Fall is callin' my name. But, as a true season/holiday purist, I'm holding on to Summer with just a few more summery recicpes! I couldn't let the season pass by without sharing this Tropical Angel Food Cake with you!
This Tropical Angel Food Cake is a mango-pineapple angel food cake topped with coconut whipped cream, toasted coconut, and pineapple "flowers!" This cake is light, fluffy, and has serious tropical flavor!
For the Best Angel Food Cake
Angel food cakes are so light, they must be cooled upside down to prevent collapse after baking. An angel food cake pan has small feet on them that allow you to invert the pan (see here). If you don't have an angel food cake pan, you can try using a regular tube pan, then inverting the cake pan on a wire rack to cool. (I've honestly never done this, but it seems like it should work).
You'll also want to note that there's no need to grease the pan! Greasing the pan for an angel food cake will make it more difficult for the cake to rise in the pan, and your cake will likely collapse!
For the Best Flavor!
Flavoring an angel food cake can be tricky, because you can't introduce too much moisture or too much weight. The structure of the angel food cake is too delicate to just throw fruit in there. I relied on these ingredients for best cake structure and the fantastic tropical flavors in this cake:
- Cake flour is a must for this recipe! The texture of the cake won't be right (or could collapse completely) if you use another type of flour. If you can't find it at your local store, you can find some here.
- Freeze-dried mangoes and pineapples are pulverized in a food processor and added right to the batter. Aaaall that flavor without the moisture or weight that might collapse the cake on us! Make sure to use *freeze-dried* fruit, as it is free of moisture and will process into a powder along with the sugar. If you don't see them at your local store, you can find freeze-dried mangoes here and freeze-dried pineapple here.
- Coconut extract adds a little oomph of coconut flavor to the cake and the whipped cream! I like the brand that I use in particular because it is organic and has fantastic flavor. If you'd like to get some for yourself, you can find some here.
Using and Toasting Coconut
I used desiccated (dried), unsweetened coconut to steep in the warm cream for the coconut whipped cream. If you use regular (sweetened) coconut, you will likely need to reduce the amount of sugar in the whipped cream. If you can’t find unsweetened coconut, you can find it here.
I used toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes to top the cake. I mostly chose this type because I like the way it looks. You can use whatever coconut you may have on-hand. If you'd like to get toasted coconut flakes, you can find them here.
To toast the coconut, spread it out on a baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. Start checking/stir after two minutes, and check/stir every minute after that. Dried coconut toasts up in a flash, so really keep an eye on it! (This means that if you've chosen to use regular shredded coconut, it will take a bit longer to toast up. Check and stir often!)
Making Pineapple Flowers
This step is completely unnecessary, but I just love how the pineapple flowers look on top of the cake! Keep in mind that choosing to include these adds 2+ hours to the time it takes to make this cake! I would argue that it's worth it, but we don't always have the luxury of time!
- To make, start with a whole pineapple. The ones pre-cut at the grocery store have been cored, so if you use those you'll end up with rings and not whole "flowers."
- To ensure your flowers don't stick to the pan, better heat transfer (as opposed to using a silpat), and easy cleanup, I use nonstick parchment to line my baking sheet. If you're looking to buy some nonstick parchment, you can find some here.
- Slice pineapple into rounds, about ⅛" thick. Place pineapple slices in a single layer on the prepared pan. Bake at 200 degrees F for one hour. Turn the pineapple slices over, then bake an additional hour. The two hour bake time is a good guideline, but how long this takes will depend on how thick you slice the pineapple and how juicy your pineapple is. You want the pineapple slices to be dry, but not hard. They should still be pliable.
- Remove the pineapple slices from the oven and place each slice in a well of a muffin pan to lend each "flower" it's curved shape. Cool completely before using.
Don't let angel food cake intimidate you! Or the fact that I made it fussier than it needs to be. You can whip up this angel food cake, dollop some sweetened whipped cream next to your slice, and have yourself a wonderful (and delicious) day. No steeping or flowers required. Please let me know if you make it--I'd love to hear all about it! <3
Other posts you may like:
Tropical Angel Food Cake
Mango-Pineapple Angel Food Cake
Coconut Whipped Cream:
- toasted coconut flakes (see note)
- pineapple slices (see note)
For Angel Food Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350° F. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the sugar and freeze-dried fruit (see note) until thoroughly combined.
- Sift flour and ½ cup fruit/sugar mixture into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat mixture on medium-high until firm peaks form.
- Reduce mixer to medium and gradually add remaining fruit/sugar mixture. Beat on high speed until thick and shiny.
- Add coconut extract. Beat on high speed one more minute.
- Sift ¼ of flour mixture into mixer bowl and carefully fold in, being cautious not to deflate the egg white mixture. Once fully combined, repeat with the remaining flour mixture in three more additions. Ensure that the mixture is completely combined, with no unmixed dry ingredients.
- Pour batter into an *ungreased* 10-inch tube pan, preferably an angel food cake pan with small feet (see notes). Smooth top of the batter.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched. Invert pan on counter or cooling rack (see note), and allow to cool completely. Run a thin knife around the cake to remove it from the pan.
For Whipped Cream:
- Warm the heavy cream in a medium saucepan. When bubbles have appeared around the edge of the pan (just before boiling), turn off the heat and add toasted, unsweetened coconut (see note). Allow coconut to steep in the warm cream, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
- Strain the coconut out of the cream, and place the cream in the refrigerator until chilled through. (You can steep/chill the cream the day before and store in the refrigerator until needed.)
- Once chilled through, pour cold heavy cream, powdered sugar, and coconut extract (see note) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start the mixer on low speed, and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until the cream thickens and forms peaks.
- You can either spread all of the coconut whipped cream on top of the cake like I did, or if you're not planning to serve it all at once, I would suggest serving the whipped cream alongside slices so you don't make the cake soggy. Top with toasted coconut flakes (see note) and pineapple flowers (see note), if desired.Enjoy!