Angel Food cake is one of my very favourite cakes...along with chocolate,vanilla, carrot, coconut...you get my drift...I love cake, but it seems like you can eat more of this since it's light...right?! It is great served with strawberry sauce, lemon curd or a chocolate ganache topping or simply on it's own with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
To make this light as a cloud dessert, you will need: Cake & pastry flour, icing sugar, granulated sugar, 12 (room temperature) egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla and almond extract.
Set your oven racks to the lowest position then preheat oven to 325 degrees. The first couple of steps in this recipe are going to sound really tedious but it is necessary for a light, airy cake...sift cake & pastry flour into a one cup measuring cup...then, using a knife, run it across the top of the measuring cup to level off the flour...this will ensure that you have the right amount of flour for your cake.
Next, add 1-1/4 cups of powdered sugar and salt to the sifted flour.
This is where you may think it gets tedious...take the flour, powdered sugar and salt mixture and sift it through a fine mesh sieve 3 times...yep, I said "3 times"!! It will be worth your while when the cake is done...set mixture aside.
In another bowl, separate 12 eggs...I would recommend using cold eggs then let the whites come to room temperature before whipping. The eggs are easier to separate when they are cold...the whites are thin at room temperature and there is a better chance of piercing the yolk...you do NOT want any yolk in your whites at all...even a speck of yolk can hinder the consistency of your whipped whites, causing your cake to not rise. I usually separate egg whites into a small bowl, then add them to a larger bowl...that way if you do get some yolk into your whites, you only have to dispose of 1 egg vs. the whole shootin' match!!
If using cold eggs, let whites sit out on the counter for about an hour until they reach room temperature...room temperature egg whites whip up to perfection...*tip: Use some of the egg yolks in homemade lemon curd, custard, puddings or toss them out to the neighbourhood cats...they will love you for it! :)
Next, pour the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a large bowl with hand held beaters) and using the whip attachment on medium speed, whip whites until frothy...
...then add 1-1/2 tsp's of cream of tartar...
...and beat whites until soft, limp peaks form.
Add 1-1/4 tsp's of vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. of almond extract...
...then, turn mixer to med/high speed and in a steady, gradual stream, pour in 1-1/4 cups of granulated sugar.
Beat mixture until soft peaks form...you do not want to over beat at this point which may cause your cake to fall.
Next, pour in the flour mixture,
...and using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold flour into whipped egg whites...
...until all of the flour is incorporated.
Scrape the batter into an ungreased tube pan...
...smooth out the top with a rubber spatula...
...and run a knife through the batter to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake in the preheated 325 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes or until cake is set and the top is dry and cracked (oven temperatures may vary. Whatever you do, when the cake is in the oven, do NOT open the oven door, do NOT slam doors in or around the kitchen and ask family members to refrain from walking around the house like a herd of elephants!! I made three cakes and two of them fell during the last 5 minutes of baking due to "some people" in my household ignoring my no "tomfoolery" rules while the cakes were in the oven...needless to say, I made the third cake when nobody was home!!
Remove cake from the oven and immediately invert pan upside down on top of a bottle...let cool completely.
When cake is cool, run a knife around the outside of pan and around tube to loosen cake...
...and turn out onto a cake plate (there is a small chunk of cake missing from the top of mine...that is why you should be patient and allow the cake to cool completely before turning out onto a plate...clearly, I don't have patience).
If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar...
...and serve with fresh berries and cream.
Homemade Angel Food Cake
1 cup of cake and pastry flour
1-1/4 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. of salt
1-1/2 tsp's of cream of tartar
12 egg whites (room temperature)
1-1/4 tsp's of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp.of almond extract
1-1/4 cups of granulated sugar
1. In a medium bowl, sift 1 cup of cake and pastry flour and level off the top with a knife...add the powdered sugar and salt and sift mixture 3 times through a fine mesh sieve...set aside.
2. Whip room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar until soft, limp peaks form.
3. Next, add in the flavourings and in a steady stream, pour in the granulated sugar...whip until soft peaks form.
4. Fold in the flour mixture until incorporated, then scrape batter into an ungreased tube pan, smooth out the top and run a knife through the batter to eliminate any air bubbles.
5. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven (with the oven racks set to the lowest position) for about 50-60 minutes until cake is set and the top is dry and cracked.
6. Remove from oven and immediately invert pan onto a bottle (use any tall bottle that will hold up the cake pan)...allow to cool completely before running a knife around the outside of pan to loosen cake. Invert cake onto a plate and, if desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve with fresh berries and ice cream, blueberry or strawberry sauce, lemon curd or chocolate ganache topping...enjoy!!
* Tips to ensure success when baking this cake:
1. Make sure the bowl, beaters and utensils used for this cake are clean and grease free.
2. Room temperature egg whites whip up the best.
3. Do not grease the pan used...the batter needs to cling to and climb up the sides of pan for a proper rise.
4. Do not open the oven door to check on cake...a constant heat is required for the delicate batter...any temperature interruptions could cause it to fall.
5. Do not over beat the egg whites...it should not look as stiff as meringue...under beating is better than over beating. Fold flour mixture into whipped egg whites gently until all is incorporated!
6. Sometimes weather can play a role in a deflated cake as well...if it is raining outside, the low pressure can cause the cake to rise higher than normal, then deflate if someone slams a door or stomps around like a clodhopper (which was the case with my 2 fallen cakes...yep, it was raining too!).