Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Daffodil Cake and Birthday Revisited

When I got married, I wasn't a young girl who'd always lived with Mom and didn't know my way around the house.  I'd been in school for 8 years, forced to cook for myself, and prone to twiddle around the kitchen.  The Domestic Sergeant was well aware of this, and has often claimed that he married me for my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  So, in our first year of married life, I asked him what sort of cake he'd like for his birthday.  He responded "Angel Food."  Hmmmm.  This was one that Mom never made.  She didn't even own a tube pan.  Neither did I.  But I went and got one and set out to start separating egg whites.  The Domestic Sergeant wandered into the kitchen and surveyed my preparations.  He eyed the pan.

"Is that non-stick?" he asked.

"Yep," I replied, in utterly misplaced confidence.

"Hmmmm." was the only response.

I whipped the egg whites, folded in the flour, baked it and placed it upside down over a glass soda bottle to cool.  As I cleaned up the kitchen and started a creme anglaise to go with it, I heard this horrible fwump sound.  Many of you may have correctly predicted the outcome of this venture.  Yes, indeedy, my Angel Food cake fell out of the pan and broke into multiple pieces.  The Domestic Sergeant got to comfort his new bride in her first real kitchen failure.

I swore off Angel Food cakes.  For 11 years.  But today, as we were out on another mission entirely, I found a tube pan.  One that is NOT nonstick and has little feet!  So, in preparation for The Domestic Sergeants first ever Birthday Cake made by his wife, I gave it a dry run.  The original recipe for this cake comes from a vintage Pillsbury Booklet entitled, Kate Smith chooses her 55 Favorite Ann Pillsbury Cake Recipes.  I've adapted this gluten free version, and since I didn't have any orange extract, I used a little zest and juice from a blood orange.  I hope you enjoy it.

Gold and Silver Daffodil Cake

1 1/4 c. Fancy Flour Blend OR
1/4 c. millet flour
1/2 c. white rice flour
2 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
2 Tbsp potato starch
1 1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
3/4 tsp guar gum, divided
1 1/4 c. egg whites (7-9 large eggs - ish)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
4 egg yolks
4 Tbsp Fancy Flour blend OR
3 Tbsp white rice flour
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, sift together 1 1/4 c. flour, 1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp guar gum.  Set aside.
Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with salt and cream of tartar.  Beat until foamy.  With mixer running, add 3/4 c. sugar gradually.  Continue to whip until stiff peaks form when beater is lifted.

In another bowl, beat together egg yolks and sugar.  Add the zest, lemon juice, 4 Tbsp flour and guar gum and beat until light and lemon-colored.  Set aside.

Fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites 2 Tbsp at a time.  You don't have to incorporate each addition fully before adding the next.  Be gentle, and remember that the only leavening in this cake is the air whipped into the egg whites.  You don't want to deflate them too much.

Continue to fold gently until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and batter is fairly smooth.

Take half of the batter and fold it into the reserved egg yolk mixture.

Add the vanilla to the white batter and blend gently.  Then layer both batters into an ungreased tube pan.  (Really.  The ungreased part is pretty important.  Unless you like the fwump sound.)

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool, inverted, for one hour.  If your pan doesn't have the cute little feet, place it over a glass bottle.  It's important that air is able to flow underneath the pan or condensation will build up and make your cake soggy.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and lift the cake out with the tube.  Then also gently run a knife between the base of the pan and the cake.  Invert onto a serving plate.

You can serve it as is, or add a light glaze.

Vanilla Glaze

2 c. powdered sugar
dash salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. milk (approximately)

Place sugar in bowl.  Add salt, then add a little milk at a time, mixing between additions.  Before it's thin enough to drizzle, add vanilla.  Continue adding more milk until you get a good drizzling consistency.  Spread on top of cake and allow to drip down sides.

The two colors of batter show up nicely when the cakes is sliced.  It's such a pretty spring dessert, it makes me almost doubt the weather report calling for snow and ice tomorrow!

And now that I've conquered my fear of Angel Food (even if in modified fashion), the Domestic Sergeant might just get his birthday cake for the first time since we got married!

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