Friday, April 25, 2014

Homemade Angel Food Cake: 3 Easy Tips for a Better Cake



Have you ever made homemade Angel Food Cake? I have, lots of times, and I have some good tips to help you out.

Baking an Angel Food cake is not as hard as you might think--and the taste really surpasses anything you can buy from the store. Trust me, I've bought my share of angel food, and the store-bought ones always seem to have a chemical aftertaste.

Tip #1: Use room temperature egg whites. It really makes a difference in the finished product because room temp egg whites will whip higher and stiffer than cold ones. It's tempting not to wait when you're in a hurry, but it's worth it.

Tip #2: Sifting all the flour and sugar can be a big pain. I discovered that if I run the flour and sugar through my blender, I get a great result. So much easier and faster than sifting!

Tip #3: You can cut the sugar in this recipe (the sugar that is sifted with the flour) by 1/4 cup. When I did this, it was actually by accident and my husband said that Angel Food cake was my "best one yet."

Homemade Angel Food Cake
adapted from a recipe at Food.com 

1 c. cake flour (no substitutions)
3/4 c. + 2 T. powdered sugar
12 large egg whites, best at room temperature
1 1/2 t. cream of tartar (a must!)
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract

First off, use an actual angel food cake pan. This is a pan that has a large hollow tube in the center and comes apart into two pieces--the base and the sides. This makes it much easier to remove from the pan after you have cooled it. Don't grease the pan.

Preheat oven to 375. Sift (or run through your blender) the cake flour with the 3/4 c. + 2 T. powdered sugar. Set aside.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks, and don't get any yolk into the white or the cake will not rise like it should. Beat the whites with the cream of tartar and salt until it forms peaks. Peaks are when you lift the beater or whisk attachment straight up out of the whites, and little pointy peaks form and stay without falling over immediately. Once you hit this point, slowly add the other 3/4 c. powdered sugar. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Stiff peaks are peaks that won't fall over at all when you lift the whisk up out of the whites, and they will actually look stiffer than the softer peaks from before. 

Beating on low, slowly add the flour mixture and the vanilla & almond extracts. After beating, use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and make sure all the flour is incorporated. Do this gently. Spoon batter into the angel food pan. Gently cut a knife through the batter to remove any air pockets. 

Bake angel food approximately 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched with your finger. In my oven, the cake is done at 27 minutes. Invert the cake onto a funnel or long-necked bottle, so that it hangs upside down. Crazy, I know...but this is how you do it. I remember watching my grandma hang angel food cakes upside down like this. I keep an old sparkling cider bottle around just for this purpose. 

Once the cake has cooled completely, remove the cake from the pan by first running a knife around the edges of the cake. Holding the center tube, lift the cake out of the pan. Then run a knife around the bottom of the cake to remove it from the base. 

Our favorite way to eat angel food is either plain or with berries and cream. Yum!   
       

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