With my Mom's birthday being in late December, we always make an effort to separate her day from the Christmas Holidays and to make the day a celebration all its own. This year Liv was instrumental in choosing the cake we made for Mom, and here, in her first Guest Post of 2012, she will fill you in on how she came to decide on this special Angel Food Cake for Susu.
For Christmas many girls get things like makeup or clothes, but for me, this year I got something very special from my grandma. This year my grandma gave me a guardian angel pin. The golden angel is meant to be worn on my shoulder and will help guide me through the days and nights and brighten my life. Now, when I am not wearing the angel I keep it in a special heart shaped box beside my bed or in other words, "in my heart".
Because my grandma gave me this beautiful pin I decided to make her Angel Food Cake for her birthday dessert, because I think she is an angel as well. My grandma is one of the most important people in my life, and I know no matter what happens she will always be there for me.
It is always a great time when I am with her, whether we are making something in the kitchen, teaching me how to make gravy (which my mom can't do), or just sitting watching TV. She always finds a way to make it fun. I also love to play games with her and the rest of my family, like Hearts. Even though she gives me the Queen of Spades sometimes, that is okay because I know if she could have given it to anyone else she would have (well, maybe...).
I love my grandma very much and I would not be who I am today without her. She truly is the best grandma anyone could ever have.
Our Orange Angel Food Cake is based on a recipe from Ina Garten, and is light and airy, indeed feathery enough for those angels among us. With orange peel only hours from the tree in Dad's yard and a glaze made with the juice of the fresh squeezed oranges, the cake is light and bright and a wonderful way to celebrate any special day.
Orange Angel Food Cakeadapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, pg. 164
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1 3/4 cups sifted superfine sugar, divided **
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (we used 9 extra large eggs)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
about 2 Tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350º F.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar with the flour and sift together 4 times (I only sifted once, due to lack of patience...). Set aside.
Place the room temperature egg whites, salt, and cream of tarter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed until the eggs make medium-firm peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, whisk by hand to achieve the same peaks - longer than 1 minute...). With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1½ cups of sugar by sprinkling over the beaten egg whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Whisk in the vanilla, lemon oil and lemon zest and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 more minute. Sift about one fourth of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour by fourths and folding until all the flour is incorporated.
Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack until cool.
Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen, and grasping the center "post" pull the cake from the pan. Run a knife between the bottom of the cake and the pan and carefully slide the cake off of the pan (inverting with a helper works well).
Place cake on a cake stand and glaze with Orange Glaze.
To make orange glaze, place powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in orange juice. If the glaze is too thick add a bit more juice, too thin... add a bit more powdered sugar.
** Ina's recipe calls for 2 cups of super fine sugar... I found that measurement to be a bit sweet for my tastes and as such we have reduced the sugar to 1 3/4 cups. For more sweetness use a full 2 cups of sugar.
Liv Life Note: I personally never have super fine sugar on hand... hence I place the desired amount of sugar into my small food processor and process for a few seconds or until desired "fineness" is achieved.