Friday, January 22, 2010

Lemon Angel Food Cake

Lemon Angel Food Cake

400g Caster sugar (or superfine sugar) divided into 300g and 100g portions
165g Plain flour (or cake flour if you can get it)
1½ cups egg whites – I used large eggs and it came out as 10 egg whites
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp cream of tartar
¾ tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 large lemons (1½ tsp)

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Lightly grease and line 2 9” cake pans.

Mix 100g portion of sugar with the flour and sift together at least 4 times. You’re trying to get as much air into the cake as possible as no raising agents are used. So don’t skip on this step!

Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk (with the whisk attachment) on high until the whites for medium-firm peaks. With the mixer on medium, add the 300g portion of sugar, gently sprinkling it over the whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and glossy. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon zest and whisk for about 1 more minute until very thick.

Sift about ¼ of the flour mix over the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour in the same way until it has all been added and incorporated.

Divide between the two prepared tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 35-40 mins until the tops are golden brown and when pressed, springs back. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tins, then run a knife carefully around the edge and invert onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

Be very careful to try and avoid drafts in the kitchen when you’re removing the cakes from the oven and leaving them to cool as they might sink.

Cream Cheese Icing

225g unsalted butter at room temperature.
375g full fat cream cheese
600g Icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice half lemon
Zest of 2 lemons

Beat the butter, then add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, a good few minutes. Then add the lemon zest and juice. I did this gradually to ensure that I got as much lemon flavour as I wanted without it being too overpowering, but add slowly and keep tasting until you get the flavour you like.

I’m not sure what recipe my friend used, but here’s my go-to lemon curd recipe.

To ice the cake: Take a large, sharp knife and carefully cut the two cakes in half horizontally. Take some squares of parchment paper and place on the cake plate, then place the first layer on top. These parchment squares will be gently removed once you’ve iced the cake and a lovely clean cake board will be left! So make sure they’re just underneath the cake.

Spread a thin layer of lemon curd on the first layer, then a slightly thicker (but don’t be too heavy handed) layer of icing on top. Pop the next layer of cake, followed by curd, then icing. When you get to the last layer, only cover with icing and, if you like (or in my case if the cake needs it) ice the sides as well. This recipe should give you masses of icing. Gently pull away the parchment squares and voila! You’re done.

I think we could have done with popping the cake in the fridge to set, but we had to dash off and transport the cake to Peterborough. There was some sliding of layers issues which you can probably spot on the slice of cake picture! 

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