Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lemon Angel Food Cake - Artistic Fun in the Kitchen

Lemon Angel Food Cake (with Candied Lemon Peel, of course!)

I've never really been a huge fan of arts and crafts, or the patience required of them. Yet, for some reason...when it comes to making and decorating cakes, cookies, or treats - I'm there! I love it! Sometimes nothing beats taking the time to put some artistic flair on an average cake, plus the anticipation of presenting it for dessert! So last week, I decided to do just that and made a lemon angel food cake!
Using a recipe from Taste of Home, found here for Lemon Angel Food Supreme, I made the cake part as the recipe directed, while also adding about 2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest (for extra lemony flavor). This was my first 'from scratch' angel food cake, so I followed the directions very carefully! It wasn't as hard, or complicated, as it may seem. The biggest "trick" is making sure you've whipped the batter enough, and have the proper peaks. Of course, another important part of making angel food cake is the pan... which I didn't realize we didn't own until after I decided to make this, so I improvised! Since I didn't have a tube pan, I used 2 spring form (or cheesecake) pans with half pint jars placed in the center. (Angel food cake actually climbs this center tube as it bakes.) Plus, then I'd have a layered cake to decorate - more possibilities! 
They seemed to work great, too! (The house smelled so good by this point, just saying.) As soon as they were done (dry on top, sprung back when tapped), I flipped them over to cool. This, too, is important for it keeps the cakes from collapsing. 
Next, (after what seemed like forever) they were cool enough to remove from the pans and frost! Since the pans were not greased or oiled (another important rule in making angel food cake), it was a bit of an adventure getting the cakes free... Using a knife, I separated the sides and carefully pulled the jars from the centers. (And once the cakes were free, the hardest part was over!) Then, I got to whip up (literally) the frosting. For the recipe, see here. To this Sweetened Whipped Cream, I added 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and a few drops of yellow food coloring (then it even looked like lemon!) I also made two batches to cover my two-layered cake.
Decorating: This was my favorite part! As a tip, line your cake stand with waxed paper before frosting the cake, so any drips/messes can be easily removed. This leaves you with a beautiful cake and clean stand! I also added some fresh blueberries for even more color and flair (plus taste! I mean lemon and blueberries? How much more refreshing can this dessert get!?) Decorating is the part where no recipe can direct you - where true 'posh' is really shown! There are millions of ways to decorated a cake, go crazy! 
Candied Lemon Peel: So what's all this about the candied lemon peel, you may ask? Although a bit time consuming (not too much, though, I did this all while letting the cakes bake and cool), it's so worth it! It may seem like a lot of steps (like boiling it four times...), but it leaves you with soft, chewy, sugary lemon candy! And these make great, edible decorations, or you can cut them into larger pieces or shapes and serve them as candies!

Tube Pans: As you can see, this cake was quite an adventure! Between having never made angel food cake from scratch, not having a tube pan, and trying to give it a new spin with extra 'posh,' making it was an exciting afternoon activity! And of course, the next day my parents and I stopped by a second hand store (I love thrift stores - they have the neatest stuff!). There, I found not one, but TWO tube pans! And both were in excellent condition! So we bought them...both. (below) These can be rather difficult to find nowadays, so I recommend trying thrift stores. Look for pans with feet on the top, (so the cakes can cool upside down), and removable bottoms (remember, don't grease/oil the pans). And they shouldn't be too expensive at thrift store prices. (I got these two pans, a book, an elephant key chain, and mom got 2 plates for a grand total of $4...not too shabby at all!)
I hope you enjoy this cake! It was perfect for dessert, so airy and lemony! Even the leftovers stayed light and fresh! And it was so much fun to make and decorate! How would you decorate it? Everybody's 'posh' is unique and beautiful - just have fun!

With love (for food),
Ellen
--A dash of posh can make all the difference in your next dish!--