I grew up eating store-bought angel food cake and always loved its light and fluffy texture. It was a treat that I looked forward to my mom buying in the spring and summer. Once I grew up and moved away from home, I stopped with the tradition and never found myself buying it on my own.
Last summer I started reminiscing about those earlier days and decided that angel food cake needed to enter my life once again. But, now that I am more seasoned in the baking realm, I knew I could hunt down a recipe where I could make it at home instead. I found the perfect formula on Nicole’s blog, which coincidentally appears (updated) in my newest addition to my bookshelf, The New Best Recipe cookbook. When I made it last summer, I snapped a very decent photo of it then it magically disappeared into “delete” world somehow. Hence, the delay in sharing the recipe with you.
Angel food cake, when done right, is reminiscent of a spongy meringue with a golden crispy crust. It is sweet and chewy, and surprisingly melts into your mouth. And, although it is not as moist as most cakes, you can still eat it on its own or serve it with various toppings (at least one of which I’ll be sharing soon).
You will need a tube pan with a removable bottom such as this one. I also make it the day before then release it from the pan the next day just before serving. It may seem like a difficult cake to make, but working carefully through it step by step, you will have the perfectly white spongy cake set on the table for all to see. When you accomplish this one, it’s a cake of which to feel proud.
Angel Food Cake
Yield: 10 – 12 servings
1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond or lemon extract
Preheat oven to 325˚F.
In a small bowl, mix together the cake flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until frothy, about 1 minute on medium speed. Add the cream of tartar and salt, then beat on medium speed until fully incorporated. Begin to add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. After the sugar has been completely mixed in, turn the speed up to medium-high and beat the egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Be careful not beat all the way to stiff peaks. Once the eggs reach soft peaks, stir in the vanilla and almond or lemon extracts.
Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the egg white in 6 to 8 addition and gently fold in after each addition. It is better to take your time and do it gently than to rush and deflate the egg whites.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 9-inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Smooth the top with a spatula and tap the pan on the counter once or twice to ensure that there are no large bubbles lurking beneath the surface.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove from oven and invert pan over a full 2-liter bottle. Allow to cool completely overnight.
Gently run a thin knife around the sides, then around the bottom of the pan to release the cake when ready to serve.