Invariably, after making an angel food cake, the pressing question becomes “what do I do with all of these yolks?” Usually the answer is some form of custard; for me, it’s David Lebovitz’s vanilla ice cream recipe. This time, I didn’t have the cream on hand to make ice cream, and I also had committed to bringing a cake to a New Year’s Day lunch, so I opted to make a cake instead.
Once upon a time, long ago, I’d received from an acquaintance a recipe for a cake called “After-Pav,” but that was on paper, which means good luck finding it after two moves and a ruthless few bouts of housecleaning. Next, I tried Google, only to find that cake recipes that use only egg yolks are almost impossible to find without knowing the name of the recipe to start with; results otherwise invariably come up with recipes that need whole eggs, and today I had the added complication of being completely out of those due to a brunch with friends (worth it).
I eventually opted to check out the good old dead-tree version of The Joy of Cooking, and that’s where I found the recipe I’m noting down here. I later found out that the names of other cakes made in similar ways is “golden cake” or “yellow butter cake,” but this recipe uses up the largest number of egg yolks at once, so I think it’s ideal for after, for instance, making an angel food cake that needs a full dozen egg whites.
I have reproduced the recipe from the book below without altering any of the proportions, while having updated the procedure to use wording that makes more sense to me. However, due to a lack of appropriate baking equipment and a surplus of yolks, I had to make some adjustments this time around:
- I only have two 9″ circular baking pans and needed to use up 12 yolks, not 8, so I made 1.5 times the recipe volume
- To avoid ending up with burnt edges and raw middles, I lowered the temperature to 300°F and baked the cakes for 30 – 35 minutes (started checking for doneness at 25 minutes)
After 10 minutes of cooling in the pans (non-stick heavy-duty aluminum), the cakes released perfectly, and once cool, they had a firm structure with an even crumb. It was easy to cut the cakes into layers and move the layers without them falling apart.
The Joy of Cooking recommends that you layer this cake with this boiled icing, which ends up tasting like homemade marshmallow, or alternatively serve it with whipped cream and fruit, or another boiled icing of your choice. Since the boiled icing recipes need egg whites, which I don’t have, and the fruit and whipped cream toppings similarly require things I won’t go into the snow to get, I’ll opt to glaze the two full-sized cakes I got out of my modifications with a simple lemon glaze made of confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and milk.
Edit to add: I lied! I was out of icing sugar, too, but it turns out that I had some cartoned egg whites to play with. Check this out.