Angel Food Cake
From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, page 178
Makes one 10-inch cake
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 3/4 cups large egg whites (about 13 large eggs), room temperature
1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350F, with the rack in the center. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour and 3/4 cup sugar four times; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and the warm water on low speed until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. While beating, gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat on high speed until peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry, about 2 minutes (do not overmix).
3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Sift flour mixture over egg-white mixture in six parts, quickly but gently folding it in with a rubber spatula after each addition.
4. Gently transfer batter to an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Run a knife through the batter to release any air bubbles, and smooth with a small offset spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched, 35 to 40 minutes.
5. Invert pan onto its legs and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Carefully run a large offset spatula around the sides of the cake to loosen, then invert onto a wire rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
I had a mild case of baking withdrawal today. Nothing too severe.. and nothing that baking a nice cake couldn't cure. I've been wanting to bake an angel food cake for awhile now. Especially after single-handedly eating my way through the entire Tres Leches cake (minus the one piece I shared with my boyfriend the first day).. So rich and dense.. It was time for something light, airy, and subtle, and angel food cake was just the thing.
Although I've wanted to make an angel food cake for a couple months now, I never got around to it. One of the main things holding me back was my lack of a tube pan. Last week, I finally broke down and bought one. I also mistakenly bought a dozen eggs because they were on sale, not realizing that I already had almost a full dozen still at home in the fridge. So today, being off work, I got bored and that's when the baking bug bit me. I'd use up the eggs in the fridge and use my new baking pan at the same time and finally make an angel food cake! I reverted to my old ways and consulted Martha again. (Hey I made it the whole way through the Tres Leches post without ONCE mentioning Martha! Cut me some slack!) The recipe in the Baking Handbook was simple, so it was time to get cracking! Literally.
13 eggs. And I only got yolk in my whites twice. I was able to scoop them out with a spoon, so not too bad! I put them in the mixer with the salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla, and walked to the other end of the counter to get my sugar to add once soft peaks formed. I was gone all of 30 seconds at the most, but when I came back my egg whites had gone from being foamy at the bottom of my bowl to this MONSTER pile of fluff! I thought for sure it was going to overflow the bowl before it was done! It was up over the part of the mixer where you attach the whisk to the arm! But it turned out alright. No total disastrous messes! At least not at that point.. It says to transfer to a large bowl. They're not kidding about the size of the bowl you need. Find the biggest one you have in your house. Use a barrel if you can find one. I put this massive foam into the biggest bowl I had and it still was too small. Folding the flour mixture into the egg whites proved to be a bit difficult. Or at least a bit messy. Or... a lot messy. I had egg whites all over the place! I guess I need to work on my folding skills a bit more. But I was able to get it all mixed and into the pan without deflating my whites too much.
35 minutes in the oven and an hour of cooling on the tube pan's legs and it's all done! My cake came out beautifully golden, and really moist and fluffy. Perfectly light with just the right amount of subtle sweetness. The angel food cake was simply divine. With a dollop of whipped cream, some plump strawberries, and a drizzle of chocolate, it was truly a cake worthy of heavenly creatures.
I can't wait for St. Patrick's Day next week! I've been testing out a few different cupcake recipes to see which one I like the best, so hopefully the Irish will pass along some of their luck, and I'll end up with some very tasty treats to show you! By the way-- would you believe I have about 190 cookie cutters.. and not a single shamrock? And do you know how hard it is to find a shamrock cookie cutter a week and a half before St. Patrick's Day! All I can find is Easter now! Apparently I should have been buying them before Valentine's Day..
Now onto figuring out what I'm going to do with all of these.