Chocolate Angel Food Cake

This cake is wonderfully light and moist and can be “dressed up” for any occasion. You will need a 23cm x 10cm deep cake tin – not loose bottomed.  There are tins on the market which are made specifically for Angel Cakes.  They have a tube in the centre. Angel food cakes are very unusual in that the sponge is fat free and there is no greasing of the tin. The sponge needs to cling onto the tin whilst baking and rising in the oven and then bizarrely when it comes out of the oven it is turned upside down to cool.

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees (fan) and the only preparation for the tin is to place a piece of baking parchment to the base of the tin and stand the tin in the centre. If you have an angel food cake tin then you may want to place a piece of paper in the base.  Lining the base is not essential but without a piece of paper I found I left a little of the cake behind.  Do not grease the sides of the tin or the ring pull tin in the centre.

Start by sifting together the icing sugar, plain flour, cornflour, coffee and cocoa powder. Then sift them together again and then a third time.  Lots of air is required for this cake and the cocoa needs to be well combined.  Set aside.

In a very large mixing bowl whisk together the egg whites with the lemon juice until soft peaks are formed. Add then the sugar which has been mixed with the cream of tartar, one large spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition.  You will have a very thick meringue.  Fold in then the flour mix in three parts, stirring slowly and thoroughly between each addition and lastly stir through the vanilla.

Transfer the mix to the tin and when it is all in use a knife to gently stir it around to try to settle it down and get rid of any air pockets.

Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Take from the oven and immediately turn the cake upside down onto a cooling tray. The tin inside will stand proud of the cake tin so be careful to balance the cake carefully on the small tin.  Leave the cake to go completely cold.

Once cold turn the tin the right side up and run a knife around the sides of the tin and around the centre tin or tube.  Remove the tin first then turn out onto a rack or plate and prepare for decoration.

For the cream:

Place the 3 egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour in a medium sized saucepan and mix together to a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk then place over a low heat and keep stirring until the custard thickens.  Transfer to a cold bowl, cover with a plate and allow to cool completely.

When ready to mix the filling and assemble the cake.  Take the bowl containing the cold pastry cream – it will be quite solid and needs to be slackened off in order to be workable.  To do this add 2-3 tbsp. of  double cream (from the 300ml) and whisk the two together with an electric hand whisk until the pastry cream is smooth.  In a separate bowl pour the rest of the double cream and icing sugar then whisk to soft peaks.   Once the two consistencies are the same (the bowl of  pastry cream and the double cream)  they can be mixed together.  Flavour with either vanilla, fruit curd and also freeze dried fruit powders are handy to have in stock.  I stirred passion fruit powder into mine which works very well with chocolate.

Spread the cream over the top and sides of the cake and decorate with slices of strawberry.


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