I don’t bake a lot of cakes. Somehow when I do, a lot of them fall. Or don’t rise. Or end up with deep wells in the center. I can practically stand in front of my oven and watch my cakes collapse. My sister, Barbara, always baked the cakes in our family. They always worked. Come to think of it, she always made the mashed potatoes and pickled eggs too, but I am getting off track.
Maybe it’s because I’m a cookie baker and so I don’t beat the batter long enough. Or maybe I’ll blame it on my oven. Whatever the reason, I usually avoid baking cakes. But when I bake this angel food cake, ( My husband’s favorite cake of mine, well it would be chocolate if I could bake one) it is always amazing. This Angel Food Cake of mine has never let me down. I’ve baked it at least a dozen times and I’m sure I’ll be baking it many more times.
When beating the eggs whites in this recipe with the cream of tartar and salt, you’ll want to use a whisk beater on your stand mixer. The egg whites will turn foamy at first, then start to form soft peaks. When your mixture looks like the photo above, you can begin to beat in the granulated sugar, 2 TBL at a time. The mixture will become stiff and glossy. Don’t overbeat at this point or the egg whites will start to break down.
Now it’s time to beat in vanilla and any other flavorings. ( Use extracts if using lemon or almond extract, it’s best not to use lemon oil). Next, gently fold in flour mixture of CAKE flour and confectioner’s sugar. The cake flour is important to use instead of regular all-purpose flour to give the cake it’s airy consistency. Fold using a spatula, not your mixer. You want to keep the air in the cake batter. Pour the batter into an Ungreased angel food cake tube pan. Don’t grease or spray the pan. You can gently cut through the batter using a butter knife to remove any air pockets. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
When the cake is finished baking, the crust will be a deep golden brown and cracks will feel dry. It will start to pull away from the pan just slightly. When you remove the cake from the oven, immediately turn it upside down. Most tube cake pans have little tabs to balance the cake pan on, but my old pan did not so I always used a bottle to balance it on. This newer pan I have now has the tabs, but I still like using the bottle idea. And I usually have a wine bottle near by to use! Of course, any bottle that fits will work. I am always nervous the cake will fall from the pan, but it never does. Of course, never grease your pan. But still, you’d think it would fall out. But no, it doesn’t. Maybe there is a physics class 101 reason why it doesn’t.
Allow the cake to sit here in its suspended state for 2 hours. When you are ready to remove the angel food cake from the pan, just run a butter or offset knife around the inside and outside edges and remove the cake.
Angel food cake can be a little plain to some, but not when you add lots of glaze. Lots and lots of glaze. You should add enough so that it not only drips down the sides but also pools at the bottom of the plate a bit. When you cut the cake later, the recipient of your sweet cake will be delighted they have extra glaze to go with their cake!
I usually go with classic white glaze, but for a festive touch, try adding just a tiny bit of food coloring to your glaze. Pastels work well with angel food cake. I have used a dark chocolate glaze also topped with mini chocolate chips but the pastel look is light and pretty. A party cake. I like simple desserts, served just like this, but you can also try fresh fruit like strawberries or raspberries to serve with this cake. My husband had 2 scoops of ice cream with his and said it was delicious.
This cake requires one dozen eggs. But only the whites. What to do with 12 egg yolks? You can save them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in an airtight container. That’s not very long. I found this article that gives us some ideas. 12 ways to use up egg yolks.
I vote for the lemon bars.
- 1½ cups confectioner's sugar (6¾ oz)
- 1 cup cake flour (4¼ oz)
- 12 egg whites
- 1½ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar (7 oz)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- ½ tsp lemon or almond extract (optional)
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar (8 ounces)
- ½ tsp pure vanilla
- Milk to thin ( I used 6 TBL)
- Mix confectioner's sugar and flour. Reserve.
- Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until still peaks form.
- Beat in granulated sugar 2 TBL at a time until stiff and glossy.
- Beat in vanilla and lemon or almond extract on low
- Gently fold in flour/confectioner's sugar mixture.
- Pour into 10 inch angel cake pan, ungreased.
- Gently cut through batter with rubber spatula.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until top crust is golden brown and cracks feel dry.
- Immediately turn upside down onto glass bottle and let cool 2 hours.
- Remove from pan by running a butter knifer around the edges and glaze.
- GLAZE: Melt ¼ cup butter, mix with 2 cups confectioner's sugar and ½ tsp vanilla. Add milk to thin to desired consistency. I made mine fairly thick as you see in the photo.