Angel Food Cake
One of the baking memories I have with my mom is making Angel Food Cake. The excitement of the sweet light cloudy-like cake was only a part of it. The main event: defying gravity by cooling the cake upside-down. It was truly something I enjoyed. The one thing we had trouble with was the pan. We had two pans that are great for regular cakes, but they both were 1-Piece pans, making taking out the cakes an adventure on its own. A few weekends ago, I got to buy a new 2-Piece non-stick pan but they didn’t have the ones with lil’ feet. So, if you’re looking to buy a new pan, definitely get this one here: 2-Piece Angel Food Cake Pan with Feet, as it makes it turning upside-down a breeze. Since my pan doesn’t have feet, I used two small loaf tins upside-down as the base where the Angel Food Cake Pan would rest. That way it cooled faster and as it should: upside-down.
Now, this cake consists mainly in whipping egg whites and folding the dry ingredients: it has no rising agent (leavener) nor fat. So, in order for the cake to rise properly and stay risen, you don’t grease the pan. If you do, it will prevent the cake from rising properly as the egg whites won’t be able to hold on to the pans’ sides.
When separating eggs, I find that using 3 bowls and an egg white separator like this one helps quite much. You don’t have to worry about passing the egg between the cracked shells (which can make your yolk break). You place the egg white separator over bowl #1, carefully crack the egg, let the separator catch the yolk. Transfer the egg yolk to bowl #2 and then the egg white to bowl #3. Then, you start all over again. The beauty of this, is that if one of the yolks breaks or you get egg-shell on any of the separated eggs, you just have to switch bowl #1 for a clean one instead of redoing everything again, as you need no yolks in the egg whites for it to whip properly.
The cake is really easy to make, but you need time. You need time to separate the eggs, sift the dry ingredients several times and time to let the cake cool upside-down (fun fun!). And since it has no butter in it, you can have a slice or two ;)
Angel Food Cake
Recipe slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 + ¼ cup sugar, separated
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 ¼ cups egg whites (approximately from about 10 eggs)
1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Tangerine & Orange Curd for serving
Fresh berries for serving
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. If you want, line a 10-inch angel food cake pan with parchment paper, but whatever you do, do not grease the pan.
- Sift together 4 times the flour and cornstarch.
- Then, add to the flour and cornstarch mix, 1 cup of sugar and the salt. Sift 3 times; set aside.
- Separate the eggs, reserving the yolks for the curd.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the whites are soft and foamy.
- Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and beat until medium-firm peaks form when the beater is lifted. Do not over-beat.
- Fold in the lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest with a rubber spatula.
- Sift one-fourth of the flour mixture over it and, gently fold it into the whites using deep strokes. Add the remaining flour mixture in 3 equal additions, sifting and folding each time.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and gently smooth the top. Run a cake tester through to remove any big bubbles in the batter.
- Bake until the cake is golden and springs back when touched, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto its feet, the neck of a wine bottle or over two loaf pans as I did. Let cool completely inverted, at least for 90 minutes.
- Gently run a long, thin-bladed knife or offset spatula around the outer sides of the pan, pressing it firmly against the pan to prevent tearing the cake. Remove the outer ring of the pan.
- Run an offset spatula or a skewer carefully around the inside of the tube and around the base. We want to make easier removing the cake from the pan.
- Invert the pan/cake into a cooling rack or plate, and remove the pan from the cake.
- Place cake flat side up on a cake stand and garnish with berries. Serve with a tablespoon of Tangerine & Orange Curd and fresh berries.
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