Okay, so, I got this recipe from Taste of Home’s Annual Recipes for 2016, and they call it “Divine Angel Food Cake,” which is fine. But the minute I saw the recipe I was all like EASTER! because it was obviously a perfect special occasion springtime cake. Or at least the lemon version of the cake was plainly a great springtime choice. There are other variations, too — chocolate-filled and sherbet-filled — but it was the lemon that I thought was most tempting.
So I made this cake for Easter. I haven’t made an angel food cake since I was a teenager, I’m pretty sure, but it turned out great. So if you want a wonderful springtime cake, I totally think you should give it a try, even if that means you have to get a tube pan.
Lemon-Strawberry Angel Food Cake
12 egg whites (1 2/3 C) — I had about ten egg whites in the freezer waiting for this cake, and I certainly suggest you freeze extra egg whites if you happen to get them while cooking other stuff. Thaw them overnight in the fridge.
1 C cake flour (I used all-purpose)
1 1/2 C sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cream of tartar, which lasts forever in the pantry, so don’t hesitate to pick up a small bottle.
1/4 tsp salt
10 oz lemon curd
1/2 C heavy cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
4 oz mascarpone or cream cheese
1 C sliced fresh or frozen (drained) strawberries
1 C powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Okay, if you’re going to make your own lemon curd, like I did, then a day or so in advance you should make it according to, for example, this recipe. This will make lots more than you need for this cake, which is not a tragedy. If I happened to have a Meyer lemon, I would totally use that, but I used regular lemons for this cake.
Now, the night before you want to serve this cake, make the cake, like so:
Place the egg whites in a large bowl, like for example the bowl for your stand mixer, and let set at room temperature for thirty minutes. Meanwhile, stir 3/4 C of sugar into the flour and set that aside. Set the other 3/4 C sugar aside in a different small bowl.
Now preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Add the vanilla, cream of tarter, and salt to the egg whites. Beat on medium until soft peaks form. I actually beat it nearly on high, probably a little longer than I should have, but it was fine. You probably already know that “soft peaks” means that when you stop the beaters and lift them straight up, the egg white foam should come up in peaks and then fold over softly. Stiff peaks don’t fold over.
Okay, when you think soft peaks have more or less formed, add the plain 3/4 C sugar one Tbsp at a time. I added one Tbsp right after another with the mixer on high. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, which for me was as soon as I was done adding the sugar. Reduce the speed and fold in the flour-sugar mixture 1/2 C at a time. There you go, you’re ready to bake the cake.
Pour the batter into your ungreased, unfloured tube pan, smooth the top, and bake on the lowest oven rack for 45-50 minutes, until the top is pale gold and springs back when you touch it. Remove the pan from the over and immediately turn it upside down, balancing it on its tube or its little legs, whatever your tube pan requires. My pan (my mother’s actually), balances just fine on the tube. If you’re buying a pan, you might want to make sure it has some way to balance upside down.
Okay, anyway, you are now done with the cake! Leave it upside down in the pan and go to bed.
The next morning (or a couple of hours later), you can finish the cake. Cut around the edges of the pan and around the tube with a fillet knife or some reasonable facsimile thereof. Lift the cake out of the pan and put it on a platter. Mine cooperated beautifully.
Measure an inch down from the top and stick toothpicks around the cake. Cut the top inch off the cake and set that aside. Now use a paring knife or whatever to remove the interior of the cake, leaving a 1-inche shell all the way around. I got a little too close to the bottom of the cake, but it still worked, so whatever, but next time I would probably cut off just the top 3/4 inch and try to leave more below.
Obviously you can pause at this point to eat the extra cake bits. 100% of spaniels surveyed thought this was the best part.
Now, put the strawberries around the bottom of the tunnel.
Beat the 1/2 C heavy cream until soft peaks form, beat in the 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, soften and whip the cream cheese and beat that in. Stir in three oz of the lemon curd (or so, I didn’t measure). Layer some of this over the strawberries. You will have extra, which will be yummy with extra lemon curd and strawberries, layered in little glass dishes if you want to bother.
Now layer 7 ounces of lemon curd over the cream filling. I just used as much as I thought I could get away with. Replace the top of the cake and make a lemon glaze:
Whisk 1 C powdered sugar with 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice. Spoon over cake and let drip down the sides.
Chill the cake at least four hours. I don’t know how crucial that is; I can’t actually see any reason you couldn’t slice the cake at once, but it says four hours. I assembled this cake early in the morning and we had it for dessert for Easter dinner, so I know it will hold a lot longer than four hours if you want.
Very pretty, very good, and just right for a spring holiday.