Fine Cooking magazine once asked me to create a recipe for a classic old-time lemon icebox cake. I had already perfected the two components, the angel food cake and the lemon mousse, as separate desserts, so the challenge was to transform them into one spectacular pièce de resistance. The angel food cake is cut into two rings for the top and bottom of the cake. The rest of the cake is cut into cubes and folded into the lemon mousse. The cake rings and filling are then arranged in the tube pan in which the cake was baked and allowed to set before unmolding. This is a perfect cake for Mother’s Day or for any special summertime occasion. The lemon angel food cake is also wonderful on its own if you’re in the mood for something simpler.
Plan Ahead Complete the filled cake 12 hours before serving.
|bleached cake flour|
|fine sea salt||.|
|cream of tartar||.|
|lemon juice, freshly squeezed|
|pure vanilla extract||.||.|
|reserved egg whites (from Lemon Curd)|
|cream of tartar||.|
One uncoated 10 inch (16 cups) two-piece metal tube pan | A wire rack elevated about 4 inches or higher above the work surface by setting it on top of 3 or 4 cans, coffee mugs, or glasses of equal height OR a long-neck glass bottle (weighted with sugar or marbles to keep it from tipping) OR a large inverted metal funnel that will fit into the opening at the top of the pan
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and
In a small bowl, whisk together
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and continue beating on medium-high speed until very stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla until combined.
Sift the flour mixture over the meringue,
Using a long narrow spatula or silicone spatula, spread a thin layer of batter onto the sides of the pan to ensure smooth sides. Gently scoop the rest of the batter, distributing it evenly into the pan. In a 16 cup pan, it will be ½ inch from the top of the rim. Run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets and smooth the surface evenly.
Immediately invert the pan onto the prepared wire rack or invert the center tube opening of the pan onto the neck of the bottle to suspend it well above the countertop. Cool completely in the pan, about 1½ hours.
To loosen the sides of the cake from the pan, use a rigid sharp knife or stiff metal spatula, preferably with a squared off end. Scrape firmly against the pan’s sides and slowly and carefully circle the pan. In order to ensure that you are scraping against the sides of the pan and removing the crust from the pan, leaving it on the cake, begin by angling the knife or spatula about 20 degrees away from the cake and toward the pan, pushing the cake inward a bit. It is best to use a knife blade that is at least
Grasp the center core and lift out the cake. Run a wire cake tester or wooden skewer around the center core. Dislodge the cake from the bottom with a metal spatula or thin sharp knife. Invert the cake onto a flat plate covered with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray and then reinvert it onto a serving plate. Let the cake sit for 1 hour, or until the top is no longer tacky. Then cover it with a cake dome or wrap it airtight. Wash and dry the tube pan to use for assembling the cake.
Into a large mixing bowl, pour the cream and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. (Chill a handheld mixer’s beaters alongside the bowl.)
When the lemon curd has cooled, whip the cream, starting on low speed and gradually raising the speed to medium-high as it thickens, until the cream mounds softly when dropped from a spoon. With a whisk or silicone spatula, fold in the lemon curd until completely incorporated. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Use a large balloon whisk or silicone spatula to fold the Italian meringue into the lemon cream mixture in three parts.
Place two 3 foot long sheets of parchment on a flat surface. Slice off the crusty top of the cake to make a semiflat surface. Measure down
Invert the cake. Measure down
Cut the remaining cake into
Cover the two rings and cubed or torn pieces with plastic wrap. Leave the cubed or torn pieces uncovered if the cake is very moist.
Chill the serving plate. Lightly moisten the plate with water to make it easy to reposition and center the cake.
Run a wire cake tester or wooden skewer around the center core. Heat a dish towel by running it under very hot water and wringing out the excess. Wipe the sides and bottom of the cake pan with the hot towel to help release the cake.
Set the cake pan on top of a canister with a diameter smaller than the removable portion of the pan’s bottom and taller than the pan’s sides, and gently press down on the sides of the pan. If the sides do not slide down easily, apply more heat.
Run a long metal spatula between the bottom of the cake and the pan. Set the serving plate on top and invert the cake onto it.
Have ready a
Set the cup in a pan of simmering water for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin is dissolved. It will thicken slightly. Remove the pan from the heat. (This can also be done in a microwave, with 3 second bursts, stirring once or twice until dissolved.)
Pour the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, or into a large bowl and have ready the handheld mixer. Add the cream of tartar.
In a small heavy saucepan, preferably nonstick, stir together
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining
Increase the heat under the sugar syrup to medium-high and continue to boil for a few minutes until an instant-read thermometer reads 248° to 250°F/120°C. Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking.
If using a stand mixer, with the mixer off to keep the syrup from spinning onto the sides of the bowl, add the syrup to the egg whites. Begin by pouring in a small amount. Immediately beat on high speed for 5 seconds. Add the remaining syrup the same way in three parts. For the last addition, use a silicone spatula to remove the syrup clinging to the glass measure and scrape it against the beater. If the syrup has hardened before most of it has been poured, soften it to pouring consistency for a few seconds in the microwave.
If using a handheld mixer, beat the syrup into the egg whites on high speed in a steady stream. Do not let the syrup fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto the sides of the bowl.
Lower the speed to medium, add the gelatin mixture, and beat for 2 minutes. Decrease the speed to low and continue beating until no longer warm to the touch, about 10 minutes, longer if using a handheld mixer.
Lightly coat the sides and bottom of the tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the smaller cake layer into the pan. Spoon a little less than one-third/
Airtight: refrigerated, 5 days.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.