“Healthy” Lemony Angel Food Cake

in Cakes, Desserts

I have a confession.

I gained weight during the holiday season. Like, can’t-fit-in-pretty-dresses type weight gain.  This is not okay. I’m determined to be a girl who can fit into pretty dresses. Or maybe I should just wear bigger dresses? Whatever. You get what I mean, right?

So now I’m on a cliché “bad” food break. It’s gonna be hard. To ease myself into this tough transition, I figured baking a cake would be an awesome idea.

Before you flip out and call me crazy, let me explain.  This cake is “healthy.”  It has NO butter. My normal self would typically have nothing to do with a cake without butter, but tight zippers and waistbands made me give this cake a chance.

And guess what? Best idea #1 of 2011.

Let’s talk cake details, shall we?!

This cake has a whole lot of egg whites–12 to be exact–and good amount of lemon zest, which results in awesome lightness and a mouthful of zing. Me likeee.

And since we’re all a little sleepy from the holiday hecticness, I’m happy to report that this cake is easy peasy to whip up and to top it all off, it’s a one-bowl-cake (sorta) so there’s not a ton of clean-up.  Lovely.

The only sort of lame thing about Angel Food Cake (besides the cooling time), is that you need the right pan. I repeat, you MUST have an Angel Food Cake pan. I’ve heard of some people being successful with a bundt pan, but I didn’t want to risk it. I wanted cake.

But, I’m happy to report that my dad found the one pictured for $9 at Sur La Table last week! It was totally worth it.

And since this pan didn’t have legs, I cooled it by suspending it on a sort of empty bottle of wine. Snazzy, no?!

My favorite part of this cake, by far, was the icing. It’s not your typical buttercream. It’s a lemon flavored, snappy whipped cream icing. Amazing.

This is the time when I convince you (and myself) that the icing was “healthy,” but I simply can’t. There’s nothing healthy about it. It has sugar, lemon juice, a dash of flour and a whole lot of heavy whipping cream.

Sorry, dresses. I tried.

Lemony Angel Food Cake

Recipe by Martha Stewart

The Cake:

1 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)

1 1/2 cups sugar

12 large egg whites

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Lemon Cream:

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cake flour (not self-rising)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with rack in lower third of oven. Sift flour and 1/2 cup sugar into a bowl.

Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add lemon zest and juice, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt; continue whisking until soft peaks form, about 2 1/2 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add remaining cup sugar.

Increase speed to medium-high; continue whisking until firm, not stiff, peaks form, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle whites with 1/3 of the flour-sugar mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine. Sprinkle remaining flour-sugar mixture over whites in 2 additions; gently fold to combine.

Transfer batter to a 10-inch angel food cake pan with legs. Gently run a knife through the center of the batter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and invert onto its cooling legs (if your tube pan doesn’t have legs, invert it over the neck of a wine, or similarly shaped, bottle to cool); let cool, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of cake to remove. Invert onto a serving platter. (Use a knife to separate cake from bottom of pan.) Let cool on a wire rack. Unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Make the lemon cream: Prepare an ice-water bath. Whisk lemon juice, sugar, flour, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; whisk constantly for 1 minute, until it thickens. Transfer to a heatproof bowl set in ice-water bath to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk cream and lemon zest with a mixer on medium speed until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into juice mixture in thirds. Refrigerate lemon cream, up to overnight.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet January 3, 2011 at 3:40 am

This cake sounds so good – and I love the fluffy texture.

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Blog is the New Black January 3, 2011 at 4:20 am

This looks fabulous- I haven’t made an angel food cake yet. I already bought cake flour in hopes of doing so soon!

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Tiffany @ Conor & Bella January 3, 2011 at 5:01 am

Angel Food Cake is my favorite! I’ve never had one from scratch, though. Looks lovely!

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Katrina January 3, 2011 at 5:44 am

This cake looks lovely! I also gained a lot of weight this season. Great recipe.

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Ryan January 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

Oh my goodness, yum! That looks amazing. I definitely will be buying an angel food pan as soon as possible!
And pretty dresses are overrated, anyway :P Life is too short to worry about fitting into dresses xD

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Adrianna January 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Good job on being awesome.

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Joanne January 3, 2011 at 9:46 am

usually, when I get stressed out by the thought of dieting, I bake cupcakes. So I totally understand. And I want to fit into my dresses too! And my skinny jeans. and the rest of my clothing. Sigh. Guess i need to make this cake!

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Adrianna January 3, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Ohhhhh skinny jeans…

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laura @ a little barefoot January 3, 2011 at 11:32 am

i feel like such a cliche for saying i’m going to eat better and exercise more just because it’s january – and yet here i am, trying to do both of those things. i’ll file this beautiful cake away for when i feel like being a bit bad again.

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Jessica January 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I just saw some Meyer lemons at the store, now I feel that I must go and buy them and make this dessert, it will trick my mind into believing that Spring is here. (Its not)

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Adrianna January 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Oooo…this would be super lovely with meyer lemons!

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potpiedumonde January 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm

that looks delicious! I am going to try it this week :)

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Becky January 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Looks amazing! My mom gave me her spare Angel Food Cake pan recently, so I’ll have to use this recipe to break it in! : )

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Adrianna January 3, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Yes! You must! Perfect timing.

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Tina January 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Ur so adorable :) love the fluffy texture and yummy lemon vibe to it – it’s just so sassy. This is total woman food!!

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Adrianna January 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Yay.. I like you!

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Stephanie P @ Living and Loving January 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm

YUM. I love angel food cake!!! So light and fluffy! The perfect after holiday dessert ;)

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit January 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I love angel food cake- it’s the perfect “not so guilty” treat. I’ve never had one flavored with lemon, and with delicious lemon frosting too! It sounds scrumptious! :)

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The Savvy Kitchen January 4, 2011 at 7:31 am

Thanks for sharing all these great recipes! I’ve started a new cooking blog myself and would any feedback or comments you can give, so please be sure to check out The Savvy Kitchen at http://savvykitchen.blogspot.com/. I look forward to continuing reading your blog in 2011!

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Nicole January 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Angel food cakes are just so beautiful. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve made one, thanks for the reminder :)

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Cookie and Kate January 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Yum! My grandma always bakes me am angel food cake from scratch for my birthday (which is on Christmas). This year, she couldn’t make it to town so I’m tempted to try making one for myself!

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bonnie January 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Sounds great! Am thinking that lemon cream would be great on a rather plain buttermilk cake, too.

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Dana January 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

You can do so many other waistline friendly things with angel food cake too! The lemon of this one would do great with some macerated berries!

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Melissa January 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I received an angel food cake pan and a lemon juice for Christmas! This will be perfect for breaking them in. :) Thanks!

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Chau April 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Hi Adrianna, I’ve just come across your blog. Very nice looking angel food cake. One question, did you INVERT the cake pan over the neck of the wine bottle to cool? In the photo it looks like it wasn’t. If you forgot to invert, I’d highly recommend you do it next time because it makes such a difference in texture–extra fluffiness! Secure the base of the bottle with something heavy like books if you don’t want to risk it tipping over. I hope that was useful. :)

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Samantha January 10, 2012 at 9:20 am

Adrianna, this is beautiful, I’m sharing with my page@Angels By The Sea on Book of Faces, please come check us out. I adore your pictures too! Heavenly kudos, xo

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Jeniece May 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm

This cake is incredible! It was a lot of work for me with my hand mixer (one day I will have a kitchenaid stand mixer!!!!) but it was completely worth it. It worked perfectly, the texture was great and everyone at bible study gave it rave reviews. 10 out of 10 for sure!

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