Take a leaf out of Prue Leith’s recipe book for the perfect angel cake slice.
When she’s not busy campaigning for women’s rights and writing bestsellers, it turns out that, just like us, Chelsea is a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off. So who better to share a recipe than Bake Off judge and all-round culinary legend Prue Leith?
“Angel cake slices are such a very British treat,” Leith tells Stylist. “I chose them as a technical in the first episode of the current series because they show a good few skills: sponge-making, jam-making, icing, slicing and feathering. Tricky, but very satisfying to get right. And I’ve never met anyone who could refuse one.”
Prue Leith’s angel cake slices
Preparation time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
INGREDIENTS (serves 6)
For the génoise:
60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
4 large eggs, at room temperature
120g caster sugar
120g plain flour, sifted
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp natural raspberry flavouring
Pink food-colouring gel
Finely grated zest of 1 small unwaxed lemon
Yellow food-colouring gel
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For the Italian meringue buttercream:
100g caster sugar
1 large egg white
85g unsalted butter, softened
For the fondant icing:
250g fondant icing sugar
Pink food-colouring gel
You will need:
2-in-1 parchment and foil cut to a rectangle of 50 x 20cm
33 x 25cm traybake tin
Small piping bag fitted with a medium nozzle
Step 1: For the génoise, fold the foiled parchment to divide the cake tin into three even sections (each measuring 20 x 10cm) with the parchment side facing upwards, and grease with melted butter. Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5.
Step 2: Tip the eggs and sugar into a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Gently whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches 43°C on the sugar thermometer.
Step 3: Weigh the mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer, then record the weight. Attach the bowl to the mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture until it is thick and mousse-like, and leaves a ribbon trail when you lift the whisk.
Step 4: Meanwhile, divide the flour evenly between three bowls. Do the same for the butter. Stir the vanilla into one bowl of butter. Stir the raspberry flavouring and a small drop of pink food colouring into the second bowl of butter, and the lemon zest and a small drop of yellow food colouring into the third.
Step 5: Divide the whisked egg mixture into three bowls. Working with one bowl of egg mixture, flour and butter at a time, sift the flour over the egg mixture and gently fold in. Add the butter and fold – work quickly to prevent it collapsing.
Step 6: Repeat Step 5 with the remaining bowls of egg mixture, flour and butter to give three mixtures – vanilla, raspberry and lemon. Pour each into a section of the cake tin and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops spring back when pressed. Cool a little in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 7: For the Italian meringue buttercream, melt the sugar in 3 tablespoons of water very gently in a pan over a low heat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg white in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, to soft peaks. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, increase the heat to a rapid boil until the syrup reaches 121°C on a sugar thermometer.
Step 8: Remove the pan from the heat. With the whisk at full speed, slowly pour the hot syrup on to the egg whites in a thin stream. Continue whisking until the meringue is very thick and glossy and has cooled to room temperature.
Step 9: Gradually add the butter, whisking after each addition until the buttercream is smooth and thick. Chill until firm.
Step 10: To assemble, trim the sponges so they are identical in size and height. Spread half the buttercream over the vanilla sponge and top with the raspberry sponge. Spread the other half of the buttercream over the raspberry sponge and top with the lemon sponge (you might not need all the buttercream).
Step 11: For the fondant icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add 1½ to 2 tablespoons of water to mix to a stiff, dropping consistency. Spoon one quarter of the icing into a small bowl and colour it pink. Spoon the pink icing into the piping bag fitted with a writing nozzle.
Step 12: Spread the white fondant icing over the top (not the sides) of the lemon sponge. Pipe fine lines of icing across the width of the cake, spacing them 1cm apart. Using a cocktail stick, gently drag the icing lines in opposite directions through the white fondant to feather. Cut the cake into six even slices and serve.
From The Great British Bake Off: The Big Book Of Amazing Cakes, with recipes by Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith & The Bakers (£20, Sphere), out now
Jenny Tregoning is deputy production editor and food editor at Stylist, where she combines her love of grammar with lusting over images of food