Last week's Solemnity of the the Annunciation had me quite whipped into a frenzy. I had not looked ahead, and halfway through the week I realized that the Annunciation, a solemnity on the calendar, was on Friday -- during Lent no less. As much as it is important to follow the rules of abstention during Lent, I think it's just as important to follow the "rules" of a solemnity -- to celebrate. While you're not obliged, of course, to eat meat, as you are never obliged to eat meat, I took the lesson provided by St. Francis of Assisi and planned a meat meal, and a lovely cake to celebrate for dessert.
This recipe is one I made up myself, using angel food cake for the Archangel Gabriel, and blueberry sweetened cream for Our Blessed Mother. It was a lovely, light, fresh dessert -- perfect for a Lenten Friday, not overly rich or sweet.
6 egg whites
3/4 t. cream of tartar
3/4 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 heaping T. blueberry jam or preserves
1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed
powdered sugar for dusting
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift together flour and sugar.
In a large mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat egg whites, with cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt until stiff peaks form. Fold in flour/sugar mixture, one third at a time, until completely incorporated.
Spoon batter into a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until top of cake is golden brown and cake springs back lightly when touched. Remove cake from oven and turn upside down, using coffee mugs or cans to rest ends of pan on (do not set cake on it's top -- you want to make sure it is hanging upside in the pan).
When cake is cool, remove from pan by running a knife around the edges and lightly lifting it with a spatula. Place on a plate -- preferably a rectangular or large oval.
In mixing bowl with whisk attachment beat 2 cups cold cream with 1/2 cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Remove half of the whipped cream to another container. Add blueberry jam to the remaining cream and beat for a second until cream is purple/blue. Fold in blueberries gently.
Cut cake in half lengthwise so that you have a top and a bottom. Remove top and using a sharp knife cut a space in the bottom of the cake to fill with cream -- leaving about an inch all the way around and on the bottom.
Fill with blueberry cream and replace the top. Dust with powdered sugar and refrigaerate until ready to serve.
To serve, cut cake in crosswise slices and top with additional whipped cream.