This month's ABC challenge was very timely: not only did I have a freezer full of egg whites left over from this Easter baking project, but our beautiful local strawberries were ready and I needed a special strawberry dessert for our July 1st Canada Day celebrations, something that's a tradition in my family.
I've baked my share of angel food cakes over the years since they are a favourite around here but King Arthur Flour's recipe for Strawberry-Filled Angel Food Cake was quite different from the one I usually use: it called for all-purpose instead of cake flour, and more of it, and for both confectioners' and granulated sugars, and a lot more of them! I usually follow cake recipes as written; I understood the need for the all-purpose flour since it would add structure to a fragile cake so it could withstand the manhandling that was to come, but I just couldn't bring myself to use all of that sugar, so reduced the granulated by 100g (1/2 cup), not a large amount, but enough to make me feel a little better about this dessert! The cake came together easily and baked up tall and even.
We had a great strawberry harvest this year with the local berries sweet and very flavourful so my fruit mash for the filling was fantasic. To keep the dessert vegetarian-friendly, I skipped the gelatin and added powdered agar agar to the fruit and cream filling as I whipped it.
Tunneling into the cake, which was a thing of beauty, seemed almost sacrilegious but in the name of the challenge, had to be done. Once I'd filled the cake to bursting, I used the rest of the strawberry cream to frost it. I made the cake the day before it was needed, stored it in the freezer and served it from frozen; it sliced beautifully and defrosted quickly so we enjoyed room temperature cake with a chilled filling.
I loved the idea of this cake - slicing into it to reveal the surprise within garnered all sorts of well-deserved oohs and aahs. It had a lovely texture but was still a little too sweet for me, and despite how good my berries were, there wasn't enough strawberry presence. I would definitely make this dessert again but I would reduce the sugar in the cake even further and use only half the amount of cream for the filling.
This was a great challenge for me....I'd never done anything special with an angel food cake before and I really enjoyed making this, and despite my little criticisms, it was a hit!
Happy Canada Day to all Canadians!