Pumpkin Angel Food Cake With Salted Maple Glaze

November 22, 2022
0 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 10
Author Notes

When I first met my boyfriend, he told me that his favorite cake was angel food cake. Internally, I scoffed—this was a cake I associated with fat-free diets of the nineties, not something that would be your favorite. Despite that, the deeper I fell for him, the more I wanted to feed him, make him something he loved. And angel food cake seemed to be that thing. So much so that on one of our early dates, he suggested that we make a pumpkin angel food cake together. While we never ended up making the cake during that date, I did learn how to make angel food cake. Seeing—and tasting—the meringue-based cake through my boyfriend’s lens became for me what it is when made best: light, fluffy, slightly tangy, and perfectly paired with whipped creams and glazes, nothing diet about it. Since we never finished our recipe together, I developed this pumpkin angel food cake with salted maple glaze in his honor.

When I’m learning something new, I turn to pastry chef and author of Dessert Person, Claire Saffitz, and angel food cake was no exception. Making her classic version is how I first made the cake and this recipe owes a debt to her. Instead of lemon juice and vanilla, this cake includes warm spices and pumpkin purée. I like a mixture of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, but feel free to create your own mix of warm spices—ground ginger, allspice or pumpkin pie spice would all work nicely here. The one thing not to skip is the flaky sea salt on top. For a cake that’s quite sweet, thanks to its maple glaze, a bit of salt adds a necessary and delicious balance. Thanks to the pumpkin that’s folded into the batter, you can expect a final product that’s slightly moister and a tiny bit denser than a plain angel food cake. It does best when eaten on the day it's made; overnight the maple glaze soaks in and makes the cake even moister.

Before you get started, you’ll need to invest in a tube pan, there’s simply no way around it. It’s a metal pan with a hollow tube in the center and short “feet” around the top edge of the pan that help it to cool upside down, which keeps the cake from deflating after its bake.
Katie Rice

What You'll Need
  • For the Cake
  • 1 cup (120 grams) cake flour, sifted
  • 2/3 cup (76 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups egg whites (from about 12 large eggs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup (151 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 grams) pumpkin purée
  • For the Maple Glaze
  • 1 cup (113 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For the Topping
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 325℉. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and powdered sugar.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on medium-low speed until the egg whites have just begun to incorporate. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the whites have doubled in size and are very foamy, 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. With the mixer still on medium-high, add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating until the egg whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks, 7 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract and beat until just incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift in ⅓ of the dry mixture. Return to the base and beat in the flour mixture. Repeat twice more until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the pumpkin purée using a large flexible spatula.
  5. Scrape half the batter into an ungreased 10” x 4” tube pan. Smooth the batter against the sides and center tube, then add the rest of the batter. Using a spatula, smooth the top. Bake until the top of the cake is lightly golden brown, puffed, and has split, 35 to 40 minutes. A tester inserted into the cake should come out clean.
  6. If using a pan with feet, invert immediately and let the cake rest at room temperature for one hour. If the pan does not have feet, invert the hollow tube over a thin-necked glass bottle for cooling. Cooling the pan upside down keeps it from collapsing and deflating.
  7. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to cut around the sides and loosen the cake. Pull the tube up to release the cake from the pan. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to loosen the cake around the tube and then do the same for the bottom of the cake. Invert the cake on a plate or cake stand.
  8. Make the Maple Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, maple syrup, butter, ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon to combine.
  9. Using a spoon, drizzle the maple glaze over the cake. Sprinkle the chopped nuts and flaky sea salt over the glaze. Cover any leftover cake in plastic wrap and store on the countertop or in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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