POPPY SEED ANGEL FOOD CAKE WITH ORANGE-LIME CURD
From: Celebrating the Seasons by John Littlewood
Light as a cloud and fat-free—angel food, indeed. You'll need a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom for this recipe.
Makes 12 servings
• 2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (from about 14 eggs)
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
• 2 cups sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose or cake flour
• 4 tablespoons poppy seeds
• Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
• Orange-lime curd (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 375° Prepare the cake pan: Put a few drops of vegetable oil on your fingers and lightly spread it on the inside bottom ring of the pan. Do not oil the sides of the pan. (If the pan is too well lubricated, the cake will pull away as it cools and lose its shape.)
2. With an electric mixer, whip egg whites, lemon juice, and vanilla (and almond extract, if using) on high speed to soft-peak stage. Gradually add sugar and salt, and whip to stiff-peak stage.
3. Sift flour. Add poppy seeds and zest, if using. Fold half of flour mixture into the meringue, then fold in other half. Pour batter into pan and, with a knife or rubber spatula, spread batter so it is level.
4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. While cake is baking, make Orange-lime curd.
5. Cake is done when the top is golden brown. The center will spring back when touched lightly, and a skewer inserted in the middle will come out dry. The cake may be puny and cracked on top, or even slightly fallen (it will fall a bit anyway as it cools). Remove from oven and cool, upside down on a rack, for at least 15 minutes. Use a paring knife to cut the cake away from the pan.
6. Invert cake onto a serving plate. Cut cake with a serrated knife and serve with some of the Orange-lime curd.
Note: Do not move a cake directly from the oven to a very cold place, or it will fall.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
• 1/2 cup lime juice
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 1 egg
• 6 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup sugar
• Pinch of kosher salt
1. Pour about 3/4 inch water in the bottom of a double boiler, making certain top pan will not touch water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
2. Combine lime juice, orange juice, egg, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in top of double boiler and whisk until smooth; set over the boiling water.
3. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes, whisking curd occasionally as it thickens. Using a rubber spatula, push curd through a mesh strainer. Lightly press plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming on top. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until cool.
• Turn this curd into a sauce by whisking in a little water.
• To make Meyer lemon curd, omit both lime and orange juices, and use 1 cup Meyer lemon juice instead.
• To make a lime- or lemon-only curd, omit orange juice, use 1 cup of lime or lemon juice, and increase sugar to 1 cup.
• Curd can be thickened and used as a cake filling: whisk 2 teaspoons cornstarch into the lemon juice—egg mixture before heating it. Try this curd instead of the coconut custard in the Sponge cake with coconut custard.
• You can lighten the texture of this curd by folding in Sweetened whipped cream. Mix 2 parts curd with 1 part whipped cream.