Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I'm getting sick of winter. March is having schizophrenic weather with multiple personality disorders. Hinting at summer one day, snowing the next. Gentle breezes teasing the bulbs to sprout and then pounding them with hail when they try to bloom. It doesn't help that the stores are stocked with shorts, tank tops, and bikinis. It just get me thinking longingly of summer.
Some people deal with this by buying a new bikini and making plans for the beach. Not me. I'm a firm believer that my gift to the world is never putting my body into a bikini again. Instead I make ice cream. (Hmm, now that I put those two things right next to each other, I wonder if there might be a connection. Naw!)
I've been making ice cream like crazy, blithely ignoring the tempests outside, creating my own inner, mental summer. It's a good and happy place. But along with the ice cream piling up in the freezer, I've got egg whites piling up in the fridge. What to do with egg whites? When I asked my daughter, she replied firmly, "Make an angel food cake!"
I also had on hand an abundance of Mayer lemons that I'd picked up at Costco. They're so rarely there that I can't pass them up when I see them. So, combining the two I made Mayer lemon angel food cake. Light, fluffy, moist clouds of cake, topped with a lemony sweet glaze. Perfect for a day when you're pretending you're in shorts and flip flops, rather than bundled up in a parka and a scarf....indoors.
Note: I paired this with Basil Ice cream thinking lemon, basil, and strawberries would be a perfect combination. I decided that I didn't love the Basil ice cream. It tastes just like basil, but I'm not sold that ice cream should taste like basil. Maybe a strawberry frozen yogurt would be better. Mmmm. Plus that doesn't generate extra egg whites to deal with.
Mayer Lemon Angel Food Cake
- adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
2 cups sifted superfine sugar, divided*
1-1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1-1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (about 10 to 12 eggs)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp Mayer lemon juice
1- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with a rack in the center of the oven.
2- Combine 1/2 cup fo the sugar with the flour and sift together 4 times. Set aside.
3- Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs made medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. Withe the mixer on medium speed, sprinkle the remaining 1-1/2 cups sugar over the beaten egg whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Whisk in the vanilla 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 by sifting and folding until it's all incorporated.
4- Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack until cool. Remove the cake from the pan after it has cooled and place it on a serving plate or platter.
5- Combine the confectioner's sugar and the lemon juice, whisking until it's smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
Serves 8 to 10. Store covered at room temperature.
* If you do not have superfine sugar, just put regular caster sugar in a food processor and pulse it until the sugar is quite fine. Then measure as much as you need.