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“A” is for Angel Cake or, (en Francais) … cuisson gâteau mousseline!

August 19, 2012

Today I started my campaign to bake my way through Ginette Mathiot’s “The Art of French Baking”.

Increasing your knowledge in your chosen hobby or craft is always a good idea don’t you think… and as I explained the other day in my blog celebrating (what would have been) the 100th birthday of Julia Childs, I’ve always admired the idea of baking/cooking your way through an entire book (a la Julie Powell cooking her way through Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”).

So, how to pick where to start?   Front to back, back to front or pick “n” mix?  I decided to go for an alphabetical approach… so today, “A” is for Angel Cake or gâteau mousseline (according to Google translate – ‘fraid I’m not a bilingual baker!).

What I like about Ginette’s recipes from first glance is the minimal number of ingredients required, and the simple (and short) instructions.  Today, I needed just 5 ingredients.

Butter (for greasing the 9″ inch tin), 5 eggs, Caster Sugar, Potato Flour (which I had “in stock” but can be purchased from Holland and Barrett and similar stores) and the zest of a lemon.

The method was simple, heat the oven and grease the tin with butter.  Separate the eggs and place the 5 yolks in one bowl with the sugar.  The whites are whisked into soft peaks in another bowl.  The potato flour is stirred into the egg yolk/sugar mix (which is whisked to triple its original volume) then the lemon zest is added and mixed in too.  Finally the  egg white is folded in lightly.

Egg yolk prior to the big whisk!

Soft peak egg whites and whisked egg yolk/sugar mix

Lemon zest – the vital ingredient?

The mixture is then poured into the tin and baked in a Gas 3 temperature for about 45 minutes… making sure it is lovely and golden in colour.  During the bake, the mix rose very very high in the tin, but by the time it had baked for the appropriate time, it has shrunk away from the sides of the tin, and had “flattened” off on the top (thankfully like the picture in the book).

Once cooled, the cake is removed and cooled on a rack.  There is no decoration, just serve as is – as they say, “simples”!

Out of the oven!

Currently, the cake is out and cooling – we’ll do the taste test later  – but, quite frankly I’m wondering where the flavour comes from (is that lemon zest on its own enough?) and what the texture will be like?  I’ll report back later!  Will the French know best, they certainly have the gastronomic reputation, … or will I feel the need to tinker??

Denise x

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