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Yield
12 servings (serving size: 1 cake slice, about 3 tablespoons sauce, and 2 teaspoons hazelnuts)
Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk, and set aside. Combine espresso and hot water, stirring until espresso dissolves; set aside.

Step 3

Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.

Step 4

Beat in espresso mixture and vanilla extract. Sift 1/4 cup flour mixture over egg white mixture; fold in. Repeat procedure with remaining flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time.

Step 5

Spoon batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert cake onto plate.

Step 6

To prepare sauce, place egg yolks in a large bowl; set aside. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually add 1/2 cup milk, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Stir in remaining milk. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into the milk mixture; add bean to mixture. Heat milk mixture over medium heat to a boil. Remove from heat; gradually add hot milk mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Step 7

Return milk mixture to pan. Cook mixture over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 4 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Spoon milk mixture into a bowl; place bowl in a large ice-filled bowl for 10 minutes or until milk mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from ice; stir in liqueur. Cover and chill completely.

Step 8

Remove and discard vanilla bean. Serve angel food cake with sauce, and sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts.

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