From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Junction City is a small Oregon community that's generally pretty quiet. Not so today. This small town welcomed Spring with its annual Daffodil Festival. The event includes nine miles of roadside daffodils, the small town version of a fair and an assortment of refreshments that includes buns in guises ranging from cinnamon to beefcake (more about this in a bit). Inspired by Lady Bird Johnson's call to beautify America, Faye Moffett planted a handful of extra daffodil bulbs along the road near her house in the 60's. She planted a few more each year and urged her neighbors to do the same. Motorists soon learned of the lovely daffodil-lined street and began to drive along it when the flowers bloomed in March. The Daffodil Festival began in 1972, when Mrs. Moffett and her friends invited the drivers to join them at the Long Tom Grange for some homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee. Bulbs planted by a single gardener evolved into an event that's a marvelous way to showcase the spirit of a town devoted to community and family. The Long Tom Grange - a fraternal organization - took over the festival several years ago when its popularity overwhelmed its founders. Initially, Mrs. Moffett and her friends baked the cinnamon rolls and buns themselves. Now, the Junction City High School "cinnamon specialists" bake the rolls and sticky buns and deliver them to the festival. There are no strangers here. Once in the Grange hall you're treated like a member of the family and you might find yourself sitting at a table with an an organic farmer, a doctor or a mechanic. Status doesn't count for much here. Folks share a pot of coffee and chat like old friends as they eat their buns. If you're lucky you may run into one of the now famous Calendar Guys from the Long Tom Grange. Several years ago this group raised a quarter of a million dollars from sales of their nude calendar. The calendar caused a dustup later in the year when organizers of the Scandinavian Festival refused to sponsor the calendar guys and some schools talked about refusing funds from calendar sales. It made for some lively town meetings, but turned out to be a non-event. Despite vocal moral outrage the money went to its designated targets but it did, however, put a damper on the calendar fun.
The Silver Fox and I never miss this event because it reminds us how wonderfully simple life can be. I usually make cinnamon rolls or sticky buns so we can enjoy the spirit of the celebration once we come home, but this year I decided to do something a bit different and opted to make an old-fashioned Daffodil cake. I have an ages old recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that is nearly as old as I am. It was my bible the first year the Fox and I were married and it has become shamefully ragged and grease stained with time. While I have made a few minor changes to their recipe I have to credit the test kitchen at Better Homes and Gardens for tonight's Daffodil cake. This is basically an angel food cake, but half of the batter is enriched with egg yolks that give the finished cake sponge-like richness, color and added flavor. The cake is not hard to prepare, but it is important to follow directions and restrain your creativity when you undertake making it. The finished cake is light and moist and has pockets of daffodil yellow running throughout it. I know those of you who give the recipe a try will love the cake. It should should be refrigerated and I like to make it at least eight hours before I serve it. Here is how it is made.
Daffodil Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
1-1/2 cups egg whites (11 or 12 large)
1 cup sifted cake flour or sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon lemon or orange extract
1 recipe Tangy Lemon Frosting (See below)
Finely shredded lemon peel (optional)
1) In a very large mixing bowl allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, sift together flour and 3/4 cup sugar 3 times; set aside.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust rack to lowest position.
4) Add vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt to egg whites. Beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Sift one-fourth of the flour mixture over egg white mixture and fold in gently. If bowl is too full, transfer to a larger bowl. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, using one-fourth of flour mixture each time. Transfer half of batter to another bowl.
5) In a small mixing bowl beat egg yolks on high speed for 6 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Add lemon extract and mix to combine. Gently fold yolk mixture into half of egg white mixture.
6) Alternately spoon yellow batter and remaining white batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Swirl metal spatula through batters to marble.
7) Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake in pan and cool completely. Loosen sides of cake and remove from pan. Place cake upside down on a plate and frost with Tangy Lemon Frosting. Sprinkle top with finely shredded lemon peel, if desired. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. Makes 12 servings.
Tangy Lemon Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
5-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon lemon or orange extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
Beat butter with an electric mixer until softened. Beat in powdered sugar, lemon extract, and 1/3 cup lemon juice, adding additional lemon juice, if necessary, to make of spreading consistency.
One Year Ago Today: Two Years Ago Today:Orzo Soup Slow Cooker Refried Beans, Salsa and Burritos
Three Years Ago Today: Four Years Ago Today:Asian Caramelized Pork Peanutty Ice Box Cake