Three things I can count on when a new year begins: I try and be healthy-ish for a while, there’s a ton of great citrus available, and other fruit sucks because it’s out of season. This dessert takes all three of those things in mind. An angel food cake is light, delicate, low in fat and just what you want after months of heavy holiday celebrations, and the lemon gives it just enough pop. If you like more lemon flavor, you add a bit of extract to enhance the zest but it’s not necessary. The mixed berry compote is the perfect accompaniment, using fruit that was frozen at the peak of flavor, so it doesn’t need much to shine. Remember to save the lemons after you zest them to be the juice for the compote; you’ll need about two for both recipes. Oh, and if you don’t have superfine sugar, don’t fret! Just pulse regular granulated sugar in a food processor a few times. You’ll know you have the right consistency if it sifts without any problems.
Lemony Angel Food Cake
- 10 egg whites (300 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups (297 grams) superfine sugar, separated
- 1 cup (114 grams) cake flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
- Dash of lemon extract (optional)
Mixed Berry Compote
- 3 cups (420 grams) frozen mixed berries
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon fruit-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Make the Angel Food Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- In a bowl fitted for a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar. On medium speed, whip until eggs begin to whiten and become frothy.
- In a slow and steady stream, add 1 cup of the sugar and then increase the speed to medium-high. Whip until the mixture has formed medium peaks.
- In the meantime, sift the remaining sugar and cake flour four times.
- When the egg whites are ready, remove the bowl and sift the sugar/flour mixture over the egg whites in four batches, gently folding each time to incorporate and careful not to deflate the mixture.
- Gently spoon the mixture into an ungreased tube pan, smoothing out the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the mixture is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Invert the pan onto a rack and cool upside down completely before removing from the pan.
Make the Compote:
- In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, lemon juice, sugar and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Once the mixture is simmering and the sugar is dissolved, make a slurry with the liqueur and cornstarch, and stir it into the fruit. Simmer for one minute and then remove from heat.
- Let the mixture cool slightly then serve warm or at room temperature. Mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated to desired consistency.
Serve the Cake:
- Using a sharp non-serrated knife, loosen the edges of the cake and carefully remove from the pan. Cut slices using a serrated knife and serve with the compote. Cake leftovers can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.