Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Extra Egg Whites? Make an Angel Food Cake
When you have lots of egg whites, the eternal question is whatever to do with the ranked hordes, so light, fluffy, and full of promise, but requiring a firm project to use double-digit numbers of the more airy brethren of the egg yolk! Egg whites get produced in vast numbers from so many foods, ranging from ice cream to Hollandaise sauces, and then you have the question of what to do with 14 of them.
One of my favorite ways to do this to make an angel food cake, which has the twin advantages of using up a lot of egg whites—at least 12 and sometimes more—and producing a wonderfully light, fluffy, and tasty cake that looks beautifully elegant in a Bundt pan. It makes me pity the idea of people attempting to whip up egg whites in the days before electric mixers, the sheer mass of foamy whiteness that has to rise, rise, rise, to produce a sufficiently light cake!
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The special quality of this warm and comforting cake comes from the sweetness of the dates mixed with the heady fruitiness of the orange Grand Marnier liqueur. The light, airy, fluffy, aromatic, a delightful mixture of flavors is a pleasure to eat, especially when paired with accompanying fruit like strawberries and whipped cream.
I had tried making this previously and had run into a problem with the dates; namely, that chopping and blending them did not go well. It all turned into an unholy baked mass after I tried to dry them out in the toaster oven. Maybe you will find that baked, dried, and blended dates make for a decent date powder/sugar, and this would probably produce a lighter cake, but I found the approach of date syrup and blended dates to be easier and more fool-proof.
This recipe is entirely my own.
- 12 ounces dates, pitted and chopped
- 14 egg whites
- 1 cup Grand Marnier orange liqueur
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- In a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups of water with the dates and 1/2 cup Grand Marnier. Bring to a boil then simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large ceramic bowl, beat the egg whites with 1/3 teaspoon salt, adding in another 1/3 and then another 1/3 as it becomes stiffer, until the first gentle peaks begin to form. Add in the confectioner's sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and cream of tartar, and beat until it is stiff.
- Sift in the cake flour, and fold it in.
- Strain the solid dates out of the date syrup, reserving the syrup. Blend the solid dates in a blender, then fold this into the cake batter. Mix in 1/2 cup of Grand Marnier into this.
- Pour the cake batter into a large oiled or greased Bundt pan, and then place into a preheated oven for 50 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile boil down the date syrup, with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, until it is thick and dark.
- Once the cake has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool upside down. Pry it loose from the pan and place it into a ceramic pie dish or other vessel, and pour the date syrup over it.
- Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and preferably with whipped cream and accompanying fruit such as strawberries.