This will show those berry-American flag cakes who’s boss

So, did you volunteer to bring dessert to the annual fourth of July [insert you choice of event here]?  Did you maybe slack a little with the sign-up?  Maybe you were distracted by the return of True Blood or the College World Series.  And, in your distraction, did your next-door-neighbor or maybe your Aunt Janet steal the decorated-by-berries-to-look-like-an-American-flag cake, pie or tart slot?

Well then, I have a party cake for you.  Five words: pistachios, limes, angel food cake.

Still with me? If you’ve never made angel food cake, you need to try.  It’s really fun.  And this one starts with 10 egg whites (Hint: use the yolks to make ice cream).

A little cream of tarter will help to stabilize the meringue.

As will a little sugar.  Follow the instructions and repeat after me: one tablespoon at-a-time.

As you may have guessed at this point.  Or maybe you already knew.  Angel food cake gets its light and airy texture from a volumous and glossy meringue.  And this meringue?  Is decorated with lime zest.

The tenatious texture of the batter and the need to be really careful when transferring to your tube pan (so as not to deflate the whole mess) may have you momentarily wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.  Not to worry.  You’ll see.

See, I told you the cake would turn out.

And here is the fun part–the cake cools…inverted.  If you are using a tube pan like I did, it probably has some handy little spikes that allow you to invert.  If not,  a bottle should work.

While the cake hangs-out, it’s time to attend to the pistachios.  I hand-shelled the ones in this recipe.  It took a long time. Then I learned that you can buy pistachio “meat” at specialty and health food stores.  I found them at Sprouts.  So, pistachios get a nice fine chop.

And then those zested limes?  The juice is made into a syrup.

And this is when the angel food cake gets dressed to party.  Paint on the syrup, smush-in chopped pistachios.  They’ll stick, I swear!

The original recipe calls for a little simple glaze, but, I love the green of the pistachios and didn’t think this cake needed anything more.

Light and refreshing with just enough zing from the lime to make you pucker a little and enough crunch from the pistachios to add intrigue.  Now, whose having us over for the fourth?

Soundtrack

Did you know that Pandora has a Kate Spade channel?

4th of July Partay Cake

aka Lime Angel Food Cake with Lime Glaze and Pistachios, yawn

Bon Apetit, April 2010

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Lime syrup and lime glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted raw pistachios (about 2 ounces), finely chopped in processor
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Special equipment: 10-inch-diameter angel food cake pan with 4-inch-high sides and removable bottom (do not use nonstick pan)

For cake: 
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Sift flour, 1/2 cup superfine sugar, and salt into medium bowl; repeat sifting 3 times. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, lime peel, and vanilla on medium speed in large bowl until frothy (mixture may turn neon green but color will change when remaining ingredients are added). Add cream of tartar; increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle 1/3 of flour mixture over whites and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining flour mixture in 2 more additions just until incorporated. Transfer to ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan with 4-inch-high sides and removable bottom (do not use nonstick pan); smooth top.

Bake cake until pale golden and tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 38 minutes. Immediately invert cake onto work surface if pan has feet, or invert center tube of pan onto neck of bottle or metal funnel and cool cake completely.

Using long thin knife, cut around cake sides and center tube to loosen. Lift out center tube with cake still attached; run knife between cake and bottom of pan to loosen. Invert cake onto rack, then turn cake over, rounded side up. Set rack with cake atop rimmed baking sheet.

For lime syrup and lime glaze: 
Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons lime juice in small saucepan; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Brush syrup all over top and sides of cake. Immediately press pistachios onto top and sides of cake, pressing to adhere.

Stir powdered sugar with remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Let stand until glaze sets, about 10 minutes. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.

Transfer cake to platter; cut into wedges and serve.

 

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