In truth, the macaron was not the first “daunting” egg white recipe I made. It was actually this angel food cake that was so instrumental in boosting my confidence for making egg-white desserts. I made this about a week before my first macaron attempt, but I am only writing about it now because the excitement over my macaron success crashed into and basically obliterated everything else at the time. It didn’t seem fair to write about this in passing while riding the tide of excitement over the macarons. This particular angel food cake deserves more attention than that.
It is said the Angel Food Cake is named so because its airy fluffy lightness is a quality worthy of being food for the angels. I always thought it was because every time someone takes a bite of this kind of cake, the angels burst into song in their heads. This Lime Pistachio Angel Food Cake is soooo good I would have believed that to be the legitimate story behind the name of this cake. You can end up eating so much of this that you’d be in a spongecake-induced coma in no time, and well, I guess you can speak to angels when you’re in a coma?
This is my first attempt at Angel Food Cake. Reading the instructions, there were quite a few steps I wasn’t familiar with; but what really piqued my interest was when I read that angel food cakes are to be cooled upside down in the tube pan. I decided I needed to witness that spectacle. It was kind of a huge risk for me to take on such an ambitious recipe, but lime and pistachios on a fluffy angel food cake? Who could resist that? Not I apparently!
I know what some of you might be thinking: Another egg whites to stiff peaks recipe?! But what if I undermix or overmix my egg whites? What if my egg whites collapse while I mix? What if my cake doesn’t rise? What if I fail miserably? I think I’ll just sit this one out.
Well my friends, anxiety is one of mankind’s greatest enemies. Sometimes it can control you to the point that it inhibits you from doing anything at all. Talking about it on a smaller scale, anxiety has always been the reason why I never tried making any egg-white based dessert like the macarons or the angel food-cake until fairly recently. You can ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I typically work through and around difficulties or shortcomings until I get a satisfying ending, so it’s kind of
stupid ironic that I could take the big necessary steps in the real world when it took me a whole lot of drama just to end this whole baking-with-egg-whites debate.
I want people who come across this recipe on my blog to actually feel like they will and can succeed with this recipe, so I made my tutorial photos a little more detailed. It’s probably one of the most comprehensive I have to date. Hopefully this will help! 🙂
Now how do I even begin to describe this particular cake? I have a few superlatives in mind: amazing, superb, heavenly? Even though I had only a small bite of this fine cake, I remember how much punch and tang it packed with every lime-flavoured bite. If you adore citrus flavours like I do, then I believe you will adore this cake.
As far as customising it goes, I wouldn’t go so far as to say the pistachios are optional because they add such an amazing colour, texture, and flavour to this angel food cake. It’s definitely worth the extra mile and pocket money to make sure the cake is glazed with the lime syrup and topped with pistachios. As for the glaze, I omitted it in mine, but I can think of quite a few people who would enjoy some tequila-infused glaze.
I had some batter leftover after I had filled my tube pan so I decided to experiment with it and put the batter into a bundt pan just to see what happens. You definitely will not get the same results as baking in a tube pan, though the cake was still edible.
The texture was not cake-like in texture but more marshmallow-like– chewy-but-firm lime-flavoured marshmallows.
This cake comes from the magnificent new Baked cookbook, Baked Elements. I ordered it online the moment it was available with zero doubts in my mind when I found out the ten favourite ingredients the authors wrote around are also my own favourites. I may not have baked much from their older cookbooks yet, but all the recipes I’ve made so far have been fantastic. I just could not stop myself from wanting this one with much gusto. And such a good-looking cookbook this is too!
- 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 Tablespoons lime juice, divided (from about 2 limes)
- 1/2 cup unsalted raw pistachios, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 Tablespoon tequila, optional
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and position a rack in the center.
- 2. In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup superfine sugar, cake flour, and the salt. Repeat the sifting process two more times.
- 3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, lime zest, and vanilla on medium speed until frothy. Do not let the greenish hue of the batter scare you, it will return to normal after the remaining ingredients are added. Sprinkle the cream of tartar over the mixture and beat on medium-high until soft peaks form.
- 4. In a gradual stream or a few tablespoons at a time, add the remaining 1 cup of superfine sugar and beat just until stiff peaks form.
- 5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sprinkle one-third of the flour mixture over the egg whites. Very gently fold in the flour.
- 6. Add half of the remaining flour and again, very gently fold it in. Add the remaining flour and fold in until just incorporated.
- 7. Transfer the batter to an ungreased 10-cup tube pan with removable bottom (do not use nonstick pan). Use an offset spatula to smooth the top of the batter.
- 8. Bake the cake for 35 to 38 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until it is pale golden in color and a toothpick or skewer inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.
- 9. Take out the cake and immediately invert the pan onto a work surface if the pan has feet, or place the center of the tube pan onto the neck of a bottle or metal funnel, and cool the cake completely upside down.
- 10. Once cool, using a long thin knife, cut around the sides of the cake from the center tube to loosen. Lift out the center tube with the cake still attached. Run the knife between the cake and the bottom of the pan to loosen.
- 11. Remove the cake from the center tube and invert it onto a wire rack. Set the rack with cake onto a rimmed baking sheet.
- 12. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of the lime juice, and the tequila (if using) until smooth. Brush the syrup all over top and sides of the cake. Immediately press chopped pistachios on top (and sides, if desired) of the cake, pressing to adhere.
- 13. Stir powdered sugar with remaining 1 Tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake in a zigzag pattern. Let the glaze set, about 10 minutes, before serving. *
- Storage: The cake can be stored at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 3 days, though angel food cake is generally best served within 48 hours.
- * I no longer made the glaze for my cake. It tastes just as good without.
Well, there you go! I hope the step-by-step pictures help. I’m thinking of branching out to video tutorials soon. We shall see how it goes.
Tell me, is this not one of the prettiest cakes you ever did see!? There is an almost ethereal quality to it that really makes me think of angels.