Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Angel Food Cake - or wrestling with silicone

Just in time for the warmer weather and an extended strawberry/raspberry season!

Yes, this doesn't look perfect, and yes it was frustrating to make, but it was so good! Perfect with some sliced strawberries.

I did make a few mistakes with this recipe, however. I bought an individual angel food cake form a while ago. This was the first time I used it. It's silicone, and holds 6 mini cakes, which is perfect, since the recipe I found on joyofbaking.com perfectly fits into these tins.

Getting them out, however, proved to be a struggle. As suggested for a full size angel food cake, I let it cook upside down. I put this on a baking rack, and it rested for over an hour. It was rather difficult to get out of the pan. I only ended up sacrificing one, but there were 2 more that were in tact, but a bit squished. Well, they all were a bit squished, but 2 were more than the others. The easiest way I found is to try to turn the mold almost inside out, without squishing the cake. Yea, told you it wasn't easy...

This recipe, however, is great. It's not too sweet, and has just the right amount of every ingredient. I mentioned earlier I got it from Joyofbaking.com - I just slightly modified it by changing the extracts. I don't really care for much almond extract, so I use vanilla only when making this for strawberries.

It's very important you use room temperature egg whites. It makes a HUGE difference. If you fold your ingredients in on the last step and lose a lot of volume, your egg whites were way too cold. Or, you are an overmixer, but that is another story. If I had to list the top two things that contribute to angel food cake failures, I would list not using room temperature egg whites on that list - the other one is making sure your bowl is clean and dry, and there is NO FAT anywhere close to your batter - not on the pan, not on your spatulas, not in your bowl.

Before I give you the recipe, I also want to mention one thing - a great way to make the strawberries to go on the top. I love to slice 2/3 of the strawberries, and mash the rest. It gives you a few textures and maximizes the strawberriness. I add a little sugar - not a lot, but always to taste, a pinch of salt (kosher salt or sea salt), and a few tablespoons of orange liquer or orange juice. I think the orange provides an excellent boost to the strawberries as well. If you are looking for something more savory, you can add cassis or balsamic vinegar.

Angel Food Cake

1 1/2 c. cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
12 large egg whites, or about 12 eggs worth, at room temperature
1 t. cream of tarter
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 T. lemon juice (you can use any citrus here, really)
2 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Have a 10" tube pan or 6-8 individual angel food cake pans ready. You can also bake this in 2 loaf pans if you prefer loaf cake.

In a very clean bowl, begin whipping the egg whites with a whisk attachment to your mixer. Whisk until lightly foamy. While whisking, add cream of tarter, salt, and lemon juice. Continue whipping until soft peaks form. Once soft peaks have been reached, continue whipping and add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 T. at a time, making sure sugar is fully incorporated. Add vanilla.

With a spatula or a balloon whisk, fold sifted flour and remaining sugar gently into the batter. It's best to fold about 1/4 of the dry ingredients into the batter at a time. Be very careful not to deflate your egg whites.

Gently place into pans, and smooth the tops. Place in the oven. Bake individual cakes for about 35 minutes, and large cake for 45 minutes. Cakes are done when the top lightly springs back when touched. Do not overbake. Remove from oven.

It's best to cool the cake upside down - the large cake resting on a bottle, the smaller cakes resting upside down on cooling racks. Don't worry, chances are they won't fall out.

1 comment:

  1. Angel food cake looks yum! I've never tried silicon baking pans, but I battled enough getting sticky date puddings out an ungreased muffin pan. :) Looks wonderful.