I have never been a fan of angel food cake.

So then, knowing that, you might wonder why I would make one. Ya, good question. As I was making it I was asking myself the same thing.
I do have a good answer though.
Some friends were coming over for dinner and they couldn’t eat dairy, health reasons. And because I am me, and love to bake, I can’t have people over for dinner and NOT have dessert. So I started my search for a dairy free desert. I quickly realized angel food cake would be perfect, but it’s so dry, and airy and sorta gross on it’s own. Remember, I said I am not a huge angel food fan. That’s when I decided if I had 2 sauces with it and some whip cream (for me) it might actually taste good to me.
Low and behold, freaking AWESOME!!!! The lemon scent in the cake combined with the sauces and whip cream, me likey.
I had the leftover cake for breakfast the next morning, that’s how much I loved this. Still not an angel food ‘fan.’ But if you add some citrus zest and some delicious sauces, I won’t turn it down ;) Oh, and the dairy free people, LOVED it, they had 2 servings themselves.

Lemon Angel Food Cake
Serves 8 (angel food is like air, so I cut HUGE pieces)
1 1/2 cups cake flour (I made my own following Joy the Baker’s instructions)
1 cup granulated sugar
12 large egg whites (1 3/4 cup), at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Sift together, at least three times, cake flour and 1 cup sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until just frothy. Sprinkle the cream of tartar and salt over the froth and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Stop whisking when the egg whites form stiff peaks.

Sift or sprinkle the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites, about 4 tablespoons at a time, and fold in gently using a spatula. Sprinkle the vanilla extract in 1/2 tsp. increments between additions of flour.

Spoon into a 10 inch greased tube pan or angel food cake pan. Bake for 35 minutes at 350°.

Cool, inverted, until completely cool, 2 to 3 hours.

When cool, slide a thin knife between the cake and the pan to dislodge.

Slice the cake with a serrated knife. You’ll need to wipe the knife clean about every third slice to keep it from tugging and pulling the cake.

Mandarin Orange Curd
Adapted from Eating Well
Makes approximately 2 1/4 cups

(I tripled the eating well recipe to accommodate my desire to eat a lot of this!)
6 large egg yolks
2 11-ounce cans mandarin oranges, with juice, (2 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 Tablespoons cornstarch

Puree the sugar and mandarin oranges with juice in a blender until oranges are pureed.

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. It will seem like it is taking FOREVER to thicken. but int he last 2 minutes or so is when it all of a sudden thickens quickly.

Remove from heat and cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

*The mixture may seem like it’s not thickening as you whisk over heat, but don’t stop – it thickens very quickly right at the end. For a smoother curd, push through a fine mesh strainer before storing. Press plastic wrap against the top of the curd to prevent a film from forming in the fridge.

Strawberry Coulis
1½ cups strawberries (I used frozen and thawed them)
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
Juice of ½ orange, strained

Puree strawberries, sugar and orange until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a glass bowl. Keep in the refrigerator until serving.