Although we are finally experiencing spring, we are far from peach season in Minnesota. They must be growing well in CA, because my local co-op had a bin full of the most beautiful, fragrant and juicy peaches. I may just be desperate for a sign of summer, but I think this may be the best crop I've had in years. I cooked them with just a touch of honey and a vanilla bean. This light as air angel food has a healthy dose of citrus zest, which is a great balance to the sweet peaches.
In a food processor, pulverize the sugars and cornstarch until very fine. In a large bowl, add half the sugar mixture (reserve the other half for later) with the salt and cake flour. Sift the sugar/salt/flour mixture 3 times, set aside.
In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange extract and cream of tartar with the whisk attachment, on high speed, until the whites are frothy. Slowly add the reserved sugar-cornstarch mixture to the whites and continue to whip until medium peaks.
Sift 1/4 of the sugar/flour mixture over the whipped whites. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold them together. Repeat with another 1/4 of the sugar/flour and gently fold them together. Continue in this way until all the sugar/flour is incorporated.
Spoon the batter into an ungreased angel food pan.
Run a knife or spatula through the batter to get any large air bubbles out.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Immediately invert the pan onto a wine bottle to prevent the cake from compressing.
To make the peaches:
To blanch and peel the peaches: Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil. Cut an "X" on the bottom of each peach and place them in the boiling water. Allow them to sit in the boiling water for up to 1 minute.
Place the peaches in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Use your fingers or a paring knife to remove the skin.
Pit and slice the peaches. Place them in a pot with the honey and vanilla bean. Cook until the fruit is soft and the juices start to thicken to the consistency of maple syrup.
Remove and place in a bowl. They can be served hot, room temperature or cold.
Remove the cake and place it on a serving plate. Use an angel food comb to cut the cake and serve with the peaches.
Recipe courtesy Zoe Francois. Inspired by a cake in Gesine Bullock-Prado's Bake It Like You Mean It.