Our feature recipe this week – a blood orange angel food cake – is from The Cake Book by bestselling cookbook author, Rebecca Firth.
Whether you are a casual baker and want to whip up something quick and yummy, or you are experienced and planning to put in the extra time for that decadent cake, you are sure to find something to delight over in The Cake Book.
Rebecca tells us about this recipe: “One bite of this and it makes total sense why it’s called angel food. It’s light, fluffy, melts in your mouth and is hella easy to make!
“However, friends, let’s talk angel food pans. They are tube pans that aren’t nonstick (repeat: not nonstick) that you leave ungreased and unlined. Ideally, your pan will have a removable bottom as well.
“Angel food cakes are so light and airy that they have to cool upside down so they don’t collapse in on themselves while cooling. Some angel food pans have little legs that will keep the cake elevated while it cools so heat and steam doesn’t get trapped inside the pan. If your pan doesn’t have these little feet, you can perch your pan upside down on top of a wine bottle or any tall, narrow bottle for that matter.
“I really simplified my citrus curd recipe for this. My daughter, Stella, thought my old recipe was too fussy so this one’s for her! You can also sub in any sweet citrus you’d like (tangerine, cara cara, orange) in place of the blood orange.
“One final note: if you’d like to garnish with the candied blood oranges, they will need overnight to dry out and be perfect, so plan your baking schedule accordingly.”
Blood Orange Angel Food Cake: Ingredients
MAKES 8 TO 10 SERVINGS
FOR THE CAKE:
- 12 large egg whites, room temperature;
- 2 tablespoons (26 g) water, room temperature;
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons (5 g) cream of tartar;
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt;
- 1 1⁄4 cups (250 g) superfine baker’s or castor sugar;
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) vanilla paste or real vanilla extract;
- 1 cup (125 g) cake flour, sifted;
FOR THE BLOOD ORANGE CURD:
- 2/3 cup (150 g) fresh blood orange juice (5 to 7 blood oranges);
- 1⁄2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar;
- 1⁄4 cup (30 g) confectioners’ sugar;
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon);
- 1 tablespoon (2 g) blood orange zest (about 1 blood orange);
- 5 large egg yolks, lightly whisked;
- 7 tablespoons (98 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 7 pieces
FOR THE BLOOD ORANGE CURD WHIPPED CREAM:
- 1 1⁄2 cups (360 g) heavy whipping cream, cold;
- 4 1⁄2 tablespoons (32 g) confectioners’ sugar
FOR THE CANDIED BLOOD ORANGE SLICES (OPTIONAL)
- 1 blood orange, thinly sliced;
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar;
- 1 1⁄2 cups (336 g) water
Blood Orange Angel Food Cake: Ingredients
For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 325F (170C).
Add the egg whites, water, cream of tartar and salt to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the eggs on medium until they are frothy, 1 to 2 minutes.
With the mixer on medium, slowly add the sugar, 1 tablespoon (12 g) at a time. Once all of the sugar is in, add the vanilla and run the mixer for about 1 minute more or until the whisk starts to leave tracks in the meringue.
If you swirl the whisk into the meringue and pull it straight up and invert the whisk, the meringue will hold its shape but it won’t quite be pointing straight up like stiff peaks. Take the bowl out of the mixer and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and confectioners’ sugar.
Gently fold the flour into the meringue, in three batches, until all of the flour is combined, being careful not to deflate the meringue.
Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch (23-cm) tube or angel food pan. Run a knife through the cake batter to remove any air pockets and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; the cake should be puffed up and golden.
Invert the cake onto a wine bottle to finish cooling completely (upside down), 1 to 2 hours. Once cool, run a knife along the inner and outer edges of the pan and gently coax the cake out of the pan.
For the Blood Orange Curd: Place the blood orange juice in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring to a boil and then cook over medium heat until reduced to about 1⁄2 cup (112 g) of juice, 5 to 8 minutes.
Take off of the heat and whisk in the granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and blood orange zest until smooth. Add the egg yolks and whisk until completely combined.
Place back on the stovetop over medium heat and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes or until it starts to thicken and your whisk feels some resistance.
Immediately take off of the heat and slowly whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon (14 g) at a time, making sure each piece is completely melted before adding in the next.
Press the curd through a fine-mesh sieve and into a heat-safe bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours to cool completely before making the Blood Orange Curd Whipped Cream.
For the Blood Orange Curd Whipped Cream: Place the cold, heavy whipping cream in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium until soft peaks form.
Sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar over the top and whisk until soft peaks return, taking care not to overbeat the cream.
Take the bowl out of the mixer and fold in half of the Blood Orange Curd until you still see swirls of it in the whipped cream and it’s not completely incorporated.
Scoop the whipped cream over the top of the cake. Serve immediately with the remaining blood orange curd on the side.
For the Candied Blood Orange Slices: Fill a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with the blood orange slices, sugar and water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer.
After 30 minutes, flip the pieces over and cook for 20 minutes more. Set them on a layer of parchment paper to dry out (ideally overnight) before using.
When dried, arrange them over the top of the whipped cream and serve.
Reprinted with permission from The Cake Book by Rebecca Firth, Page Street Publishing, Co. 2021. Photo credit: Rebecca Firth