Daffodil Cake from Cooks Country Magazine
To quote an old saying, “The best laid schemes of mice and moms oft go askew.” We are having company tonight and I had determined early in the day that I was going to finish my association with this issue of Cook’s Country by making the beautiful Daffodil Cake that graces the inside back cover.
I’d actually planned on making it last week, but upon rummaging through my pots and pans, I couldn’t locate the angel food cake pan I could have sworn I had. Then, talking with my mom about it later in the week, she asked me for the description, and when I gave it to her, she started laughing and said I was describing her pan. No wonder I hadn’t seen it in over 15 years.
So, this week I went out and bought a new one. Unfortunately, the stores only had the non-stick kind, which I don’t want, but I really wanted to make this cake so I got one anyhow. I’ve since then gone on eBay and ordered the proper old aluminum kind and am just waiting on delivery.
For those who are curious as to why I’d choose aluminum over non-stick, what makes an angel food cake work is its ability to “climb” up the sides of the cake pan. If the pan is non-stick, the cake will slip and not climb as high, which I think ended up being the case with my poor cake. It’s still lovely, but it definitely did not reach the heights it would have if I’d have stolen my mom’s pan while I lived at home.
The Daffodil Cake recipe calls for a recipe for any angel food cake to be used, so find your favorite or search one down online. There are many folks that would that spell out all sorts of doom and gloom that can occur if exact parameters aren’t met when making an angel food cake, like the total absence of even a speck of yolk, etc.
I half expected some commentary on the alignment of the planets to be involved as well. These warnings and suggestions actually had me more than a little nervous as I started putting the recipe together; so much so that even though I had the box of cake flour sitting on the counter, when the time came to add the flour, I grabbed my canister of all-purpose flour and used that instead.
I’m going to pretend that I never saw the first line of the recipe that says, “Do not use all-purpose flour.” Once I relaxed, the rest of the cake was pretty easy to make. It takes 12 egg whites and since the warning about the tiniest bit of yolk was ringing in my ears, I did the triple bowl method; separating the egg in one bowl, then putting the yolk in a second and the white from the first bowl into a third.
That way if an egg had broken, it would have been easy to contain. Luckily, too, 6 of the yolks are used in part of the batter so there are only 6 remaining to figure something to do with.
After the cake was in the oven, I turned my attention to the candied oranges, which aren’t necessary, but which I think really add to the look of the dessert. Since the magazine didn’t provide a recipe to make them, I thought I’d provide one for you.
Once again though, the schemes of mice and moms went askew. As you’ll see below, the oranges are simmered in a large skillet with simple syrup. Sounds easy, eh? The key to this working out well is to make sure that not too large a skillet is used. The syrup has to have time to simmer down to a nice thick consistency. Unfortunately, the first time I tried, I had to run to the basement for a minute and when I came back up I saw smoke billowing out of the kitchen and went in to find a nice blackened mess in the skillet. The syrup had evaporated too quickly and burned everything to a nasty black gook that I’ll need a chisel to remove from my pan.
For the second try, I used a smaller large skillet and as you can see from exhibit B, it worked much better.
It looks beautiful when done. The flavor is also amazing, especially because of the orange glaze. It’s wonderfully tart, which complements the basic angel food cake. The guys weren’t all that fond of the candied orange, but then guys don’t understand the concept of garnish as well as they could. I can’t say that I’d go out of my way to eat the oranges that way, but they were perfectly done.
It’s a beautiful dessert and tastes wonderful. Nothing not to like. This is the last recipe that I’m making from Cook’s Country and it’s been a fantastic experience. So many memorable dishes, including this one. Wonderful magazine and one that I’ll buy again.
- 1 recipe angel food cake
- 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
- Sugared orange slices (optional)
- 1 orange
- 1½ cups water
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325. Prepare angel food cake batter according to directions.
- Place one-third of batter (about 3 cups) in a medium bowl and set aside. Gently scrape remaining batter into a 12-cup ungreased tube pan.
- Add yolks and extract to reserved batter and gently fold mixture with rubber spatula until combined. Scrape into tube pan over top of plain batter. Pull spatula or knife through batters.
- Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean with no crumbs attached; 40-45 minutes. Cool, inverted in cake pan, to room temperature, about 3 hours.
- To unmold, run knife along interior of pan and invert cake onto a serving platter.
- For the glaze: Whisk cream cheese and orange juice concentrate in medium bowl until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and continue whisking until no lumps remain.
- Drizzle over top of cooled cake, letting glaze drip down sides. Let glaze set, about 30 minutes, and decorate with sugared pecans, if using. Serve.
- Cut orange cross-wise in ¼ inch slices. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1½ cups water and ½ cup sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add orange slices in a single layer. Let sugar water boil for five minutes, turning oranges over once. Then reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for 30 minutes, turning oranges occasionally. After 30 minutes, liquid will begin thickening into a syrup.
- Reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking oranges until the syrup is thick and the oranges are translucent but still intact. Remove the pan from heat but leave oranges in the syrup to cool for 10 minutes.
- Remove oranges to either wax paper or a Silpat to cool completely. Once the cake is done and cooled, it's a simple matter of releasing it from the pan and onto the plate, then drizzling the lovely orange glaze on top and finally laying on the half slices of candied oranges.