GBBO: Angel Food Cake Technical Challenge

Hello everyone, as those of you who watched it on Tuesday will know, the technical challenge for the first round of the great british bake off was the angel food cake.If I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t really know what it was until the week before, the most I knew about it was that it was sold in the ready-mix cake boxes in the baking aisle at the supermarket.

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So after having a look online (mainly Pintrest) I found something that I really liked the look and sound of; the fact it was practically fat free (exempting the sugar content) appealed to me. Then I had to think about what exactly I was going to do; I’d considered a strawberries and cream one, or following the recipe from the show (lemon curd and passionfruit) and then I thought about making something a little different:

Lime and pistachio

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Not too complicated when you consider the endless possibilities but I thought this would be a way to get a refreshing kick from the lime and a bit of crunch from the chopped pistachios with the marshmallow-like texture of the cake itself. So when faced with making it, I felt a bit nervous since folding into egg whites is not my favourite technique in baking, however, I battled on and was proud of what I made! In terms of using the correct tin, I didn’t bother to go out and buy the angel food pan mainly because of cost (I am a student remember) so instead, I thought I’d use my bundt tin. Knowing that Stephanie @ Riverside Baking had done the same, I took her advice on turning it upside down on a cooling rack and greasing and flouring the tin – not greasing alone, have a look for yourself here. Anyway, here is my adaptation/interpretation of the angel food cake (found on

You can see a list of all the interpretations of the angel food cake, and the upcoming challenges along with GBBO over at Bakers Anonymous!

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For the cake:

  • 10 egg whites (or 20 tbsp liquid egg white)
  • 140 g plain flour, sifted 2-3 times
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200 g icing sugar, sifted 2-3 times
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

For the lime syrup:

  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 80 g pistachios, chopped finely

For the lime icing:

  • 75 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp lime juice


  1. If using a bundt tin like me, grease and flour it well (if using an angel food cake pan then ignore this step!). Preheat the oven to 170C/fan 150C/gas mark 3 and position the shelves inside for the pan to fit in the middle.
  2. In a large bowl, add the egg white, lime zest and vanilla extract and beat on a medium speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and salt and increase to high until soft peaks begin to form.Photo 25-08-2013 11 29 00
  3. Add the icing sugar a tbsp at a time, beating well between each addition to the bowl; continue to do this until all the icing sugar has been incorporated and stiff peaks have formed. Add 1/3 of the flour and gently fold it into the egg white mix; fold in the remaining flour in 2 more additions – be gentle and patient, try not to lose the volume you’ve created during whisking.Photo 25-08-2013 11 38 22
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and gently smooth the top; place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 40 minutes. It should be pale golden in colour, insert a sharp knife or skewer to test if it comes out clean.Photo 25-08-2013 12 27 35
  5. Immediately turn upside down onto a wire rack to allow it to cool – I know it seems weird but you have to let it cool this way! Once cool, using a sharp knife cut around the edges and the tube in the middle and transfer to a wire rack. Now let’s decorate it.Photo 25-08-2013 13 25 12
  6. In a small pan, add the caster sugar and lime juice and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Brush the syrup all over the cake (or in stages as I did) and immediately press the chopped pistachios to adhere to it – this part is great if you want to hide the top! 
  7. Finally, add the icing sugar and remaining lime juice to a bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle all over the top and leave to set for about 10 minutes. Voila, it’s readyPhoto 25-08-2013 14 07 45

5 thoughts on “GBBO: Angel Food Cake Technical Challenge

  1. nellyscupcakes says:

    Looks divine! I love pistachios, will have to experiment next time I make an angel food cake. I was too focused on getting the basic right to have a proper experiment.

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