Sunday, November 1, 2009

Angel Food Cake

Friday the 30th of October was my little sister's 19th birthday, and being a little broke Justin and I couldn't afford to get her the absolutely amazing gift she deserves, so I offered to make her a cake, any cake. Her choice was Angel Food, which I had never tried before. I actually really didn't know anything about angel food cakes other than that they had a lot of egg whites. Turns out "a lot" means 12 egg whites. And, I thought that I had lots of eggs (we had an 18 carton), unfortunately 9 of the 18 eggs were broken. So, half way through the cake when I started discovering that I didn't have 12 eggs, Justin had to run to the store for me.

The cake actually turned out fabulous, and we chose to do 'buffet' style toppings (everyone ended up using all 3 toppings anyway). I made fresh whipped cream, sliced up a carton of strawberries, and because blackberries were on sale for .69 cents a half-pint, blackberry coulis. YUM.

Angel Food Cake

1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
12 egg whites, very cold
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt

*Make sure all of your tools, including your pan, mixer, etc, are clean and completely free of any oil. Even a trace of oil will ruin your cake.

1. Sift together cake flour with 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar

2. In a mixer fitted with a whip attachment, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla and almond extracts and salt on high speed until soft peaks form. It will take around 4 minutes. With the mixer still running slowly add in remaining 3/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Using your trusty rubber spatula gradually fold in flour mixture until just incorporated.

3.  Pour the batter into a angel food cake pan/ tube pan (no oil or grease!) and smooth the top, carefully smoothing out any bubbles. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched. It should take about 40 to 45 minutes. Invert your pan and let the cake cool completely upside-down. It will probably just sort of fall off the tube pan when cool, but if it doesn't, use a rubber spatula to separate it from the pan. I had no trouble with the sides sticking, but I did need to run a spatula under the bottom of the cake.

As far as toppings for the angel food cake, I made a few choices and served them as sort of a buffet. I made blackberry coulis and whipped cream with strawberries.

Whip cream is easy enough - heavy whipping cream in your mixer, whip until peaks start to form and slowly add powdered sugar to taste.

Blackberry coulis - in a food processor puree a pint of blackberries with 3 to 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar (again, to taste), then strain to remove any chunks or seeds. This can be done with just about any berry.

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