Sunday, March 3, 2013
Angel Food Cake
I didn't wake up one morning and decide....'hay, I want to make Angel Food Cake'. As much as I enjoy this cake, I don't think of it very often (it's usually a strawberry season thought). Believe it or not, my decision to make Angel Food Cake stemmed from my desire to make English Muffins.
It's a weird, twisted path but I needed rings to make English Muffins. Sorta like cookie cutter rings, and I didn't want to order them online. I'd heard that small tuna cans, with both ends removed, works well. The only problem was, my can opener couldn't remove the bottom of the can. I guess, somewhere along the line, tin can manufactures started making the can bottoms rounded and a can opener can't wrap it's little gears around it.
Bummed me out.
So I sat on the idea for a while. Searching stores for 3" cookie cutters that are sold separately. Searching different tuna brands. I even got so desperate that I started looking at the cat food cans at the market. (honestly, it would've grossed me out. I'd probably imagine that the can smelled like cat food, forever. No matter how many times I'd wash it). Then a fellow cooking buddy informed me that small pineapple cans were still made the "old fashioned way".
But....what do I do with all that pineapple?!
That's when the same buddy mentioned Pineapple Bavarian Cream. Which happens to go very nicely with this very fluffy, spongy cake, know as Angel Food Cake.
And now you see the connection. I am working my way back to English Muffins. The Angel Food Cake is the first step. Which by the way, I totally missed steps in this recipe and did things out of order (in my defense, the instructions are written in paragraph form instead of in steps. I missed a sentence, I guess). The cake still turned out wonderfully. But I'd like to make it again. Using a proper pan and preparing it in the proper way.
Then I will make the Bavarian Cream. Then I will have the rings to make my English Muffins.
This particular recipe is from a very old book (The American Woman's Cookbook), binding falling apart, with a copyright of 1948. In the book, the cake is simply called Angel Cake. Same difference. It calls for the use of both vanilla and almond extract. Next time I'm only going to use the vanilla extract.
1 1/4 cups sugar - divided
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 cup egg whites (8 - 10 eggs)
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 275' F
Sift 1/4 cup of sugar and the cake flour, 4 times. (I sifted it onto a piece of parchment paper...then emptied it back into the sifter). Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt into a stiff foam. Add the remaining sugar, a little at a time, beating it in. Add in the extracts.
Fold in the sifted flour mix, sifting yet again as you add it, a little at a time, into the egg white foam.
Pour into a large ungreased tube pan (I used a bundt pan. not highly recommended). With a butter knife of spatula, cut through the batter to remove large air bubbles.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Increase oven temperature to 300' F and bake 40 - 45 minutes longer.
Remove from oven, invert pan for an hour before removing.
Carefully run a knife around all of the edges and remove from pan.
As you can tell from the picture at the top of my post, I left a lot of the "crust" behind when I removed the cake. I blame this on the bundt pan.
I am going to make this again. Possibly today. In a proper tube pan. I don't think Angel Food Cake is difficult to make. I mean, mine turned out nice and fluffy (I admit, it would've been fluffier I'm sure, had I done the proper thing) in spite of my mistakes. Are you wondering how I messed up?
Let's see. I added the extracts into the egg whites before beating them into a stiff foam. Not so bad....I wasn't too worried.
This next flub...had me worried.
I missed the step when the last cup of sugar is beaten into the egg whites. I just went straight to the folding in of the flour. Damn. When I realized what I had done, I proceeded to fold in the sugar too. I didn't beat it in. That would've really messed up the integrity of the stiff egg whites. Then I baked and prayed.