These virtually fat-free cakes get a bright boost (and a little extra fat) from a tangerine glaze. Make them in 2 wells of a jumbo-muffin pan and, if desired, wrap one of the cooled, unglazed cakes in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. The recipe makes enough glaze for both cakes.
Yield: Makes 2 large-muffin-size cakes
- For the cakes
- 3 tablespoons sifted cake flour
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar (see NOTES)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the glaze
- 2 tangerines
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
For the cakes: Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Have ready an ungreased jumbo-muffin pan (preferably nonstick).
Combine the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the nutmeg in a small bowl and whisk to incorporate.
Combine the egg whites, salt and vanilla extract in a medium mixing bowl; beat with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for 20 to 30 seconds or until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar; increase the speed to high and beat for 45 seconds or until the whites are glossy and form stiff peaks.
Sift half of the flour mixture over the egg whites and use a flexible spatula to gently fold it in, then fold in the remaining flour mixture. Divide the batter between two of the ungreased muffin wells, filling them to the top. Use water to fill each of the remaining empty muffin wells halfway full to prevent those wells from scorching. Bake for 15 minutes, then cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil to keep the cakes from overbrowning. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched in the center.
Carefully pour the water out of the wells, then invert the muffin pan and balance it on a couple of water bottles or tumblers; let the cakes cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: Squeeze the juice of one tangerine into a measuring cup. Peel and segment the remaining tangerine (see NOTES), working over the measuring cup to catch its juices. There should be about 1/4 cup total.
Pour the juice into a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until it has reduced to 2 tablespoons. Remove from the heat and add the cream and confectioners' sugar, stirring to mix well.
To assemble: Remove the cakes from the muffin pan by releasing their edges with a rounded knife. When ready to serve, place a cake on a serving plate, browned side up. Garnish with the tangerine segments; drizzle the glaze over the cake and the fruit.
NOTES: Superfine sugar, often used in baked goods and desserts, is fine-grained and quick-dissolving. Some sources advise creating a substitute by grinding granulated sugar in a food processor; others caution that the processor will not create an acceptable stand-in and that the result might be gritty. Another name for superfine sugar is bar sugar, so you might be able to find it where bar supplies are sold.
To section the tangerine, use a paring knife to cut downward along the curve of the fruit, slicing away both the peel and pith while leaving as much of the fruit as possible. Cut between the sections to detach each section of fruit from its surrounding membrane. Discard any seeds in the sections.
Adapted from "Small-Batch Baking," by Debby Maugans Nakos (Workman, 2004).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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