Friday, June 25, 2010

Angel Food Cake

Nothing reminds me more of summer than desserts that incorporate berries - angel food cake with fresh strawberries, strawberry shortcake, blueberry pie...mmm. I've actually never made an angel food cake, but I already had a tube pan from a couple birthdays ago when my sister made one and brought it down to New York for me. After a bit of research, I decided to go with Alton Brown's recipe.

1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine (**you can buy superfine sugar if you don't have a food processor**). Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.

In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, extract, and cream of tartar. (I used vanilla extract.)

After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks...

...sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan.

Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).

Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

Easy, right? Well, I somehow managed to mess it up. Once I put the cake in the oven and put the timer on, I closed out of the window on my computer with the recipe. I mean, put the cake in the oven, wait until it's cooked, and you're done - right? Wrong. I missed that whole "Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour" part. So this happened:

And, subsequently this:

UGH. So mad. What an easy last direction it was to follow and I totally missed it, and as you can see the cake fell. Actually, one side of it fell which shows me that next time I need to rotate the cake halfway through to make sure it cooks evenly. I also could have probably mixed the batter a little longer to get bigger peaks, but I don't think that was the main problem. Up until that point, the cake was fairly easy to make. It does require more attention and care than a regular white cake with icing since you have a lot of egg whites to work with, but it wasn't bad. But that stupid last direction is haunting me. It's like finding out you got a bad grade on a test because you accidentally didn't complete part of it. Moving on...

The cake still tasted great, it was just a little more dense than it should be. So not a complete loss, but I guarantee next time I make it I won't forget that last step.


  1. Whoa... You're a true arteeeest, my friend. I think this looks like heaven. Ssswonderful! You're amazing. Keri a.k.a. Sam

  2. It's always a shame when your cakes turn out the wrong way, but it still looks really yummy! Well done.