I’ll admit it: I’m not a huge fan of chocolate (anyone else out there feel the same?). Yes, I’m the one at the dessert table who passes by the brownies, blackout cakes and “chocolate fountains”, in search of a shortbread cookie, a slice of pound cake or a vanilla doughnut.
So it will come as no surprise to hear that angel food cake ranks as one of my favorite desserts. I love it. And I had to learn how to make it myself because it is very hard to find in your average bakery, or on the dessert menu at a restaurant. I’ve perfected this recipe over many years and am thrilled to share it with you all today!
Angel food cake is one of those simple-yet-complex desserts that many bakers avoid – mainly because it involves beating egg whites, which seems to be one of the more stress-inducing baking techniques. True, it takes a little finesse to find your sense of timing, mixer speed and appearance, but with practice (and my helpful tips!) you’ll find success comes quickly.
This cake is a great way to hone your egg-white-beating skills as it is more forgiving than say, a meringue or souffle. So roll up your sleeves and let’s (gently) break some eggs!
Classic Angel Food Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart
1 c. sifted cake flour
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
12 large egg whites, room temperature
1 t. cream of tartar
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
Pre-heat your oven to 325; place the rack in the lower third. Cut a parchment circle to fit the bottom of an angel food cake pan; set aside.
Sift flour and 1/2 c. sugar onto a piece of parchment paper. Set the sieve over a bowl and pour the mixture back into the sieve; sift again and set aside.
Beat the egg whites on low speed in a large mixer bowl. When the entire surface is covered in tiny, uniform bubbles, increase the speed to medium and beat for one minute. Add the cream of tartar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt – beat until you see “tracks” form, about 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 c. of sugar and beat for one minute.
Increase speed to medium-high and beat till firm (not stiff) peaks form – the tip of the peak will bend slightly when the beater is lifted. Using a large rubber spatula, gently transfer the egg white mixture to a large, wide bowl. Sprinkle one third of the flour-sugar mixture over the egg whites. Using a wire whisk, gently combine, allowing the flour to fall through the whisk. Add the remaining flour in two more additions, and fold until just combined.
Using your rubber spatula, transfer the batter to your prepared pan. Run a knife gently through to deflate any large bubbles. Bake till a cake tester comes out clean and the cake is springy to the touch, 45-50 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven and invert, making sure that the cake clears the counter surface. Let cool completely, about 2 hours. To remove cake from pan, re-invert the pan and run a thin knife around the inner and outer edges. Push the cake up from the bottom and remove the parchment paper. Dust with powdered sugar.
To serve, cut slices with a serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion.
Cake keeps well for up to two days at room temperature, wrapped in plastic.
Read more from Sheri on Donuts, Dresses and Dirt