Angel Cake

Saturday 16 June 2018

Angel Cake is a completely different cake over here in the UK as compared to what I thought of as an Angel Cake when I was growing up. (Angel Food Cake)  North American Angel Food Cake is very light and airy, made with only egg whites, sugar, flour and no fat, and baked in a straight sided tube tin!  
Angel Cake here is a  sponge cake about the size of a loaf, with three distinct and separate coloured layers.  White, pink and yellow. 

Sandwiched together with vanilla butter cream.  Its quite nice, and something we quite like in our home from time to time.
Its really not that difficult to make, but you will need either 3 loaf tins the same size, or a larger cake tin that you can divide into three.

Children love this cake because of the colours. Basically it is the same cake batter for each, just tinted separately for each layer.  
The power of suggestion makes it taste better than a normal cake.  What is it they say?  We really do eat first with our eyes!

I love British Cakes.  They are quite substantial in comparison to North American Cakes, and I really like that about them.  
Mind you most homemade cakes are a bit more substantial than a cake mix cake.They have that extra added ingredient called love.

Its the same with bread . . .  homemade bread always has more substance than store bought . . .  and a lot less additives!  My sister and I used to play a game with the white bread from the store when we were children.  
We could mash and roll a whole slice of it down into a ball about the size of a pea.  Try doing that with homemade.

Anyways, back to the cake.  This makes a lovely tea time cake. It is very similar in texture to a pound or Madeira cake.  
I tend to cut it into two thick lengthwise slices at first . . .

And then I cut each longer piece into 4 shorter pieces, crosswise.  Or you can just cut it crosswise into 8 slices.  

No matter how you cut it, you are sure to fall in love with it.

Angel Cake

This is a cake that first made its appearance, becoming popular on British tables back in the late 19th century.  It actually won the "English Cake of the Year" award in 1986.
So, as you can see, its a very popular cake.

It goes beautifully served with hot cups of tea or cold glasses of milk.
It is fabulous served after supper, cut into thin slices and served with small bowls of tinned fruit and cream.

During the war years that would have been tinned evaporated milk instead of cream. Thank goodness, those days are long since passed.  
In any case, this cake is bound to be enjoyed no matter what!

Don't pay any attention to my skills for cutting things in straight lines.  DUH.  I cannot cut or draw a straight line for love or money.  I have always cut things wonkily. (Is that a word?)
I always mess it up.  Never mind . . . tis just as delicious no matter the size or shape! 

*Angel Cake*
cuts into 8 slices

Angel cake here in the UK is not the same as a North American Angel Cake. Ours is typically a three layer sponge cake, with white, pink and yellow layers of a sponge cake sandwiched together with a bit of vanilla butter cream.  You will need 3 (8 by 4 inch) loaf tins, or you can carefully divide a 9 by 13 inch cake tin into three equal sized rectangles using aluminium foil. 

For the cake:
200g butter, at room temperature ( 1 cup minus 3 1/2 TBS)
270g caster sugar (1 cup +2 1/2 TBS)
3 large free range eggs, beaten
270g plain flour (2 cups minus 1 1/4 TBS)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
225g sour cream (1 cup)
red and yellow food colouring

For the icing:
140g icing sugar sifted (1 cup + 1 1/2 TBS)
60g unsalted butter, softened (1/4 cup)
1 TBS milk
few drops vanilla extract

Icing sugar to dust (optional)

Angel Cake

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter and line 3 (8 by 4) inch loaf tins with baking paper.  Alternately, butter and line a (9 by 13) inch cake tin, carefully creating 3 separate sections.  

Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.  Set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little bit at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle, beat in a TBS of the flour mixture.  Once all of the eggs have been incorporated stir in the flour mixture, alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour.  Divide the batter into three equal portions, placing 1/3 of the cake directly into the prepared cake tins. Tint one third of the remaining batter with red food colouring to give you a pink batter and the remaining third with yellow to give you a yellow batter.  Place each of these into the remaining tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched.  

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before proceeding.  Once cold make the butter cream by beating together the icing ingredients until smooth and creamy only adding enough milk to give you an icing of spreading consistency.. Using a sharp knife, level off the pink and yellow layers, slicing off any domed portion.  Place the yellow layer on a plate.  Top with half of the butter cream, spreading it out evenly. Top with the pink layer and spread evenly with the remaining butter cream. Place the white layer on top.  Dust lightly with icing sugar and cut into 1 inch slices to serve.

The dusting of icing sugar is my own addition to the recipe,and a bit of literary licence on my part. I thought it looked a bit naked without it.  I just think every gal looks better with a little bit of lippy, don't you!!! 

PS - I have had an e-mail from someone accusing me of using their recipe for this.  I wrote them back to tell them that I had not done so, and that any similarities were an unhappy co-incidence.  The original recipe comes from my old friend Doreen that she shared with me back in 2003 not too long after I moved over here.  
I had eaten it at her house and she was happy to copy it out for me.  I slipped it into a little green notebook I have that is filled with recipes from friends.  Usually when I use a friends recipe I am quick to point it out. Today I didn't.  I also make it a habit if I have used a recipe from a recipe book or another blog to link back to it, as you all have probably noticed. 

Here is my notebook and the handwritten recipe.  I am sorry that someone would think that I would use their recipe without sourcing them or linking back to them.  I do have to say though, that baking is an exact science and measurements are likely to be similar in most instances. 
I have had several looks at her recipe and yes, the ingredients are pretty much the same, except I used three separate colours instead of two.  She used a special cake tin for hers, I used three loaf tins.  Other than that I don't know what to say. I hate it when things like this happen, which is why I am always very careful to note my sources for everything.  Just saying . . .

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  1. I LOVE it! I have never made one..I love the pretty it is and how it cuts..the icing w/ another dusting on top? How pretty is that? Thank you!Bravo.

    1. Thanks Monique. It is a really pretty cake. And delicious too, I might add. I like the British tradition of not loading cakes up with tons of icing. A dusting of icing sugar or fine granulated sugar is just fine! xo

  2. OH my gosh I cannot believe someone emailed glad you kept that hand written recipe..but oh my gosh many people have the same chocolate chip recipe or carrot cake.This isn't inventing the wheel.Petty petty petty

  3. Thanks, this looks good! I try to steer clear of food coloring so think I'll try this by just dividing one 9x13 into thirds so the baking time stays the same (instead of baking one loaf pan then dividing). Maybe I'll mix some jam with the frosting for a bit of color. Yes, that email accusation does seem petty. Sheesh.

    1. Thanks! I love jam with anything! Sounds great! Xo

  4. This looks to be a very pretty and yummy cake Marie. I will try it.
    We all know you would never copy someone else’s recipe for heaven’s sake. Petty is the right word to use here.

    1. Thanks Elaine. I hope you like the cake. ☺ xo

    2. My Mom would’ve used the word picayune. I’m not sure that’s even a word?! Thank you for the great recipe, so much easier than the American version of Angel food cake I have.

    3. Thank you! I hope you will bake and enjoy it! xo

  5. Is it as good in 3 6 inch round pans?Or as cute is what mean:)

    1. I can’t see why it wouldn’t be Monique! I think it could be quite darling! Xo

  6. I love this cake very much. I have tried this cake only once in my life when I went to London to my best friend. I was very impressed from this cake. Can you tell me its recipe please? I want to make this cake for myself.

    1. The recipe is right there for you to print off Deepak. Just read the post.

  7. Hi Marie, this recipe looks great! However, I am trying to replicate a giant Mr Kipling Angel slice for somebody and I was wondering if I would use the same recipe and amounts. They only have 2 layers to them so would I use the same recipe and split it into 2 loaf tins or would the quantities be less? Hope that makes sense! Thank you :)

    1. I am not sure exactly as I can't quite picture what you mean?

  8. Sorry, it was badly explained. I am trying to re-create a Mr Kipling Angel slice but loaf tin size! These only have 2 layers (the raspberry and normal sponge) so just wondered if I would make the same amount as your recipe and split it into 2 rather than 3? Or would that be too much? (I tried to put a picture of a Kipling angel slice here for you but couldn't attach it! Thank you

    1. You could make the same amount, split into two and bake in two loaf tins. As the amounts of batter in each tin would be a bit larger in amount, it might take a bit longer to bake. Keep an eye on it. Let me know how you get on! xo

  9. Looks beautiful. Nice for baby shower too. Or how they do these days.... gender party. Thanks for sharing

  10. This recipe sounds amazing but why is there is no vanilla extract? Could I add some myself?

    1. Most British cakes, unless they are a particular flavor, rely just on the flavor of the butter and sugar, or possibly some spice, to give their cakes taste. You can certainly add a few drops of vanilla if you wish to.


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