Angel Food Cake

Angel food cake is never something I thought I would want to make for myself. I dislike the grocery-store variety, which is all I’d had. It’s too sweet, too spongy and needs way too much ice cream, whipped cream, syrup and sprinkles to make good.

But there is something so wonderful about whipping those egg whites until they become soft, shiny whisps of cloudlike sweetness. It looks like marshmallow fluff, but is flavored with fresh lemon, almond and vanilla. Amazing that such a light and airy batter can become a standing cake. But so it does, and each bite is like a bit of cotton candy dissolving on your tongue – soft, delicate, gentle and full of flavor.

I absolutely will make this again – for the next party or potluck. Using my new vintage tube pan…

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. cake flour
  • 12 egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 and adjust rack to bottom half. Line bottom of a tube pan with parchment paper but do not grease.

Whisk 3/4 c. sugar and flour together in medium bowl.

In stand mixer, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low until foamy, 1 min. Increase mixer to medium-high and whip until whites are soft, cloudlike mounds, about 1 min. Gradually whip in salt and remaining 3/4 c. sugar, 1 T at a time. Continue to whip until whites are shiny and form soft peaks, 1-3 min.

By hand, whisk lemon juice and extracts into whipped whites. Sift 1/4 c. flour mixture over the top of the whites and fold to combine. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, 1/4 c. at a time, being careful not to over-mix.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Wipe and drops of batter off the sides and lightly tap pan on table to settle the batter.

Bake cake until golden brown on top and it springs back when pressed firmly, 50-60 min.

Invert pan over large funnel or bottle and let cool completely upside down, 2-3 hours. Do not turn too early! It will collapse if you do.

Run small knife around the edge to loosen. Gently tap pan upside down to release the cake. Peel off parchment, turn cake right-side up and place on serving platter.

Spoon crushed berries on top, or whipped cream and chocolate syrup, ice cream, whatever you want…

We had ours with fresh blackberries from the farmers’ market. I crushed a few to make a simple sauce and tumbled the other dark jewels over the thick slices. The tart fruit melts well with the sweet cake.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

2 responses to “Angel Food Cake

  1. Another tip: make sure the mixing bowl and beater don’t have even a smidgen of grease on them, or the eggs whites will never get light and fluffy. Do you have an old-fashioned angel food cake server? It looks like a wide-toothed comb, with very long, slim metal teeth. You insert the teeth and gently tear a slice from the cake so it doesn’t get mashed.

  2. Oh smart! No, I just used a serrated knife to slice through without smashing it like a soft piece of Wonderbread.

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