—In light of the Alabama tornado storm devastation, I ask that as you read this Angel Food cake post, you think about how much it means when someone reaches out to you during a crisis and becomes your “angel”. If you are in a position to make any donation, please click the link to donate to the American Red Cross at redcross.org or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. I also ask that bloggers who feel inclined copy and paste this at the top of their post. Thank you!
Angel Food Cake is one of the those beautiful things that seems to have fallen by the wayside. It’s a rarity these days to see it in a bakery or on someone’s dining table; at least around here in L.A.
Angel Food cakes are just not hip or of the moment. They are not a fancy French Macaron, nor are they crumbled with bacon, and they most certainly do not require slicing in thirds for breathtaking fillings.
It is itself, just a tower of fluffy, naturally stark white splendor that one wishes they could jump into if they were a little kid wanting a soft, spongy landing to be enveloped in. Have you never wished you could jump into an Angel Food Cake? Hmmmm. Maybe that’s just me then.
I invited some friends over for dessert yesterday, and we all have been trying to watch our calorie intake since bathing suit season is shockingly soon. Angel Food cake is a notoriously low-fat cake since it only uses egg whites and NO butter, oil or any added fat.
Yes, it is also a notoriously high sugared cake, but you can’t win ’em all I figure and a tiny slice of this melt-in-your-mouth cake drenched in strawberry puree and sprinkled with plump fresh blueberries will not totally ruin your diet and WILL fulfill any sweet tooth spike you are having. It surely did mine and my guests. We all mmmm’d and smiled as each fluffy bite entered our mouths.
Of course, I had the small urge to buy a cake mix since it would be so much easier. Yes, even I have those moments. After all this cake requires a DOZEN egg whites. That seems a bit daunting, no? But I knew that when I made this cake from scratch, it would not taste of overwhelming sugary sweetness, nor have a chemical aftertaste and it’s softness would be due to my elbow grease and the 100% organic egg whites which were whipped to oblivion, not any preservatives.
I may not be a baker who has converted yet to all agave and natural sweeteners, (although I am giving it some sincere thought) but I am a mom and baker who has decided that having complete control over what goes into my food is important to me. Knowing my homemade baked goods have so much goodness and so little fakeness baked into them makes me feel proud.
Of course, I am a true believer in that if each of us just does the best we can on any given day with everything from parenting, to providing healthy meals, to preserving the environment then we are doing enough. No one is perfect, and we all just have to make our own priorities. So no judgement here folks, but just a nudge from me in the homemade direction.
So as I am going to leave with you my good ol’ Better Homes and Gardens recipe for this fantastic Angel Food Cake and my strawberry puree, I will also include the offensive list of ingredients on the Betty Crocker cake mix so that hopefully, you will be convinced to bake a little bit more from scratch because it’s not about being Martha Stewart or Suzy Homemaker, but really about knowing what you are eating and making it worth every bite.
Offensive List of Cake Mix ingredients…
|SUGAR, WHEAT FLOUR BLEACHED, EGG WHITE, WHEAT STARCH, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE), MODIFIED CORN STARCH, CORN STARCH, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, MODIFIED SOY PROTEIN, SALT, CELLULOSE GUM, DEXTROSE, MALTODEXTRIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR|
Absolutely Perfect Angel Food Cake
Taken Verbatim from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
Makes about 12 servings.
1 1/2 c. egg whites (10-12 large), ROOM TEMPERATURE
1 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 c. sifted cake flour
1 1/2 t. cream of tartar (found in the spice section at the supermarket)
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 c. granulated sugar
optional, fresh berries
1 bag of frozen strawberries, defrosted
1 T. granulated sugar
For the cake: Remove upper racks from oven while cool and leave only lowest rack in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. DO NOT SPRAY COAT OR GREASE your 10 inch tube pan. That is very important.
Bring egg whites to room temperature. SIFT (notice I rarely ask you to sift so when I do, please believe me that this step is IMPERATIVE) the powdered sugar and flour together THREE times.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer (or hand beater), beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla on medium until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add granulated sugar two tablespoons at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form (tips are straight). See photo above of stiff egg whites.
Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the beaten egg whites (see photo above). Fold in GENTLY with a rubber scraper, oh so gently. Folding requires a light touch and you use your rubber scraper at the bottom of the batter first and gently bring the bottom batter to the top and repeat until the ingredient disappears. Repeat until the flour mixture is all incorporated into the batter. See photo.
Pour into UNGREASED tube pan. Bake on the lowest rack for 45-55 minutes or until golden and top springs back when lightly pressed. Toothpick should come out clean as well. Immediately invert the cake (leave in pan); cool thoroughly. Loosen the sides of the cake from pan; remove cake.
For the puree: Simply defrost your berries and puree them in a blender on high until a silky consistency. Add the sugar and blend again. Serve with cake.
Other great additions to serve alongside the cake: Chocolate sauce, ice cream, any fresh fruit or fruit puree. Or make it tropical and grill some pineapple slices, toast some coconut and pour 1 tablespoon of rum over the pineapple slice that is served atop a slice of cake. Sprinkle with the coconut.