Someone on the Leftover Queen Forum that I am a member of, started a thread asking what our "guilty pleasures (foodwise, ok) were. My answer was, angel food cake. I have had a love affair with this dessert longer than I can remember. So, of course, I have been obsessing about baking one ever since.
I found the best recipe in a Cooking Light cookbook from 2004, and have made many variations of it. Looking through it today, I noticed a recipe for Angel Food Shortcakes. The idea to adapt this to a miniature size intrigued me, and I also wanted to try yet another baked item with my favorite tea ( see Orange, Honey Ginseng Scones from my March posts). So, here is my adaptation of the recipe. I thought they were light, sweet and sticky little gems. You can really taste the honey from the tea. These would be perfect after a heavier meal or with an afternoon tea.
Recipe is as follows, I made 28 sandwiches.
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided (I used my vanilla sugar)
1 tea bag of Honey Ginseng Green Tea or 1 tsp favorite tea
6 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 tsp fresh orange juice
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp key lime juice (you could use lemon)
about 2 tbl. slivered almonds
powdered sugar for dusting
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
2 oz. softened cream cheese
2-3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. No prep work necessary for the muffin tins. I used a mini tin. If you use another size, increase your cooking time, or use the pan in the original recipe and cut cake into squares.
To make the cake batter, whisk together the flour and 6 tbl. of the granulated sugar and the tea. In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and the salt and beat until soft peaks form. Add 6 tbl of the sugar, a bit at a time, (be patient), and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in the orange and lime juice and the vanilla.
Lightly add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and gently fold in so you do not deflate the eggs.. Continue doing this until all of the flour is mixed into the eggs.
I used two spoons to fill the tins, filling them to the top. Place an almond sliver on half of them, the other half will be the bottom of the sandwich, so no almond is needed.
Bake for about 14 minutes of until they are a pick golden on the edge and spring back when the top is lightly touched. As soon as you can handle them, which is just a few minutes, run a thin knife around the edges and pop them out. Let cool on a rack.
While the cakes are baking you can work on the filling. Place the raspberries in a small heavy pan along with the lemon juice and sugar. Cook the mixture on med. low heat until the berries have broken down and the mixture begins to thicken a bit. Remove from the heat and run the berries through a fine sieve. I use a spatula to smooth them through. You will have about 1/8 cup of the puree when finished. If you would like to skip this step, try any fruit jam you desire. Chill the puree, and then add to the cream cheese and powdered sugar, starting with about 2 cups of the sugar. Beat this together, adding more sugar if needed, until you get the desired consistency. I found that it helps to chill the filling a bit at this point.
When all the components are ready, place a dollop of the filling atop a bottom cake and then sandwhich with an almond topped cake. I found that having a platter that was lightly dusted with powdered sugar was good to set the sandwiches on. Beware, the cakes are a bit sticky (think of a slice of angel food cake), so be prepared to rinse your fingers a them a few times. I plated them and gave them another light dusting of sugar. You could store them in the fridge, but I doubt it you will have them around that long. Me, I will save a few for us and share the rest with guinea pigs, I mean friends! You will have some filling left, but it is yummy on toasted bagels.