angel food cake
it’s essentially a big fluffy sweet sponge cake held up with a LOT of egg white. Apparently Betty Crocker did one in the 70s/80s in Canada that my lovely other half was partial to eating when his mom made it. I’m a bit of a packet cake snob, and when a cake is as easy as this, who wouldn’t be. I think if you wanted to play around with it and cut this cake up to make a shaped kid’s birthday cake, it would work pretty well too – it is tough enough / not too crumbly at all while still being pretty light. And because it’s so light (and sweet) it’s one of the only cakes I’ve ever made where my two year old has actually eaten the whole piece of cake and not just the icing!
1 cup (240g) cake flour (*see note)
¾ cup + ¾ cup white sugar (177g + 177g)
12 egg whites (room temp for best whipping – but they are easier to separate when cold. Also as even the smallest speck of yolk will make them not whip up well, suggest you separate them one by one into a second bowl before adding to the rest of the whites in the main bowl – it would be a shame to get to the 12th egg and get some yolk in!)
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (and optionally ½ teaspoon almond extract)
1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
25 cm (10 inch) angel food cake tin OR ring tin OR bundt tin. A tin with a hold in the middle!
stand mixer / hand-held beaters
a bottle or something to invert the cake tin onto so it ‘hangs’ upside down
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Make sure that your 25cm (10 inch) ring tin (or special angel food cake tin if you have one!) or bundt tin is clean and dry. Basically you need a tin with a hold in the middle so the cake cooks evenly and isn’t gooey in the middle! Do not grease the tin. The ungreased tin allows full rising as the cake sticks to the sides on baking and the tin then holds the cake ‘out’ to stop it collapsing.
- Sift together the cake flour and ¾ cup of the sugar, set aside.
- In a very large very clean bowl (any amount of oil, dishwashing liquid or residue could deflate the egg whites), beat the egg whites along with the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt, to medium stiff peaks. You could try this by hand but there is quite a bit of mixing, so a stand mixer works best, but you could do it with a hand-held if needed.
- Gradually add the remaining sugar while continuing to whip to stiff peaks.
- When the egg white mixture has reached its maximum volume, fold in the sifted ingredients gradually, one third at a time. Do not over-mix.
- Put the batter into the ring pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake springs back when touched.
- Balance the tube pan upside down on the top of a bottle, to prevent decompression while cooling. Yes, this sounds strange, but the cake is so light it won’t ‘fall’ out of the pan while cooling even though it is inverted.
- When completely cool, run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a plate.
- Serve with fresh or poached fruit in season and whipped cream or a strawberry or passionfruit style syrup-sauce. Or for kids with whipped cream and sprinkles! We served with fresh whipped cream (with a small amount of icing (confectioner’s) sugar and vanilla extract added).
- to make ‘cake flour’ – measure 2 tablespoons corn flour then add plain (all-purpose) flour to make up one cup (240g) total. Sift 4 or 5 times until very well combined. The cake flour has a lower protein content than normal flour and should be a lot lighter.
- there is a lot of mixture – it overfills my 23 cm bundt cake tin
- apparently (according to someone in my house) you also need to add a small amount of sprinkles to the cake mixture (as you mix in the flour) so that the cake is flecked with little colourful bits. I’d say about 2 tablespoons would do it.
- This cake is super-sweet. Hence the decoration / serving with poached fruit. No need for icing on this baby.
- Egg yolks? Got a few left over after making this cake? How convenient that this cake goes so well with ice cream! Make a batch or two. Or some home made custard. Or a creme pattisserie to fill a fresh lovely custard tart. Or a batch of choux pastry nuns filled with custard. Mmmm. So many options!
Modified from a recipe on www.food.com (12591) 29 March 2012
Made for our daddy’s birthday this week!