Happy 4th of July! I hope you have room on your barbecue table for one more cake, because you’re going to want to make this one!
I know that every single 4th of July dessert uses strawberries and blueberries and some form of whipped cream, but this one is refreshing because
- the strawberries came from our garden
- there is no Jell-o
I had a lot of fun making this cake. Angel food cake is one of those desserts that seems to frighten a lot of people because they think that it’s difficult. It’s really not. And the authors give you all the tips and techniques you need to know right in the recipe, which is very kind. I followed their instructions and had no troubles.
The only change I made to the cake was using regular lemon juice instead of Meyer lemon juice. Our stores just don’t have Meyer lemons this time of year. Other than that, I followed it exactly. I know what recipes I can tweak and tamper with and I know that angel food cake is not one of them.
I loved the authors’ tip of inverting the cake on a wine bottle to cool. My mom made angel food cake a lot when I was a kid and I remember cakes cooling on the counter in just this fashion.
The recipe suggests cutting the cake in half horizontally. Even though this makes a really nice, clean presentation, I chose not to do that and just frosted the whole thing. If you do opt for cutting it in half, you can use the other half to make the Rocky Road Cake that immediately follows this cake in the book (yum!). Or you can wrap it well and freeze it.
I adjusted the icing recipe slightly, because I didn’t think the recipe in the book was quite enough icing. Really, I’m sure it would have been plenty because I ended up with a thick layer of icing and some leftover. But no one complained about the extra. If you want more icing, too, just double the recipe.
In keeping with the spirit of the book, the strawberries are from our garden. We have the most delicious strawberry patch ever and fight with the squirrels every year for our share. I managed to keep the squirrels (and the kiddos) away for a day or two to gather enough perfect strawberries to top the cake.
I kind of wanted some “stars” on my cake, so I added some feverfew flowers. The kiddos thought this was an especially clever addition.
Wishing all of you a festive and delicious 4th of July!
You can choose to slice the cake in half (use the other half for the Rocky Road Cake, or freeze it) or you can leave it whole.
Source: The Art of Real Food by Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups free-range egg whites (about 12 large eggs) room temperature
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 Tbs Meyer lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- MEYER LEMON CREAM CHEESE ICING
- 3 oz Gina Marie cream cheese room temperature
- 1 1/2 Tbs half and half or heavy cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar sifted
- 1 Tbs Meyer lemon zest
- FOR TOPPING THE CAKE
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup fresh raspberries or strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift flour, then measure, and place in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and salt to flour and sift twice more. Set aside.
- Beat egg whites in a large clean bowl. When whites are foamy, add cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla. When bubbles are uniform, add remaining cup of sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Beat whites until they form stiff peaks (when you lift the beaters a peak will form and hold) and sugar is dissolved.
- Fold in the flour with a clean rubber spatula, using a down-the-side-and-up-through-the-batter motion. Do not over mix.
- When mixture is thoroughly combined, turn into a very clean grease-free 10-inch tube pan. Bake 50 minutes. Test for doneness by pressing lightly in center of cake; if it springs back, cake is done.
- Remove from oven and invert pan until cake is cool. The cake must be raised an inch or more above the counter during cooling process. An easy way to do this is to invert the cake pan over a wine-type bottle. When cool, remove the cake by running a serrated knife around the edges of the pan.
- Slice the cake in half horizontally; there’s enough angel food cake to make the 4th of July cake and the Rocky Road Cake. You can freeze the half you don’t use.
- TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE ICING:
- Whip cream cheese and cream until fluffy. Slowly add sifted sugar. Add lemon zest and blend. For an orange flavored icing, replace the lemon zest with orange zest.
- TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
- Gently pour Meyer lemon cream cheese icing over cake; letting it dribble down the sides. Use blueberries and raspberries (or strawberries) to alternate colors on the top of the icing.