Classic Angel Food Cake

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I recently tired making one of these to pass (yet another) day in self-isolation. I knew of it’s reputation for being a difficult and finicky cake to master. I’ve got to be honest- as long as you have the correct Angel Food/ Tube cake pan it’s a breeze. The recipe is a classic standard and sure it can be found with ease on Google. I’m posting it here for convenience as I’ve had a number of people inquiring about it.

A final parting word. Despite it’s fabled complication in the kitchen the cake itself is quite easy and well worth the effort. In my opinion it hands down beats any Japanese Souffle Cheesecake.

Angel Food Cake Checklist

  • Always use Cake Flour (see note below)
  • Always use room temperature egg whites
  • Always whisk/ sift the flour to aerate it
  • Always leave the cake pan ungreased
  • Always FOLD the mixtures together, do not beat
  • Always invert the baked cake straight out of the oven
  • Always allow to fully cool before removing from tin
  • Always use a serrated knife to cut cake slices to avoid squashing the crust

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Cake flour*
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 14 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Special Equipment

  • 10″ Angel Food/ Tube cake pan

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and 1 cup sugar. Set aside until later
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until foamy
  4. Add remaining 1 cup sugar. Increase mixer speed to high and immediately add cream of tartar and salt. Add vanilla extract, and beat until peaks form
  5. Transfer egg white mixture to a clean and dry large bowl. Gently fold in flour mixture in 4 additions just until combined. Transfer the batter to an ungreased 10-inch removable-bottom tube pan. Run a sharp knife through batter to remove any hidden air pockets, and smooth the top level
  6. Bake until cake is firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted near center registers 205°F (96°C) to 210°F (99°C), about 40 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and immediately invert pan** and let cool completely.
  8. When cool turn cake-side up and using an offset spatula, loosen cake from sides and remove bottom/ cake insert from pan surround. Loosen cake from bottom and tube by same method. Invert onto a cake plate and serve, cut using a serrated knife
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    Served with blueberry & gin compote and peaches

    *When I was making this I discovered I didn’t have cake flour to hand. A frustration-saving substitution for cake flour is as follows

    For 1 cup of cake flour- 1 cup of All Purpose flour but remove 2 tablespoons of it. Add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and sift the mixture twice. Remeasure 1 cup of the resulting mix as 1 cup of cake flour. DO NOT use All purpose flour on it’s on in this recipe – your cake will have a texture verging on bread!

**Some Angel Food/ Tube cake pans come with pronged feet attached which allow for inverted cooling. If yours doesn’t have them (like mine) then invert the baked cake tin tube onto a narrow wine bottle neck or spirits miniature bottle (some balancing or leaning against something may be required)

PB & J Coffee Cake

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PB & J – Never have three letters caused such divisive reactions. To be honest the quintessential North American stable of childhood has often has left me baffled in the past. I guess the secret of it’s appeal lies in that age old combination of sweet and salty. Whilst I struggle with grasping it’s appeal in it’s original sandwich form I’ll confess to being partial to it in bake form with contradictory fervor. Just as long as it’s not with grape flavoring! That attraction still eludes me.

So imagine my interest when I stumbled upon this recipe. Although I wish I could lay claim to this recipe the credit all lies with the publication Bake From Scratch and their recent issue on “One Layer Cakes”, If you haven’t heard of BFS I’d definitely recommend checking them out. If not directly for their recipes then certainly as a source of inspiration as I have done in the past.

Whist the original recipe calls for making two 6″ single layer cakes I couldn’t help but think who on earth wants a cake that small! So I instead baked mine in a single 9″ with the only variance being a longer cooking time with the necessity for aluminium tenting the top of the cake towards the end of baking. 

Prepare to surrender to the peanut buttery goodness! I love the crumbly peanut streusel topping- it’s a unique twist on the signature coffee cake feature. I’m sure jam/ jelly to suit your taste could be subbed in, there just happened to be strawberry lurking in my pantry. All in all this cake didn’t last long as it proved a quick hit with the kids. I kept mine on the counter top, in an airtight cake box, and after 4 days it was still tasty ever.

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Ingredients

Streusel topping

  • 1/3 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup strawberry jam

Garnish

Warmed peanut butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9” round deep cake pan with baking spray and line with baking parchment
  2. To make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and brown sugar. Stir in peanut butter and butter until mixture is crumbly. Crumble with your fingertips until desired consistency is reached. Stir in peanuts. Chill in the refrigerator until needed later
  3. For cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy and pale, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract
  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 stages alternately with buttermilk, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour 1/3 of the cake batter into your prepared tin. Spread on strawberry jam, and top with remaining batter, smoothing the top for a level surfaced. Sprinkle with the peanut streusel you prepared earlier
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 60-65 minutes, if needed loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of cake to loosen sides. Invert onto a plate, and then invert again onto a wire rack. Let cool completely. Garnish with warmed peanut butter, if desired.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Okay this was a surprise hit which a lot of you have been asking about. I made it as I was itching to bake but given current times I’m having to be somewhat frugal with particular ingredients, namely flour and yeast. My yeast problem I appear to have solved (there’s a post coming on that) but flour is still a questionable item, which appears to elude me.

Flourless chocolate cake seems to be one of those things that always pops up on a menu, appealing to all and sundry. So it seemed a pretty perfect fix here. I’ve tried it a few times with varying results across the board from fudgey & brownie like to cakey (and to be honest pretty dry). The recipe here results in the former-  fudgey and reminiscent of the best brownie, just thick enough to whisper indulgence but thin enough not to push you over the edge of regret. A surprise addition of instant coffee granules helps amplify the chocolate flavour without pushing it in to the realms of mocha flavoring.

I tend to like the cake just as is, with a snowy dusting of icing sugar. But feel to dress it up anyway you like – a scoop of cool vanilla ice cream perhaps? or maybe a drizzle of booze-laden cream maybe? The rules are yours to make…or break.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • Icing sugar, to dust (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and line an 8″ cake pan. Set aside until needed later
  2. Combine the chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 30 seconds. Remove stir and heat again for another 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. (or you can melt them together in a heat-proof bowl over a double-boiler)
  3. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla extract and stir to combine well
  4. Add the beaten eggs and stir until smooth and uniform in color
  5. Finally add in the cocoa powder and instant coffee granules. Stir until just combined- be careful not to over-mix here
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan, gently smoothing the top. Bake at the preheated temperature for 25 minutes, or until the the top has a thin crust and the centre reads 200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack fro 10 minutes. After this time use an offset spatula (or butter knife) to run around the edges of the cake and loosen it from the pan.
  8. Place your serving plate on top of the cake in the pan and carefully turn it upside down to invert the cake out onto your serving plate. Let the cake cool completely, either at room temperature or in the fridge. If cooling in the fridge remove it at least 30 minutes prior to serving to allow it to come to best temperature.
  9. To serve dust the top of the cake liberally with icing sugar if desired.

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Soured Cream Coffee Cake w/ Walnut & Oat Streusel and Smoked Maple Glaze

I used to find coffee cakes confusing. Well at least I did when I first moved to Canada. To me a “coffee cake” was exactly that- a cake with coffee IN it. Possibly a symptom of a childhood growing up heavily influenced by Mary Berry, Delia Smith and Darina Allen, a coffee cake came in one format alone – Coffee and Walnut cake. Reminiscent of weekend baking with my mother and lazy Sunday afternoon teas, it smacked of luxury and thrillingly contained that most adult of ingredients – Coffee! Or more precise that stalwart ’80s cupboard staple “Champ Coffee essence”. Thick, syrupy it was bottled black magic to a kid with a blossoming interest in baking.

Fast-forward 30 or so years and imagine my confusion reading recipes for coffee cake and wondering where the heck that smoldering caffeine hit was? Yes, yes I know- hindsight now makes me see how short-sighted and literal I was. Lateral thinking was called for. A simple mistake in my defense I’ll plead. Almost as simple as the recipe for this cake here. Soured cream gives a moist crumb hiding a streak (and topping!) of oaty, cinnamon goodness and finished with a drizzle of smokey maple sweetness. This really perfect accompaniment to your caffeine rush no matter what the tine of day. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup soured cream
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Streusel topping

  • 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats

Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked maple syrup (if you can’t get smoked maple syrup, traditional maple syrup will do just fine)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10” tube (angel food) pan
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This may take up to 10mins.
  3. While the butter and sugar cream together, make the streusel. In a bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter pieces. Rub the mixture together with your fingertips until a pea-sized sand texture is achieved and a crumble is formed. Mix in the toasted walnuts and set aside until needed later
  4. To the creamed butter/sugar add the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before moving onto the next
  5. When all the eggs have been mixed in, add the vanilla and soured cream and mix until just incorprated
  6. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk well the break down any lumps
  7. On low speed add the flour mixture to your wet mixture gradually, I usually do it 1/4 cup at a time, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next
  8. Continue adding the flour until it is all used and just combined into the mixture. Lightly fold using a spatula to make sure the batter is completely mixed
  9. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan and spread/level with a knife spatula. Sprinkle on 1 cup of the streusel mixture evenly.
  10. Spoon the remainder of the batter on top and spread evenly. Finish with a final layer of the remaining streusel mixture on top
  11. Bake in preheated even for 50- 60mins, until a cake tester comes out clean
  12. Let cool on a wire rack for 30mins. After this carefully remove the cake from the baking tin, streusel-side up, and set aside to cool further
  13. While the cake cools, in a jug combine the icing sugar and maple syrup. Stir until a smooth pourable is achieved. If the mixture is still a bit stiff add a few drops of milk to make it runny. Drizzle the glaze over to top of the cake to your desired amount  and leave to fully cool before slicing and serving
  14.  This coffee cake will keep at it’s best in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Avoid storing the cake in the refrigerator as this will dry it out.

Brazilian bakes & candies

Think of Brazil and no doubt the usual plethora of images will spring to mind- sundrenched beaches, feather-bedecked soca dancers and copious churrascaria. What doesn’t come to mind is a wealth, and often unexplored world, of baking. From breads to cakes to sweet treats there’s no shortage of tasty culinary treats to try.

So you may be asking yourself how does a Irish native, now resident in Canada, come to be waxing lyrical on all bakes Brazilian? I recently made the acquaintance of a native Brazilian via the wonders of a social media. A mutual bond over adoption matters, cultural appreciation (makes a change to hear those two words together huh?) and adventures in food was formed, and here we are! Insight from someone who grew up in a culture always trumps even the best research you can do. There is something satisfying about knowing that this is how “it” actually is, in everyday life, rather than some interpretation of “it” from the vaults of some Lonely Planet-esque archives.

The recipes here are essentially in two parts- bakes and sweets. The Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheesebread) is definitely worth trying out. Served warm from the oven they are an ideal breakfast morsel, or even snack through the day. Freezer-friendly and gluten-free they are also a handy reserve should any gluten intolerant friends swing by. The Pudim de Queijo and Bolo de Fuba Cremoso share a common theme in that they are both prepared making use of a tall blender. Apparently this is a common feature in Brazilian baking as stand mixers are not that common. For the Pudim de Queijo think creme caramel and Catalan flan. To be honest though to hold it in comparison is to do the Pudim injustice. The addition of the cheese to the flan mixture rescues it from the overpowering (and somewhat cloying) sweetness to which it’s European counterparts often fall prey. Cheese also a feature in the recipe for Bolo de Fuba Cremoso. When baked the combination of cheese, cornmeal and coconut result in veritable kitchen alchemy that allows for a crispy topping, smooth interlayer and deliciously crumbly base. Believe me, once you try a slice of this alongside a strong coffee, breakfast will never be the same again!

The Dochinos de Leite Moca here are all variations on a theme of Brazilian candies. Made using boiled sweetened condensed milk they are sure to prove popular not only with the little ones in your life but all the grown-ups. The final sweets will usually keep for a week in a container in the refrigerator. These dainty mouthfuls of scrumptuous sweetness look  (and taste) like they required hours of kitchen toil instead of the mere minutes needed in reality. The longest part is the cooling time! I cannot emphasis how much these candies are worth the minimal effort.


Pao de Queijo (8)

Pao de queijo

Makes approximately 40

Ingredients

  • 500g cassava starch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 400g grated cheese (150g Gruyère; 150g mozzarella; 100g sharp red cheddar such as Red Leicester)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 2 cookie baking trays with baking parchment
  2. In a bowl mix the Gruyère and mozzarella cheeses, Set aside until needed
  3. Combine the water & oil in a pan and bring to boil over heat
  4. Place cassava starch in a bowl of a stand mixer
  5. With the mixer running, carefully pour over boiling liquid in stages and mix to combine
  6. Leave to cool, until you can touch the side of the bowl
  7. With the mixer running, add in eggs one at a time
  8. Add in the Gruyère/ mozzarella cheese mix in thirds and mix until combine.
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold/lightly knead in the sharp cheddar.
  10. Roll dough into 3cm wide sausage shape
  11. Cut into smaller 1 inch pieces and roll into balls using wet hands
  12. Place the dough balls on lined baking trays, spacing about 2 inches between
  13. Bake at 400F for 20mins until puffed and lightly golden

– The baked rolls/ puffs are best eaten straight away, after cooling slightly.

*Once the dough had been shaped into balls, they can be frozen in a bag or under cling wrap and baked from frozen. Bake in a 400F preheated oven for 30 mins until puffed and lightly golden

Pao de Queijo (1)


Pudim de Queijo (3)

Pudim de queijo

Makes 1, serves 12

Ingredients

Caramel

  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Pudding

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can whole  milk (use the same can as sweetened condensed milk to measure)
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a pan over a medium heat combine the water and fine sugar.
  3. Increase heat and bring to the boil, without stirring, for about 10mins. The liquid should thicken and turn a deep amber color
  4. When the liquid has turned deep amber, remove from heat and pour into an 8inch circular baking pan
  5. In a blender mix the condescended milk and milk for 2 mins
  6. Add in eggs and mix to blend again for 2 mins
  7. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix for a further 2 mins
  8. Pour into prepared caramel pan and place the filled baking pan in deep roasting tray large enough to take the pan
  9. Cover the filled pan with aluminium foil, and fill the roasting tray with water to at least 3/4 level with the pan
  10. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 50 mins
  11. After the aluminium foil from the pan and continue to bake for a further 10 mins
  12. Remove the baked pudding from the oven and the roasting tray. Leave to completely
  13. Turn the cooked pudding out by placing a large plate on top of the pudding and quickly inverting. It may requirement a gentle shake for it to come out
  14. Keep the turned out pudding refrigerated until serving

Pudim de Queijo (6)


Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (3)

Bolo de fubá cremoso

Makes 1 , serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups fine sugar
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl add the fine sugar, cornmeal, flour, shredded coconut and mix to combine
  3. In a large blender combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, and baking powder, Parmesan cheese and mix until well combined
  4. Pour the liquid mixture in to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir/whisk gently to combine well
  5. Pour to cake batter (which will be quite running into a 9inch spring-form cake pan
  6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 mins until the top of the cake is golden brown and the sides pull away from the pan
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely in the pan before removing the pan collar
  8. This cake goes particularly well with a strong, early morning coffee

Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (1)


Dochinos (2)

Dochinos de Leite Moca

Each recipe makes between 15-20

This little sweet bites were traditionally served at children’s parties, are astoundingly easy to make and even better to eat!

Brigadeiro

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg yolk

To finish

  • A selection of chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles to finish

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in sprinkles of your choice to coat and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the brigadeiro have been rolled transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Beijinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 1egg yolk

To finish

  • 100g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Whole cloves (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the milk and egg yolk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in the shredded coconut to coat and place on a lined baking sheet. Stud each beijinho with a whole clove
  5. When all the beijinho have been rolled, transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Cajuzinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 30g unsweetened shredded coconut

To finish

  • Fine sugar
  • Roasted peanut halves

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a “horn” shape in your hands
  4. Roll the cajuzinho in fine sugar  to coat, stud the larger end with a peanut half and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the cajuzinho have been rolled,  transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

Dochinos (5)