Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Delightful Daffodil Cake Recipe for my Mom

Daffodil Cake

Still on my citrus kick, I have expanded to try this Daffodil Cake recipe, which uses oranges, because it just sounded so good. Have you ever made an angel food cake from scratch? Sound intimidating? No, really, with a few simple tricks you can make one from scratch as well. This Daffodil Cake isn't a straight angel food cake, but it does use angel food batter as the base.

I don't have any cake recipes that were passed down in my family, but I have heard about a special Sunshine Cake that my Great Grandmother pulled out for special occasions. My Mother has fond memories of it being made for her birthday and talks about how many eggs it took and how deep and golden it looked. When I started making this Daffodil Cake I had no idea I would be getting closer to finding her beloved Sunshine Cake recipe.

Now, the internet is a pretty amazing thing. It has made searching for obscure recipes so much easier. Usually I can find something about a recipe. A reference, pictures or family recipes. With the Sunshine Cake though, I have been hitting dead ends. I have asked for help on recipe search groups and browsed old recipe books to find it. The closest thing my Mom has found is the Japanese Castella.

What is a Castella? It is an egg-rich sponge cake with a very distinct golden color. My next task will be to make a Castella from scratch and see how close it really is. I have only had the pleasure of tasting the store-bought versions in Japan. Of course, homemade is always better.

Okay, back to the Daffodil Cake. This has an Angel Food base, which contains 12 egg whites, and then you pull out 1/3 of the batter and add back in 6 yolks and orange extract. The result is an egg-rich, golden layer with a lovely citrus flavor. The whole cake is draped in an orange juice and cream cheese glaze that is quite pucker-worthy! I loved it.

So today I wanted to share this Daffodil Cake recipe with you in honor of my Mom. She lives on the opposite side of the country and won't be able to enjoy Mother's Day with us this weekend, but I hope for her next visit we can get even closer to recreating her childhood favorite -  Sunshine Cake.

If you have ever heard of a Sunshine Cake, and happen to have a recipe, please share it. I would love to find the actual recipe someday.

Daffodil Cake

You Will Need:
Your favorite Angel Food Cake Recipe -or-

  • 1 3/4 c. super fine sugar (pulse regular sugar in a food processor for 2 minutes)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. cake flour, sifted
  • 12 egg whites (reserve 6 yolks for the Daffodil Cake variation)
  • 1/3 c. warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Daffodil Cake variation:
  • 6 egg yolks, at room temperature and beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. orange extract
  • 2 Tbsp. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

*Note - My secrets to a great angel food cake are to make sure your sugar is well pulsed and fine, eggs are room temperature and flour is well sifted. The goal is to create a light and airy cake.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, hand whisk the egg whites, water, extracts and cream of tartar by hand to get it started. Don't worry if it is a little lumpy, you will work that out with the hand mixer.

Sift together half the sugar, salt and cake flour.

With the remaining sugar, slowly add it to the egg white mixture and with a hand mixer begin beating it at medium speed. You want to achieve soft peaks in the egg whites.

Begin sifting in the dry ingredients and gently folding. Continue until there are no remaining lumps, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.

Pour 2/3 of the cake mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Set it aside.

With the remaining batter, fold in the beaten egg yolks and orange extract. Pour this on the top layer of the cake pan. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Take the cake out of the oven and immediately invert it. This helps to keep the cake from falling. Let it cool for 3 hours before trying to turn it over or unmold it.

When the three hours are up, run a spatula or knife around the edges of the pan and place the cake on a cake plate.

Now, you can get started on the glaze! With the hand mixer  beat the cream cheese and orange juice until smooth. It took me a few minutes to get the lumps out, but it will become smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and drizzle over the cake.


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