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English Breakfast Tea Angel Food Cake!

My second venture into Carole Bloom’s baking book resulted in a new household favorite. English Breakfast Tea Angel Food Cake (p. 590) from The Essential Baker [1] is absolutely amazing. It is scented with tea, has the perfect texture and isn’t overly sweet. Paired with sour cherries [2] and raspberry sorbet it is a lovely and light dessert for spring. (That is if spring ever comes!)

I was so taken with this cake and its unique twist on a traditional and often dull recipe, that I am going to share it with you. I’ve mentioned that I am in the process of baking my way through many of the cakes in this book for the Edesia cookbook group on May 19th [3]. In fairness to Carole Bloom I will not share all of the recipes I make. I’ve decided to pick 2-3 that are exceptional in my modest opinion. If any of you have suggestions please share them with me!

English Breakfast Tea Angel Food Cake by Carole Bloom:

1/4 cup loose English breakfast tea leave [4] (this is a link to the tea I use) next time I will try it with Lapsang Souchong [5] which has a smoky flavor and I think will be very interesting with the sweetness of the cake.

1/2 cup boiling water

12 extra large egg whites, at room temperature

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cups superfine sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

3/4 cup superfine sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Brew tea:

Put tea leaves in a bowl. (bowl made by my mother-in-law!)

Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over leaves.

Let steep for 10 minutes.

Press leaves through a fine mesh sieve and collect all of the tea. Mine came to about 1/4 cup of tea.

Prepare tube pan with parchment on the bottom. Do NOT grease. The cake needs to be able to cling to the sides and climb up the pan. If you grease it the cake will collapse.

Sift together the cake flour and 3/4 cups superfine sugar in a bowl.

Add salt and set aside.

If your eggs are not at room temperature then rest them in a bowl of warm water for about 5-8 minutes before separating them. Egg whites whip up better when warm and elastic.

Place the egg whites in a grease-free bowl of a standing mixer. Whip on medium speed until frothy and then add the cream of tartar.

Once you have soft peaks then slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup superfine sugar.

Whip until the eggs are glossy and firm, but not stiff, peaks.

Slowly add the 1/4 cup of tea. (Carole has you add it all at once. It seemed like a lot of liquid to add to those glossy egg whites so I alternated the tea with the flour in 3 additions.)

Put 1/3 of the flour mixture over the top of your egg whites and then fold them in with a rubber spatula.

Add another 1/3 of the tea. Repeat with the last bit of flour and tea.

Transfer to the prepared tube pan. Run a knife through the batter to get any air bubbles out and then gently tap on the counter.

Smooth the top out.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 1 hour, until cake tester comes out clean.

Invert the pan over a bottle to cool. You do not want to cool bottom down on a cooling rack or the cake will collapse. Cool to room temperature before trying to remove from pan.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan.

Then around the center tube.

Invert the pan over a plate and remove the bottom of the tube pan.

Remove the parchment.

Turn over onto a serving tray. Use a sharp serrated knife or an Angel Food Cake Cutter [6]. The one I have is an antique given to me by my dear friend Sally. I have to admit that I had to ask her what on earth it was used for when she presented it to me! Now I use it all the time!

Serve your Angel food cake with creme Anglaise [7], red wine poached sour cherries [2] or just a dusting of powdered sugar. I’m going to make a trifle out of the left overs! Enjoy.