In honor of my Mom’s birthday last week and Mother’s day this weekend, I’ve made a cake fit for angels (or more so for mothers who are angels)! This cake was probably the first recipe I made with my grandmother for my Mom’s birthday as a small child…oh so many decades ago! Angel food cake is my mother’s absolute favorite, and I can’t see one with thinking of her. It’s the prefect vehicle for summer’s bounty of fruits. Whip up some cream and hulle fresh picked strawberries, and you have a dessert as light as air! However, sun filled berries aren’t quite at the farmer’s markets yet, so I’ve gone with an orange flavor this week.
Angel cake seems like a really lofty bake, only reserved for special occasions, but it’s very easy to make…and very quick. The only special thing you’ll need is an angel food cake pan. A non-stick bundt won’t do in this case. The cake rises during baking and crawls up the pan sides for support, so it needs to really stick!!! The upside to needing a special pan (of course any excuses for a new kitchen toy is enough for me…) is that you can offer this cake as a guilt free dessert! Have friends that eat egg-white omelettes? This is the cake for them. You’re basically eating lightly sweetened air and egg whites, which is one of the most delicious things on the planet! Who knew?
Let’s feel like angels…
Orange Angel Food Cake
Orange Angel Food Cake is light, airy dessert which highlights your favorite fruit wonderfully!
- standing mixer with whisk attachment
- 12 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 orange liquor
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 1/3 cups castor sugar
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- optional 2 Tablespoons orange liqueur
- standing mixer with whisk attachment
- angel food cake pan, don’t use a nonstick here!
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 350°F
- Step 2 First thing, separate the eggs. This is easiest if the eggs are cold, then let the whites sit at room temperature for about an hour. While you wait for the whites to warm up, sift the cake flour and salt together. Also, blitz the sugar in a food processor for a few minutes to make a really fine sugar, but not powder. (This step makes for a slightly lighter cake, but isn’t totally necessary.) Sift half of the sugar into the flour and set the rest aside.
- Step 3 Pour your whites into the standing mixer bowl with the water, orange liqueur, and cream of tartar. Whip on medium-high for two minutes. When the eggs gain a bit of volume, add the set aside sugar and orange zest to the whites. Keep whipping till soft peaks form. Remove bowl from mixer.
- Step 4 In thirds, sift the flour-sugar mixture over the top of the egg whites and gently fold to combine. Repeat until all of the flour is gone. Then, delicately spoon the batter into the angel food pan. A regular non-stick angel food pan is the best because the cake actually climbs up the sides of the pan while baking–don’t forget it’s mostly air. I do a layer on the bottom, and do another, and another. Smooth the top of the batter as well.
- Step 5
- Step 6 Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched. Immediately flip the cake over when taken out of the oven. This may seem crazy, but this helps the cake cool without collapsing. Now the bottom of the pan is usually a separate piece, so you may need to place the center tube on the top of a beer bottle to keep the bottom piece flush. (If the bottom isn’t supported it will squish the cooling cake.)
- Step 7 Let the cake cool for an hour before running a knife around the edge to release. Cool completely on a wire rack. While that’s happening, prepare the whipped cream by whipping the cream, orange liqueur, and a dash of sugar to taste until stiff. Decorate the cake with the cream as you see fit.
- Step 8 Enjoy!