Monday, April 30, 2012

#Baketogether with Abby Dodge: Strawberry Angel Food Cake Trifle

This month’s #baketogether with Abby Dodge sounded simple enough.  She asked everyone this month to take her foolproof recipe and bake a simple angel food cake; an innocent combination of egg whites, flour and sugar.  I’ve seen my mother-in-law bake a hundred of these fluffy, spongy, cloudlike confections.   Piece of cake, huh? Well, not so fast, I do live at 6,300 ft.

I thought for my #baketogether offering, I would fold in some fresh strawberry puree right at the end, pour the batter into miniature tube pans that I have been wondering what to do with and then bake them up high and drizzle them with a Meyer lemon glaze and my strawberry lemonade angel food cakes would be something the culinary world would talk about for years to come.  Foodgawker and TasteSpotting would come and ask MY permission to put these little works of art on their front page.  Then the oven timer rang.

At first they looked quite good.  Ahhh, I thought my plan was surely coming to fruition.  I inverted the pan over a wire rack and left them alone to cool.  After about 15 minutes, I gently lifted the pan to have a peek at my masterpieces and much to my dismay they resembled little pink hockey pucks.  I quickly pulled one apart to see that surely they must at least have a heavenly texture.  Nope. Rubber biscuit. Oh man! This is not how it was supposed to go!

Unlike my blogger friend Barb over at Creative Culinary who has her own tale of high altitude chocolate angel food cake woe; I didn’t take photos of mine and only wish I had, for it is from our failures that we learn our most memorable lessons.  I’m not sure if my experimental addition of the strawberry puree (no guts, no glory) sabotaged my dream cakes or it was the altitude, or a combination of both, but I decided against investing another 11 egg whites in this venture. 

Left to deal with my family’s disappointment and an extreme angel food cake craving, I decided to take a different road and just buy one at my supermarket’s bakery.  I know, I know, this is a real cop out, and I really feel terrible about it, but we’ve all done it. 

Since I can’t give you a great recipe for a legendary strawberry lemonade version of Abby’s cake as planned, I decided to make a nice old southern summertime recipe containing my store bought angel food cake that I think just might satisfy everyone’s craving around here.  If you would like to make your own angel food cake according to Abby’s normally successful recipe, please click here.  If you are in the market for a recipe for adorable pink rubber hockey pucks, drop me a line and I’ll hook you up.

Strawberry Angel Food Cake Trifle

2 quarts strawberries, hulled and cut into bite size pieces

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 – 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

1 – 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided

3 cups angel food cake, cut into 1” cubes

1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans

Place strawberries into a large bowl.  Remove a couple of large handfuls and place them in a blender or food processor, puree; set aside.

Place puree into a small saucepan.  To the puree add sugar and salt; stir well and place over medium heat.

Place cornstarch into a small bowl.  Combine with the water and add to the puree and sugar mixture in the saucepan.  Stir well and heat to boiling; stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear and thick, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat, add lemon or lime juice, stir and set aside to cool.

In a medium size bowl combine together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.  With an electric mixer, mix on low until the ingredients are completely blended and smooth.  Add 1/2 cup of the whipped cream.  Whip with an electric mixer set to high until the mixture is thick and fluffy; set aside.

Sprinkle cake cubes into the bottom of a large bowl; top with the cream cheese mixture and spread to an even layer with the back of a spoon; set aside.

Pour cooled puree over the strawberries in the large bowl.  Stir well to completely coat the strawberries; spoon the strawberries and glaze over the cream cheese mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Before serving, whip the remaining 1 cup whipping cream with an electric mixer on high until it is fluffy and beginning to thicken.  Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract; continue to whip until the cream is thick and fluffy. To serve, spoon cake into bowls and top with whipped cream and nuts. 

Easily serves 6 - 8


Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

You had hockey pucks? How adorable! Mine was just a big old brown flat tire! I suppose I will try again but now I know why I found that angel food cake pan at a yard sale too.

I love the sound of your end result and I for one think the measure of a cooks creativity is to know when to punt. With a puck even. :)

DaniD said...

I love this!!! Everyone has those days in the kitchen and I think your original recipe sounded delightful :)

Ansh said...

Hockey pucks and flat tires!! What else is in store!! I baked some almond cookies from a very "famous and highly praised" cookbook and they failed! They looked like potato wafers gone bad.

But you are right, we learn from our mistakes, I did too.. Dumped the book :))

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Trifles are so good. And sometimes it is better to take a short cut in the kitchen.

Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet said...

I can't imagine having to deal with all the high altitude baking issues! I have enough baking failures at sea level. :)