Friday, December 3, 2010

Heavenly Angel Food Cake

The last time I made an angel food cake it was for AJ's first birthday in Lake Zurich, Illinois. I don't remember that recipe but this one is from Betty Crocker. It's lightly sweet and moist and quite spongy in texture. It uses 12 egg whites, which leaves me with the problem of what to do with a dozen egg yolks. I've frozen them--yes, they do freeze well but are the hardest thing to get out of the ice cube tray. Serve this angel food cake plain, without powdered sugar or frosting. It only has 130 calories per slice!

Have at room temperature~
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cake flour
12 large egg whites (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Move the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven 375˚F. Use a two-piece 10 inch tube cake pan, preferably with "feet" for keeping the cake off the counter as it cools upside-down.

Prepare the flour-sugar mixture. In a large bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and cake flour together. Set aside.

Separate the eggs. Eggs are easier to separate at room temperature. Be careful not to get any yolk in the egg whites or they will not whip. If you aren't going to use the egg yolks immediately, freeze them in an ice cube tray, one egg yolk per cube. [Tip: they'll be easier to remove from the tray if they defrost a few minutes. Store the frozen egg yolks in a zip-lock plastic bag. Defrost in the refrigerator 8-10 hours before using.]

Whip the egg whites. In a large bowl  put the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip on medium speed until foamy. Beat on high speed, adding the granulated sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, until soft peaks form. Slowly raise the beaters. If the peaks fall over, that is soft. Add the vanilla, almond extract, and salt with the last addition of sugar. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Slowly raise the beaters. If the peaks stand up tall, that is stiff.

Add the flour-sugar mixture. Dip and sweep a 1/4 cup measure into the mixture and sprinkle it over the whipped egg whites. Gently fold into the meringue.  Scrape into a tube cake pan. Using a thin blade, cut the batter to release air pockets. Here's a video at that shows how to fold the flour into the meringue.

Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake 30-40 minutes or until the cake, when pressed lightly, springs back. Remove from oven and immediately invert over a wine bottle. If you have a pan with feet, let it hang upside down. Cool completely in the pan, about 2 hours. Using a thin blade, loosen the sides and invert onto a cake plate. Then carefully slide the blade between the cake and the pan bottom and  remove it.

Meringue at soft peak stage

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