May 13, 2010

Angel Food Cake

I've always wanted to try making my own angel food cake, instead of the shelf-stable tubes at the grocery store.  It was definitely more challenging than cake from a box, but was a delightful treat - at least it was delightful the second time I made the cake.  The first time I tried this recipe (thank you, Food Network), I botched it.  I skipped one of the most important steps - letting the eggs come to room temperature.  It's not a hard step, just one that really helps the cake achieve it's light and fluffy potential.  Once the eggs come to room temperature, separate them carefully, making sure that NO YOLK appears in your bowl!  If you can follow those easy steps, along with the directions below, you'll be sure to have a cake fit for angels, I promise.  And don't forget the fresh whipped cream and strawberries.

1 3/4 cups sugar, processed until superfine (so it looks like powdered sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted (I do not recommend using regular flour for this recipe)
12 egg whites (NO YOLK) at room temperature
1/3 cup warm water (not hot, not cold - WARM)
1 teaspoon vanailla extract, or extract of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Set out the eggs for at least 1 hour, or until they reach room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.

This next part is the tricky, yet very important part, as I learned while attempting this cake the first time.
In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks (this can take several minutes, but happens quickly), sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).

Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

If you have an extra ten minutes, I'd encourage you to watch this clip from Food Network's Good Eats show - this is especially helpful for novices in explaining why beating the eggs the right way is so important.

1 comment:

  1. Anything Alton says you have to follow! :) My husband loves Good Eats!


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Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.


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