Blood Orange Angel Food Cake…My Ass.

martinandlauraI told you the kitchen gods were conspiring against me when I attempted to make and proceeded to botch the Meyer Lemon Marmalade. Botched ain’t just some dumbass show about fouled up plastic surgery on fucked up circus-sideshow people, it’s legit what’s been happening in my kitchen lately. Everything is getting screwed up. Ev-ver-ry-thing. I’m getting angry at my #365daysofbaking…and I’m 2 weeks behind because of life…

I even went back to the grocery store today to get more Meyer Lemons so I could remake the marmalade. Think I could find Meyer lemons? Hah.

Yeah me for living in a frozen mountain area. Just yippee.

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And I have about another two months before the actual start of spring, which is utterly meaningless in New England 97.23% of the time because it never really starts to get warm until mid-June. I’ve seen it snow 3″ mid-May. I fully understand why people migrate south.

Now, because I have all these luscious cases of blood oranges, ruby red grapefruits, and navel oranges, I thought I’d try a spin on a cake I’ve made hundreds of times. Let me repeat this, I have made angel food cakes HUNDREDS of times. It was my son’s go to birthday cake for years when he was little – he was so cute tearing into his chocolate angel food cakes; it was his favorite, so, chocolate angel food cake it was for the boy.

When I came across the recipe for Blood Orange Angel Food Cake on page 74 in the cookbook Sweet and Tart: 70 Irresistible Recipes with Citrus, I thought, “OOOOOOO! This sounds lovely!” I think I’m beginning to become an old lady when I say things like that. I even mentioned what I was going to make to people who aren’t real sweet eaters, and they even said had the exact grandma comment I did. Maybe I am getting old.

Much like presents, I suppose sometimes it’s the thought that matters. ‘Cause ain’t no way in hell this recipe works as written. I tried three damned times.

I’m stubborn. What can I say?

There are angry images of food for me to share in this post:

  1. This whole food photo thing is a work in progress. I’m convinced other bloggers who write about food have light studios or professionals taking their pictures. Clearly they at least have a kitchen space 2000x the size of mine and gobs of cute antique plates and teacups.
  2. I didn’t take pics of any part of the initial process, but after the 2nd attempt of making this recipe, I bet you heard my primal scream of sublime pissed off-edness, though. Think back about a week ago…late morning, did you just cock your head sideways after hearing a piercing noise? Yeah, that was me doubled over screeching at how BULLSHIT this recipe is.

I have a low tolerance for certain things, and recipes that aren’t clearly written or withhold intel are worthy of banshee screams. I get that a magician never reveals his secrets, ya’ know, like maybe a secret ingredient – ’cause I do that – but when you write a recipe that has no chance for success because you don’t understand basic fucking science…yeah. At least if you withhold my secret ingredient, your brownie will still turn out like a mother fucking brownie, not just some sorry ass soupy chocolatey mix in a bowl.

Screw you, the horse you rode in on, and it’s momma for this recipe.

If you’ve ever made angel food cake or meringues, you know that the tartar will make the egg whites frothy, and then as you stream in the sugar, the magic begins: those egg white turn into glossy, shiny yum-yums. Not so in this muck of a recipe.

The first step in this God foresaken recipe is to mix the orange zest, the egg whites, vanilla, salt, and the cream of tartar until they form soft peaks, then slowly pour in the sugar. When I initially read it, I even thought, “Curious. Won’t the oils in the zest fail to make the egg whites whip up?” If you don’t know the science here, in short, oil is the absolute enemy to making meringue, and the base of an angel food cake is the meringue. So if the meringue doesn’t whip up, ain’t no cake.

IMG_6922When you zest citrus, it produces oil, a considerable amount, actually… so adding the zest to the egg whites in the initial stage will prevent the egg whites from whipping, right???

I’m no cookbook author. What in Hell do I know?

Oh. Wait. I know how to make a goddamned angel food cake, that’s what I know. Unlike this cookbook author.

I’d like you to note my angry, done in permanent marker notes, above. And please note the fact that I crossed out the part about adding the zest with the egg whites. No way in hell it will work. THREE, count them, THREE tries and all fails. I even walked away from the egg mixture and let it beat for well over 15 minutes the 2nd time… nothing but a semi-frothy mixture that looked like a failed Orange Julius. (Remember those from the malls in the 80s?? I loved those.) But this zesty egg soup wasn’t anything like that. I couldn’t even get a nostalgic trip down memory lane from this failure. Pissed me off even more.

Fail 1: Follow recipe exactly as written. Don’t get past 3rd sentence of directions. Zesty egg soup after beating for close to 10 minutes.

Fail 2: Follow recipe exactly as written because maybe I didn’t read it correctly the first time. Beat the shit out of the egg whites for over 15 minutes on highest setting of a 1000 watt mixer. Nope. Still don’t get past step 3 and still just have zesty egg soup – nasty looking shit. Primal banshee screaming ensues.

Send husband to store for more cartons of egg whites.

Fail 3: Screw the recipe… make meringue as I know how – Betty Crocker, you’ll always my make-believe hero- but only bring egg whites to softish-medium peak, then add zest. Fold in dry ingredients. See blasphemous result below – dense, flat, weird smelling, disgusting tasting. Please note the steak knife next to it for lack of rise on the cake. Angel food cakes should have a gorgeous high rise to them – you know, like trying to reach the angels kinda thing. I actually pulled the cake out over 15 minutes early because I started to smell the smell of nothing good – something akin to a live donkey crawling in my oven and farting on my zesty orange cake.

Just… no.

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Three gawd damned quarts of egg whites later, the pathetic cake above was the outcome. GRRRRRRR!

And my husband laughs at me. Really, dude? Really?

One of my friends said, “You actually had that many eggs in your house?? That’s preparedness.”

Me: “No, I buy egg whites by the carton knowing I wanted to make this cake, and after fail #2, I sent out my husband.”

Friend: “That’s a good husband.”

Me: “Yes, most of the time, until he laughed at me.”

I no longer trust any recipe in this book. It’s no wonder it’s only 4 bucks and change on Amazon. I paid a full 20-something bucks for mine at a bookstore. I think I was a fool not to save myself the $16 and get it on Amazon. And I wanted to scribble all over the page when I was done with this stupid-ass recipe.

I’ll sell you my copy for $1. That’s what I think it’s worth now.

broken success image, Batman meme

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