Angelfood cake is one of those ubiquitous delicacies we all had in one for or another, sometimes so moist and delicate it left lasting memories, sometimes so dry and unremarkable we learned to hate the sponge cake.
But if you learn to make it fresh, any negative connotations you had before about it will melt into its soft crumb. Paired with this moody compote of blackberries and blueberries marinated together and garnished with a punch of licorice-laden tarragon, you have the makings of a very memorable dessert. Dollop the best organic whipping cream you can find alongside, and your guests will be talking for weeks about the meal.
I like to make the fruit compote earlier, even the morning of if I have time, so that the fruit has a change to marinate and for all the flavors to mellow together. So for the compote give yourself some time if you can, then choose the ripest and best berries you can find.
Scrape the vanilla bean seeds out and with lemon zest, add into the sugar and press in to extract the oils from the vanilla and lemon. This also acts to distribute the vanilla seeds, which want to clump together, evenly throughout. Add salt, then sprinkle sugar mix over berries with lemon juice and toss gently to coat. Cover and set aside to macerate.
For the angelfood cake, preheat the oven to 325F. It is essential the oven is already heated by the time the mix is done, for if the batter has to wait for a preheating oven, it will deflate and not be as fluffy. Prepare a 12-cup volume bundt pan by coating evenly using a pastry brush and very soft butter, then sift excess cake flour to cover the entire inner surface of the pan. Tamp out the excess flour and discard.
The full recipe with ingredients list, instructions, and more photos of the process starts on Page 2! This helps the page load faster, so you see all the images and print the recipe even on slow internet connections 🙂 More fun photos of the final dish on Page 2 as well!