Grilled angel food cake makes a great platform for pickled watermelon rind

By Jim Bailey
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Here is a great hot weather indulgence that encompasses several tastes that simply go perfectly together. Mix it up by using flavored pound cake if desired, but I find the lightness and perfect sweetness of angel food cake is just, well, perfect with the accompaniments below.

Charred angel food cake
with sweet pickled watermelon rind

4 slices prepared angel food cake
Sweet pickled watermelon rind, recipe below

Preheat you outdoor grill on medium-high heat. Spray the grates with nonstick cooking spray. When hot, lay the angel food cake slices onto the grate and cook for  2 to 3 minutes per side, or until grill marks appear on each side. Set aside and serve warm with cold sweet pickled watermelon rind or chilled pearsauce (recipe below).

Charred angel food cake with pickled watermelon rind.

Charred angel food cake with pickled watermelon rind.

Watermelon Rind Pickles

3 cups watermelon rind cut into 1-inch square pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon black or colored peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of pickling spice
2 teaspoons dried ginger

Make sure you leave a thin line of the pink watermelon flesh on the rind. Cover rind with 2 inches of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook rind for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to get tender. Remove and quickly drain. Add back into the saucepan with the remainder of ingredients. Reduce heat to low, stir to blend well and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir frequently so sugar will dissolve completely. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and cover to cool for at least 4 hours or overnight. The longer the watermelon rind sits in this tasty syrup, the more pronounced the flavor will be. You may remove the peppercorns if desired or leave them in for visual appeal.


1 cup apple cider or juice
1 pound apples (your choice), peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 pounds pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Crush with a potato masher once softened and while simmering. You can either cover while cooking with a lid or use a screen on top, which is what I prefer.
Once done and mashed, remove from heat, pour into a bowl and cover to refrigerate until chilled and ready to enjoy as a side to your charred angel food cake.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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