24 June 2013

Coconut Angel Food Cake

After my initial success with angel food cupcakes, I decided to try my hand at a large angel food cake.


This was my second bake for Father's Day and I found this recipe which had a lovely looking picture.

However I wanted to ice the cake and wondered if there is such a thing as Nutella ganache. Well, it turns out there is, I picked this recipe.


170 g plain flour
150 g caster sugar
3 dl egg whites, from about 9 medium eggs
0.25 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon juice
30 g unsweetened dessicated coconut
fresh coconut shavings for decoration


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C (gas mark 3).
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour and half of the sugar.
  3. Beat the egg whites with the salt with an electric whisk until they go frothy.
  4. Add the cream of tartar and beat to the soft peaks stage.
  5. Add the remaining half of the sugar slowly, 1 tbsp at a time, and keep beating until stiff peaks stage.
  6. Finally beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.
  7. Carefully fold in the flour mixture followed by the dessicated coconut.
  8. Pour the batter into a Springform bundt cake tin and level the top surface as much as possible.
  9. Bake for about 35 minutes until the top has browned lightly and the sponge springs back when pressed.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the Springform. Make the Nutella ganache in the mean time.
  11. Run a knife around the outer edge of the cake tin and remove the sides. Carefully prise off the bottom part of the cake tin.
  12. Select the smoother side of the cake to be the top and place on a plate.
    IMG_3026 IMG_3027
Nutella Ganache

1.8 dl Nutella (most of a 400 g jar)
1.2 dl double cream
1 tsp fleur de sel
1 tbsp brandy or rum (optional)

  1. Place the Nutella in a large bowl.
  2. Heat up the cream in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
  3. Remove the cream from the heat and pour over the Nutella.
  4. Stir together until smooth, then add the salt and the booze.
  5. Cover the surface with cling film to prevent skin forming on the surface and allow to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled down, cover the cake with a thin layer and decorate with fresh coconut shavings. Note that the ganache doesn't go solid, so if too much is used, it will run down the sides of the cake.
  7. Keep the decorated cake refrigerated.

The crucial thing with angel food cakes is that a Springform bundt cake tin must always be used, due to the delicateness of the sponge - because there is no fat, there is very little to hold up the sponge structure, so it must have the cake tin with a hole in the middle. It is also very important not to grease the cake tin, this will help the sponge rise better.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to find ready made coconut shavings and I didn't have possibility to crack open a coconut. The best I could find was fresh chunks of coconut, which I was able to slice into 1 - 2 mm thick slivers, so I knew I wouldn't be able to decorate the cake very nicely. In fact some of the pieces kept sliding down the sides.

As it turned out, this recipe wasn't as good as the previous one. When we cut the cake, it was a lot sturdier, though the texture was still quite light. Possibly I over-baked it a bit. Perhaps it would be better for cupcakes, but not as a big cake.

The Nutella ganache was lovely. I skipped the booze this time, it seems it wasn't needed - the family thought there was some in it anyway. I was a bit reluctant about the fleur de sel,however, it gave a nice salty chocolate/caramel kind of aspect to the ganache. I used about half of the above amount, the rest is frozen for future use. I wonder if it would be nice fold in whipped cream and make into ice cream...

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