Our weekly banana usage goes something like this – I purchase a nice bunch of about 6-7 perfectly yellow bananas; everyone is happy. 3-4 days pass and the bananas begin to brown slightly; no-one is happy. The bananas sit in the bowl getting browner by the day, until the next grocery shop and a new bunch appears, and the brown bananas disappear into the freezer until I need to make muffins.
So this week when I was trying to make room for more bananas, I came across several little bags of egg whites, leftover from the crack pie and this icecream. I’d always wanted to try an angel food cake but couldn’t really justify using 12 eggs. Now I had the perfect opportunity.
Angel food cake is a delicate and fluffy white cake, which is great served with a light accompaniment, like whipped cream and fruit. There is no fat (butter) or leavening agents, all of the volume comes from beating the egg whites.
I’ve paired mine with a light glaze made from a lemon and lavender syrup, which balances out the sweetness. It’s perfect for afternoon tea, so go and scrounge around in your freezer for frozen egg whites.
*you’ll need a cake ring tin for this (see notes.)
For the cake
315g caster sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
150g cake flour (high grade)
12 egg whites
70ml warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾c icing sugar (for the icing)
Preheat your oven to 180°.
Sift half of the caster sugar with the salt and flour and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites, water, vanilla and cream of tartar, on medium-low speed for a couple of minutes. The mixture won’t look very exciting at this stage.
Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining sugar. Beat until medium-stiffish peaks form – you don’t want a really stiff, overbeaten batter.
Remove the bowl from the stand and sift over 1/6 of the flour mixture, then very gently fold it in using a rubber spatula. Repeat another 5 times. (It’s easier to do it this way, rather than dumping in all of the flour at once. You can gently fold, ensuring all of the flour is incorporated without losing any volume.)
Pour the batter into the ungreased cake tin (see notes) and bake for 35 minutes.
Transfer the cake tin to a cooling rack and invert it, allowing the cake to cool upside down in the tin. Leave it for an hour before turning out.
For the lemon & lavender syrup
¼c lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth, more if you prefer)
2 tablespoons fresh lavender buds
Place the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, making sure the sugar has dissolved.
Add the lavender and simmer for another 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Strain through a sieve into a jar or bottle and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
To make the icing, mix enough of the syrup with the icing sugar to create a thin glaze (about 2 tablespoons.) Drizzle the icing over the cake. This cake is best eaten on the day it’s made, otherwise store it in an airtight container.
- I recommend using a plain cake ring pan for this cake. I used a decorative bundt pan because that was all I had, but it was difficult to remove the cake and you can’t see any of the mouldings anyway.
- As tempting as it is, do not grease your cake tin. This will cause the cake to pull away from the edge of the tin and it won’t be as high.
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