gently to combine.

To serve the whole thing: Put a generous slice of cake on a plate. Cover with compote and drizzle caramel over top. Aaaaahhh.


Sharon said...

Freezing egg whites! What a great idea!

Darcy said...

No wonder the cake went so quickly, it looks as though curtis just gave up on slices and went right for the kill.