If you’re anything like me, you pin a bunch of stuff to Pinterest and then hardly ever go back and look at it later. But I’m happy to say that it actually came in handy when I was trying to find a dessert to make for Easter dinner.
I follow Martha Stewart on Pinterest, and they pinned a recipe for Mama’s Angel Food Cake with Bourbon Crème Anglaise from Bon Appetite, Y’all by Virginia Willis. They had me at “Bourbon.” It sounded like just the kind of light dessert I was looking for – and booze in dessert never hurts!
The full recipe appears below, in addition to the hyperlink above (but you’ll only get my commentary by reading below). I highly recommend using a stand mixer to make the cake. I don’t know how I would have done this with just a hand mixer. Besides a stand mixer, you’ll need a large bowl, two medium bowls, a medium saucepan, a whisk, an instant-read thermometer, a sifter, a fine-mesh sieve, several mixing spoons, a tube pan, an empty bottle, and a serrated knife.
Angel Food Cake Ingredients
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used an entire vanilla bean)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a rack set in the center of the oven.
2. Sift flour together with 3/4 cup sugar. Repeat process three times; set aside. (I totally only did this once, and everything turned out just fine. I didn’t even notice I was supposed to do it three times until right now.)
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on medium speed until foamy. Add vanilla bean seeds and almond extract. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Continue mixing until whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.
4. Sift enough of the flour mixture over the egg white mixture to lightly dust the top. Gently fold flour mixture into egg white mixture. Repeat process until all the flour is incorporated into the egg white mixture. (The batter will practically triple in size throughout this process, so be sure to use a large bowl.)
5. Gently spoon batter into a 10-inch tube pan. With a spatula or knife, using a circular motion, cut through the batter twice to eliminate any large pockets of air. Smooth top to remove any large peaks.
6. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Invert pan over a bottle (such as a 2-liter soda bottle or a wine bottle) until completely cooled, about 2 hours.
7. To serve, set upright, and using a butter knife or a long spatula, loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert onto a serving plate. Slice using a serrated knife or an angel food cake cutter; serve drizzled with Bourbon crème Anglaise, if desired. (Oh, it’s desired.)
I thought I had every kitchen gadget known to man, but even I don’t have an “angel food cake cutter.” A serrated knife works just fine, but do not attempt to slice the cake with a regular knife. You’ll squish it.
Bourbon Crème Anglaise Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 tablespoon Bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)
1. Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. (Yes, do this first. Once things get going, you will not have another opportunity to do it.)
2. Place milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until thick and light. Slowly pour in half of the hot milk, while stirring constantly. (It’s important to do this very slowly so the hot milk doesn’t cook and curdle the eggs.) Slowly pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in Bourbon.
3. Place saucepan over low heat and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat.
4. Strain crème Anglaise through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Set bowl in ice-water bath and stir until cooled. (This takes longer than you think it will.) Keep refrigerated until ready to use, up to 1 day.
Note: I made the crème Friday night. We ate it Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and it held up just fine. As you can see from the photo, we garnished our cake with fresh berries. After a long and miserable winter, fresh berries are very exciting.
The nice thing about the crème Anglaise is that it uses up six of the leftover egg yolks from making the cake. If you’re looking for something to do with the other six yolks, try this recipe for lemon curd. You can eat lemon curd mixed with fresh fruit and granola, or if that’s too tart for your taste, try it on scones. It’s delicious on scones.