Saturday, March 5, 2011

Angel Food Cake

I have always loved angel food cake because it is really light and not too 'sicky-sweet'.  Ever since I was a little girl I would ask for an angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream for my birthday.  This week, on my 25th birthday, it was no different :)

In fact, I love angel food cake with strawberries so much, that I even had it for our wedding cake!

I had never made an angel food cake from scratch before, but a year or two ago (I don't remember what inspired me at that time) I decided that store-bought varieties were too dry and I was going to make one myself. I must have looked through 30 different recipes to gather ideas that I liked. I had to have known at the time why I decided the amounts and techniques that I did, but now I have no idea why I have to mix it the way I do; I just follow the directions on the old torn piece of scratch paper that I wrote it on back then, and it faithfully yields the most moist, yet fluffy and perfectly sweet angel food cake every time!

  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 12 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Then sift together the flour and half the sugar (3/4 cup)

Separate the eggs, do not let ANY hint of yolk into your whites. Angel food cake is light and fluffy because the whites rise, but if there is any oil from the yolks then it will not rise quite like it should.
(don't waste the yolks, keep them to make ice cream, or creme brulee or anything else that may require yolks)

**Helpful Hint: Use a very big bowl for your whites, much larger than mine here, because eventually all of your ingredients will end up in this bowl. You will soon see that this one was not quite big enough and I had to transfer it all to a bigger bowl later.

Add the vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt.

Whip to a medium peak (when your 'peak' can stand up on its own, but not quite straight up- it should slouch over like Free Willy's fin)

Then add the other half of the sugar (3/4 cup) to your medium peaks, and whip again until firm (much stronger and stiffer than before.)
See how my bowl was not big enough! And this is without even adding the sifted flour/sugar mix yet!

Now add the sifted flour mixture to your firm-whipped egg mixture, just a little bit at a time...
...and fold in gently until it is well incorporated, but without breaking down the stiffness of your whites too much. It should look smooth, but still be pretty stiff, like this: 

Then carefully transfer it to an UNGREASED angel food cake pan (do not use a non-stick spray!). If you spray it, those oils will cause the same collapsing damage that the oils from the yolks would do!

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 40 minutes

When you take it out, let it cool upside down so that it doesn't fall in while it's cooling... like a bad souffle.
**Helpful Hint: my mom taught me that a wine bottle fits right into the center hole of the pan to hold it upside down while it cools. 

with a long skewer or rubber spatula (or anything non-metal that wont scratch your cake pan), loosen the edges of the cake and invert it onto your platter.

Then top with some of my sister's homemade whipped cream and just a few strawberries!
or maybe a lot of strawberries... and an extra bowl full for serving!

Kinley and 'Baby Blue Bear' are helping to put the birthday candles on the cake

Uh oh! Baby Bear's foot got into the frosting...

It was a difficult clean up job, but Kinley didn't complain:

...STILL workin' on it :)

My 25th piece of birthday cake!

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