White cloud cake
Serves 10-12 | prep 30 mins | total time
- 125g self-raising flour
- 300g white caster sugar
- 10 medium egg whites (freeze the yolks to use in custard and scrambled eggs), or use 325g egg white from a carton (we used Two Chicks)
- 2 large lemons
- 5g sachet cream of tartar (1 tsp)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300ml double cream
- 3 tbsp lemon curd
- 50g blueberries
- a handful of gold mini chocolate eggs (we used Galaxy Golden eggs)
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- a few primulas (edible flowers)
The cake can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container (or frozen, uniced). Finish with the lemon cream shortly before serving. Any leftover cake will keep in the fridge for 2 days.
- You need an ungreased 23-25cm ring pan for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.
- Sift the flour and 100g of the sugar into a bowl. In a separate very large bowl with an electric whisk, or using a freestanding food mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy, starting on a low speed initially to give them greater stability (this creates more small bubbles rather than fewer large ones, which are more likely to collapse). Finely grate the zest from the lemons and squeeze the juice of 1. Add the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the cream of tartar, vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon salt to the egg whites. Increase the speed of the mixer and whisk until you have soft peaks. Gradually add the rest of the sugar, beating until you have firm but not stiff peaks.
- Fold in the flour and sugar mixture, a third at a time, using a large metal spoon. The volume of the mixture will dramatically decrease as you do this, but keep as much air in the mixture as you can. Pour the batter into the ungreased tin, then run a table knife through the mixture to break any large air pockets.
Tip The trick to achieving its lightness is inverting the cooked cake in its tin as soon as it comes out of the oven. This allows the sponge to stretch downwards and keep its volume as it cools, rather than shrinking and collapsing in on itself, which would result in a dense cake.
- Put the cake in the lower third of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when poked into the thickest part of the cake.
- Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert it – in its tin – over the neck of a bottle, or a wide tin can, so the cake is suspended and not compressed (don't worry, it won't fall out). Cool for at least 1 hour in this way.
- Very carefully run a knife around the inner and outer edges of the cake tin and gently separate the cake from the tin. Turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Don't worry too much if you've slightly damaged the delicate cake, as it will be smothered in lemon cream, which can hide any faults.
- Beat the cream with the lemon curd until it's holding its shape. Put the cake on a serving plate and spread the cream thickly all over. Decorate the cake with the blueberries, eggs, flowers and herbs.
This cloud cake – a classic American ring cake, known as an angel cake in the UK – smothered in soft lemon-flavoured cream, is as light as a cloud, hence its name. Perfect for either Easter or Mother's Day – simply vary the decorations! A special ring pan isn't essential.