Rachel recreates an American favourite, the heavenly Angel Food Cake
- butter, for greasing
- 125 g (4.5oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch of salt
- 175 g (6oz) caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, sifted
- 8 egg whites (250ml/9fl oz)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 23cm (9in) diameter cake tin with 6cm
- 1/4 tsp lavender essence
- 1–2 tbsp boiling water
- 250 g (9oz) icing sugar, sifted
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Butter the sides of the cake tin and dust with flour, then line the base with a disc of baking parchment.
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and mix in 150g (5oz) of the caster sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining sugar with the cream of tartar.
- Tip the egg whites into a large, spotlessly clean bowl or in an electric food mixer. Using a hand-held electric beater or the food mixer, whisk the egg whites for about 20 seconds or until they begin to turn cloudy and frothy.
- With the beater or mixer still running, add the mixed sugar and cream of tartar then continue to whisk until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks.
- Carefully fold in the vanilla extract, followed by the dry ingredients, adding these quarters at a time and folding in very lightly, so as not to knock any air out of the mixture.
- Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20–28 minutes or until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Using a small, sharp knife to loosen the edges, carefully remove the cake from the tin and leave on a wire rack to finish cooling before transferring to a plate to serve.
- While the cake is cooling, make the icing. In a small bowl, mix together the lavender essence with 1 tablespoon of boiling water.
- Sift the icing sugar into a separate bowl, then add the lavender mixture and stir together until well mixed and runny enough for drizzling – add a few more drops of hot water if it seems too stiff.
- Use a spoon to drizzle all over the cake in a zigzag pattern, and scatter with the lavender flowers.
More by Rachel Allen:
- Steak and watercress bearnaise
- Ivan's chinese crispy mackerel pancakes
- Smocked haddock and cockle soup