orange angel food cake with fresh caramel sauce and tropical fruit compote

DSC02338I made this cake for AJ’s birthday two years ago, so I thought I would revisit this recipe for Andy’s birthday. This time I made a tropical fruit compote as an accompaniment. Don’t be tempted to save time and buy a jar of caramel sauce! This caramel sauce is so buttery and fresh, you’ll want to wipe up the plate with a piece of cake.

Orange Angel Food Cake with Caramel Sauce and Tropical Fruit Compote (adapted from bon appétit)

10 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS
CARAMEL SAUCE
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of salt

CAKE
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups egg whites (about 9 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

TROPICAL FRUIT COMPOTE
2 navel oranges
3 ripe golden kiwi, peeled, quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 ripe mango cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups cantaloupe cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup fresh pineapple cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 Kluay Namwah (aka Finger Banana or Dwarf Banana) sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons dark Jamaican rum, optional

PREPARATION
SAUCE Combine sugar and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). The caramel will harden into a lump. Place pan over low heat; stir until caramel dissolves and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat; add butter, cardamom, and pinch of salt; stir until butter melts. Cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature or re-warm over low heat before using.

CAKE Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift powdered sugar, flour, and salt 3 times. Place in medium bowl.

Separate eggs when cold. Then allow whites to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Using electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat egg whites in a large bowl until foamy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar; beat until whites are opaque and soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium high. Gradually add superfine sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until whites are thick and shiny and fluffy peaks form (peaks should droop over gently; do not overbeat). This should take 1-3 minutes.

Cake Baker’s Note: In this next step it’s essential that you SIFT the flour over the egg whites or it will not combine.

Add orange peel and vanilla to egg whites; beat just until blended. Sift 1/4 cup of flour mixture over whites. Using large rubber spatula, gently fold flour mixture into whites. Repeat with remaining flour mixture 1/4 cup at a time.

Cake Baker’s Note: To fold in flour, cut with the edge of the spatula down the middle. Scraping along the bottom, bring the spatula under the flour to the side of the bowl. Fold the batter over the flour. Turn the bowl one-quarter turn. Repeat: cut, fold, turn until all the flour is incorporated. See YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rLQFfolobY for a folding demonstration.

Transfer batter to ungreased 10-inch-diameter angel food cake pan with removable bottom and 4-inch-high sides; smooth top with an off set spatula. Lightly run a skewer through the batter to remove any air bubbles. Bake cake until golden and springy to touch, about 50 minutes. Immediately invert pan onto countertop if pan has feet, or invert center tube of pan onto neck of bottle or funnel. Cool cake completely,1-2 hours. Gently tap bottom edge of pan on work surface while rotating pan until cake loosens. Transfer to platter. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover with cake dome; let stand at room temperature.

TROPICAL FRUIT COMPOTE Cut all peel and white pith from oranges. If orange segments are large, cut each in half or thirds. Add remaining fruits and sugar. If desired, add 2 tablespoons rum to the compote. Toss gently to combine. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Slice cake; transfer to plates. Spoon compote alongside and pour the caramel in a pool so the cake and the fruit can get some of that sweet goodness.

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