Fern Verrow recipe: Angel Cake
Fern Verrow cookbook: get a taste of farm life with this light, floral cake that will add elegance to any occasion.
The result is a cookbook of recipes that are practical, seasonal, and created to make the most of high quality, fresh ingredients. We love how this angel food cake incorporates the beauty of summer blooms into a delightfully girly cake.
Rose angel cake with crystallised rose petals
This cake has been in our family repertoire for years, made many times for a summer birthday party. It is as light as a feather, with a spongy, marshmallowy texture and looks beautiful decorated with baby-pink rosewater icing and rose petals.
The cake is best made a day in advance as it needs to be left in the tin for at least 8 hours after baking. The rose petals also need preparing the day before you plan to serve the cake.
85g plain flour
265g caster sugar
9 egg whites
a pinch of salt
11/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 capful of vanilla extract
3 drops almond extract
for the crystallised rose petals
rose petals -- as many or as few as you like
1 egg white
caster sugar for dusting
for the rosewater icing
80g icing sugar
2 dessertspoons rosewater
2 drops of pink food colouring
First pick your row petals; a variety of sizes and colours in nice. Choose only perfect blooms and handle them carefully so as not to damage them. Lightly beat the egg white. If it is rather thick, add a tiny splash of water and beat briefly again. Using a small, delicate pastry brush or paintbrush, apply a very thin layer of egg white to the entire surface of the each petal. Dust with caster sugar to form an even coating. Shake off any excess sugar. Lay the petals out on a tray lined with baking parchment and leave overnight in a warm, dry place.
Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Sift the flour and 150g or the caster sugar together 3 times, then set aside, Put the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a large bowl and whisk with an electric beater until foamy. Add the remaining caster sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, sprinkling it evenly over the mixture before whisking it in. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and continue to whisk until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the sifted flour and sugar a couple of table spoons at a time, being careful not to over fold and knock out the air.
Transfer the mixture to an angel cake tin (don't grease the tin first), level the surface and draw a knife through it to break any bubbles. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake is risen and light brown. Turn the tin over onto a wire rack and leave for at least 8 hours -- overnight is ideal -- then remove the cake from the tin.
For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the rosewater little by little, ensuring that the icing is not too thin. Add the colouring drop at a time to achieve the desired shade. Spoon the icing in streams around the edge and top of the cake, allowing it to trickle down the sides.
Arrange the crystallised rose petals on top and, if you have plenty, apply them to the sides as well. Of course, you can eat the petals and, if you have chased very scented roses, they will taste delightful.
Recipe extracted from Fern Verrow Cookbook by Jane Scotter and Harry Astley (Quadrille Press, Hardback £20)