Egg Whites and Angel Food Cake with Citrus Sauce
Angel Food Cake is not a French creation.
According, to an article on the Researching Food History blog, Angel Food Cake was originally called White Sponge Cake, with the first recorded recipe appeared in “The Kentucky Housewife” (1839). The first written recipe for Angel’s Food Cake appeared in “The Home Messenger Book of Tested Recipes” (2nd Edition) 1878 by Isabella Stewart. Interesting to note that there is no “family” resemblance with Devil’s Food Cake as this one is made with butter in the batter.
Although French chefs cannot claim the invention of this white sponge cake, they have always worked with the essential ingredients: stiff egg whites, cream of tartar, cake flour, and sugar. Stiffly, beaten egg whites are the key to the delicate light texture of souffles, meringues and macarons (recipe here).
In this recipe for Angel Food Cake with Citrus Sauce, the egg white angels meet the French chefs in the kitchen. The citrus sauce is a combination of clementines and oranges. Think of making this cake when the clementines appear in your local market (or grocery store), in the late fall. Or, as in my case when you have a dozen egg whites in your fridge that you need to use up.
Before turning to the method (below), the last important thing to note with Angel Food Cake is that it is easy to squish. Cut your cake with a serrated knife or a cake break, like the one in the photo.
Angel Food Cake with Citrus Sauce
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Egg whites room temperature, about 12 large
- large pinch Salt
- 1/2 tsp Fiori di Sicilia or 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract see notes
- 1 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
- 8 Clementines (juicy)
- 4 tbsp Honey
- 2 large oranges
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Do not grease your angel food cake pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar.
- Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, salt, and extract.
- Beat until the mixture is just frothy, then sprinkle the cream of tartar on top and continue beating until the mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks.
- Add the remaining sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, then fold in the dry ingredients.
- Spoon the batter into the pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly touched.
- Remove the cake from the oven, and set it upside down with a bottle through its center cone to keep its top from flattening. Let the cake cool for 1 1/2 hours.
- Loosen the edges of the cake with a knife or thin metal spatula, and remove it from the pan.
- Dust with sugar, if desired.
- Store the cake, covered, on the counter for up to a week. Freeze, well wrapped, for up to 3 months.
- To make the citrus sauce, juice the clementines and place juice in a saucepan.
- Add the honey and simmer for 5-10 minutes until slightly syrupy.
- Cut the orange into suprèmes (the segments without the membrane) and add them to the syrup.
- Using the cake break, cut slices of cake and spoon sauce and orange segments over.