Happy almost 4th of July! This is by far my favorite holiday. I love summer food, fireworks and warm weather. When I was a kid, my dad had a huge collection of fireworks. Every 4th and even sometimes on our birthdays he would light a bunch in our back yard. I loved sitting on the deck with my brother and sister watching the night sky light up. To this day I need to see fireworks sometime around the 4th or it just doesn’t feel like summer. While thinking about our plans for the 4th, I started to think about the perfect summertime dessert. For me that dessert is angel food cake
I love angel food cake. I especially love it with seasonal berries and a bit of whipped cream. I have attempted to make this cake many times but not all my attempts have been successful. One time it didn’t rise, another time it was tough and sort of flat and most recently I forgot to set the timer and it burned. Bubba and kids love angel food cake so I was determined to make one that actually tasted good! I found a recipe for it on the blog Joy the Baker. Check out this fantastic food blog if you haven’t already! I adapted the recipe only by adding lime zest and lime juice. I love lime in cakes and cookies. Also, we have a bunch of limes in the house because Bubba likes a gin and tonic especially in the summertime.
I added the zest of one lime to half of the sugar mixture. (Blend with your fingers any citrus zest with sugar before adding it to a batter and the citrus flavor will be more pronounced. The oils in the zest are released when you blend them with the sugar.)
I love how sifted flour looks like freshly fallen snow.
When you beat the egg whites be sure not to over beat them. You do not want stiff peaks. The egg whites should double in volume and look glossy.
Fold the flour mixture into the egg whites in 4 batches. Over mixing will cause the egg whites to deflate. Once incorporated, pour batter into an ungreased tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.
While your cake cooks, combine 1 pint of mixed berries in a bowl with 2-4 teaspoons of sugar depending on how sweet your berries taste. Set aside at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until the berries release some of their juices. The fruit can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to a day.
This how my cake turned out. Not bad, not perfect but it did taste great. The lime zest and juice is a nice addition but the fresh, local berries really stole the show. Have a very happy 4th!
Lime Angel Food Cake with Mixed Berries and Whipped Cream
Slightly adapted from Joy the Baker
makes 1 cake
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/3 cup warm water
zest of one lime
2 teaspoons of lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 pint of mixed berries ( I used a combination of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries)
2 to 4 teaspoons sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle.
In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, grind sugar for about 2 minutes. (This will make a super fine sugar that will absorb easier into the egg whites.)
Place half of the sugar in a small bowl and add lime zest. Blend the lime zest and the sugar together with your fingertips for about a minute.
Sift together the remaining sugar, salt, and cake flour. Set aside.
Using an electric stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites, water, lime juice, and cream of tartar at medium speed. Increase the speed to medium high, gradually adding the sugar from the small bowl, until medium peaks form. You do not want stiff peaks.
Sift in one-quarter of the flour and sugar mixture and gently fold with a spatula. Do not over mix or it will deflate the egg whites! Add the flour mixture in three more batches. Fold until completely incorporated. Spoon batter into ungreased tube pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes but start checking with a skewer at 37 minutes. Once the skewer comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove cake from the oven and place it upside down on a cooling rack for at least an hour. Gently remove from pan once cool.
Mix berries with 2-4 teaspoons of sugar and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or until the berries release their juices. Lightly whip cream in a cold bowl , adding a bit of vanilla extract and sugar, if you like your whipped cream that way.
Slice cake and serve with berries and whipped cream. Store cake, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days. Enjoy!