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Orange Glaze without Sugar?

Most glaze recipes I've seen use confectioner's sugar (added to OJ) as the thickener and, what-do-you-say, sticking agent. Frosting, basically. I want to glaze angel's food cake with something orangey, but how do I thicken it without sugar—so that the glaze doesn't just soak into the cake?

Would blending some apricot jam into the orange juice help? (Maybe the pectin would help set the glaze?) Perhaps add a little corn-starch? What I'm looking for is a light glaze to add some sheen and flavor.

On another note, do you think some grated ginger would work, flavor-wise, in the glaze, or would it be trying too hard? It's so easy to add stuff—orange zest, vanilla, cardamom, liqueur, coconut, etc.—you don't know where to stop . . . sigh

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  1. Since most jams are 75% sugar you aren't avoiding it. Adding a liquid like OJ to thin the jam won't make much difference and will be sweeter. Corn starch will then thicken the thinned jam but alter the taste.

    If you use OJ and cornstarch it is going to dry and look powdery not a sheen.

    I would go with the purest jam you can find (like apricot with no pieces of fruit) and warm it down in a small pan on low heat and then while warm brush the cake with it.

    1. or use melted apple jelly.

      1. Regarding your flavor options, depends on the kind of cake you're baking. Angel food is very low profile but typically sweet enough. If it were me I'd go whipped cream and fresh fruit. You can doctor the cream by adding vanilla beans or a liquer. Or toss some liquer with the fruit (strawberries).

          1. re: chowser

            chow, don't you think marm glaze on a heavy cake is best..I'm thinkin angel food cake is to much of a light weight for glazes with fruit bits. maybe just me...

            1. re: HillJ

              You know, I skipped right over the angel food part....
              Yes, I agree. I like my angel food plain with whipped cream. Maybe flavored with gran marnier, and garnished with some orange zest.

              1. re: HillJ

                Yes, I missed the part about angel food, thanks. I wonder why the OP wouldn't want something that soaks into the cake. I think an orange simple syrup brushed over would be fine, or your whipped cream suggestion. With a thinner marmalade glaze, she could brush it lightly on top for the shiny glaze if that's what she wants.

            2. Wouldn't reducing orange juice thicken it? I haven't tried it. If you have plenty of juice, you might want to experiment. I think cornstarch needs heat to thicken liquids anyway, right? Just be sure to use a non-reactive pan. Personally, I think the orange flavor alone wouldn't need anything else, but that is just me. It goes without saying the original flavor would be concentrated, so I'd start with the best-tasting juice.

              Let us know what you end up doing.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MrsJonesey

                reducing orange juice gives you orange-juice concentrate. Might as well just thaw a cn of the frozen stuff and pour it over your cake (yeccch)

                If you are going to glaze with something liquid, it's going to soak into the cake -- I can't imagine going to the work to make a light, fluffy angel-food cke and then weigh it down. I'd go with confectioners' sugar or a lightly sweetened frosting, but NOT a liquid glaze.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Suppose you're right. I definitely agree with your second point. I've yet to make an angel food cake, but even the grocery store ones are delicious on their own when at their freshest.