Lemon Angel Food Cake

Posted by Brette in Food

Martha Stewart Living has done away with the Dessert of the Month, renaming the last page of the magazine “Save Room for” (personally I liked the idea of a dessert of the month better). The May column is about Lemony Angel Food Cake. I’ve never liked angel food cake. It seemed dry and tasteless to me. Why bother with dessert if it isn’t going to be good? So, I felt some trepidation about making this. Would it taste like sawdust? Will it be bad?

I ended up making this to distract myself the day of my grandmother’s wake. It didn’t start until late afternoon and I needed something to do to keep me busy.  There was a going to be a family dinner afterwards and this seemed like it would be a nice contribution.

The first step was buying an angel food cake pan. I found one at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $14.99 (minus my 20% off coupon).

I began by whipping the egg whites – all 12 of them. Next you add lemon juice, lemon zest, cream of tartar, vanilla and salt and then you whip them to soft peaks. This went quickly. The next step is to add sugar gradually and then to sprinkle with a flour/sugar mix and fold it in.

Confession time. This was a difficult day for me and I obviously did not read the recipe carefully. The recipe calls for cake flour. I missed that part and just used regular flour. I didn’t discover this until the cake was in the oven. Yikes! Would it be too heavy? Would it fail to rise? I was a nervous wreck. Not to mention I was worried about serving this to my family if it was a disaster!

The cake came out of the oven and looked ok. I let it rest upside down and then removed it from the pan and it miraculously came right out.

Once the cake was cooled, I was ready to make the frosting. And here is where I had a conundrum. The frosting for this cake is really just whipped cream with some sugar, lemon juice, zest, salt and flour in it.  How could I put what is essentially whipped cream on a cake and then let it sit in my car for 4  1/2 hours? So I ended up making up the whipped cream and putting it in a small cooler with lots of blue ice and taking it along.

I did not make the candied lemon-peel flowers. So shoot me.

We got through the wake and then went to my grandmother’s house for a buffet-style dinner with family and friends. I put the cake on the counter and the frosting in the fridge. When I was about halfway through eating my dinner, my son came and reported that dessert had been set out and they put my cake out unfrosted. Emergency! Off I ran. I yanked the cake off the table and flew to the kitchen where I slapped the frosting on it then set it back on the table. By the time I got back with the camera to take a photo, it had been decimated. I was able to get a piece of it and that’s all I got a photo of.

lemon-angel-cakeI remained skeptical about this cake until I had my first bite. It was wonderful! It was moist, just sweet enough, very lemony, and very light. It probably would have been even lighter if I had used cake flour, but I don’t think anyone noticed. The frosting was light and creamy and smooth. It added just the right touch to the cake.

I’m now an angel food cake convert. This was a great dessert and it really was not a lot of work. And, just so you know, the last couple pieces of this sat in my fridge for a few days and the seem no worse for the wear. The whipped cream frosting did not disintegrate or soak into the cake, so this probably could be frosted in advance and kept chilled.

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