Daffodil Cake

Of course daffodil cake doesn’t have daffodils in it any more than a hummingbird cake has hummingbirds or Girl Scout cookies have Girl Scouts. It just so happens that daffodils–unlike hummingbirds or Girl Scouts–are poisonous.

Daffodil cake is a combination sponge and angel food recipe, both made with a meringue, but the yellow parts of a daffodil cake contain egg yolks—as does a sponge cake—and the white parts do not—as does an angel food. Chiffon cakes, which appeared on tables at about the same time, are a meringue cake with oil.

You will not find an honest mix for any meringue cake in the grocery store; you’re going to have to make it from scratch, and it’s best to make on a clear day because we all know that you can’t make a good meringue when it’s raining, don’t we?

12 large egg whites
1 cup sifted cake flour or sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar (total)
2 teaspoons vanilla
11/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon lemon or orange extract
Finely grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 350. Bring egg whites to room temperature for 30 minutes. Sift together flour and 3/4 cup sugar 3 times and set aside. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to egg whites.

Beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed, gradually adding 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until stiff peaks form. Sift one-fourth of the flour mixture over egg white mixture and fold in gently. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, using one-fourth of flour mixture with each fold.

Transfer half of batter to another bowl. Beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Add lemon extract, mix and gently fold yolk mixture into half of egg whites.

Alternately spoon yellow batter and white batter into a very lightly oiled 10-inch tube pan. You can work the batter with the handle of a wooden spoon to refine the marbling, but don’t let it touch the sides.

Bake on a lower rack for 40 to 45 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert onto a plate and refrigerate. Top with lemon zest and powdered sugar before serving.

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