Last year for my birthday, I was fantasizing about being whisked away to the City of Lights. I had Paris on my mind all year. I thought, why not a little Paris getaway for my birthday?
Fabrizio was not too keen on the idea. Initially, he thought I was joking. I mean, what mom in their right mind could plan a trip to Paris all alone. He started to take me seriously when he saw me sneaking peaks at Expedia. I was only looking. I was merely price checking.
One lazy afternoon when I had already forgotten my French dream, he offered me Paris. Paris at Epcot in Orlando. Not quite the Paris I had in mind, so I begrudgingly decided to let mon petit rêve go. Paris will wait for another year.
This year I am not feeling the same urgency to do something over the top fabulous. I normally never am for a birthday. If it weren’t for my friend’s sister-in-law going to Paris for her birthday a couple years ago, I would’ve never even have dreamed of it. I live for celebrating my kids’ birthdays. There really isn’t a need to make a big deal about my birthday. It’s just another day. And it’s all about the CAKE!
I remember my mom making a big deal about my birthdays. It was always about the cakes. Like this pretty cake on my first birthday. This was a simple yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. My mom used to decorate all our birthday cakes. I love my mom.
me and my papa’.
And so tonight, I’m dreaming of what cake Fabrizio will bring me for my birthday tomorrow. I know it will be something really good. Maybe with a little Nutella. Maybe a cake filled with crema pasticcera and topped with little cream puffs. Maybe he’ll bring two!
I’ll be back to post the cake photos. There’s been a lot of cakes these last few weeks. We have three birthdays in three weeks. Kind of nice to get them all out of the way at once and just eat cake for weeks.
So I leave you with a happy, end of summer cake: a fluffy as a cloud angel food cake. I filled the middle with a little bit of tangy lemon curd, a gentle layer of whipped cream, and scattered sweet berries on top like pretty jewels. The crunch from the biscotti on the side of the cake is a nice contrast to the delicate cake. This could be one of my favorite cakes.
Mixed Berry Angel Food Cake
yields: 10-12 servings
Angel Food Cake
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour
12 egg whites at room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup lemon curd
pint of heavy whipping cream
approximately 2 cups mixed berries to scatter on top
approximately 5-7 cantucci (biscotti) pulsed in processor to make crumbs to decorate sides
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Separate the egg whites in a medium sized bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Bring the egg whites to room temperature. In a food processor, spin sugar till superfine. Mix together the cake flour, salt, and the first half of the sugar. Sift and reserve. Set the rest aside. In a large metal bowl, combine egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Beat with hand mixer on high. Continue beating until egg whites form soft peaks.
Gradually beat in the second half of the sugar (the part that was not sifted with the cake flour), the lemon zest, and the vanilla. Continue to beat until it forms medium glossy peaks. Try not to overbeat it to stiff peaks.
Using a wide rubber spatula, gently fold in the cake flour and sugar into the egg whites a little at time. This should take you about four-six times. Continue folding only until the cake flour and sugar are absorbed. Take your time and do it gently to avoid deflating the egg whites. You may have a few lumpy spots and that is not a problem. Spoon the batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan (tube pan), 10×4 inches. Smooth the top with a spatula and give your pan a little shake to level it out. This will get rid of any large bubbles in the batter.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until cake is golden brown. Check your cake around 40 minutes. Every oven is different.
You will tell that it is ready because the cracks on top of the cake will feel dry and top springs back when touched lightly or when a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Immediately turn pan upside down onto heatproof funnel or bottle. Let the cake hang until it is completely cool. Now don’t worry, the cake will not fall out of the pan. Loosen side of cake with knife or long, metal spatula; remove from pan.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
- 3 large egg yolks, strained
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
- Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth.
- Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour.
1 pint of heavy whipping cream (I used organic)
Chill a medium sized metal bowl in the freezer. Remove bowl from the freezer and add the heavy whipping cream to the bowl. Using a hand mixer on high speed, whip the cream until soft peaks begin to form (about 1-2 minutes).
When the cake has cooled, slice in the middle. Spread the lemon curd on the bottom layer of the cake. Carefully place the top layer on top of the lemon curd layer. With a spatula, spread evenly some of the whipped cream around the sides of the cake. Gently pat the biscotti crumbs around the sides of the cake. Pipe the remaining whipped cream on top of the cake or spread on with a spatula.
Scatter on top your mixed berries and ENJOY.
Thank you for stopping by!! Hope your week is wonderful!
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