Ever since I was little, angel food cake has been my favorite cake of all. Light, fluffy, just sweet enough, it lends itself to all kinds of toppings. Strawberries macerated in Grand Marnier. Butterscotch sauce. Frosting. Lemon glaze. Yum. In fact, my wedding cakes were angel food with a selection of choose-your-own toppings.
It is cold outside. I’m in need of a little happy-memories comfort food. That, and we now have six chickens and an over-abundance of eggs. Clearly, time for angel food cake.
Apologies for this photo: We ended up eating the whole cake except for this last little raggedy piece before I remembered to take a picture. (It’s that good.)
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
1 ½ cups egg whites at room temperature (12-15 eggs, depending on egg size)
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
Thanks for the eggs, Babs (blue eggs), Agatha (dark speckled eggs), Jinx, Bubbles, and Fran! And thanks to Roo also, for over-zealous flock protection.
10-inch tube pan
Wire whip for your mixer
Cute little chicken egg separator, if you don’t want to get your hands messy. You can find an inexpensive, similar one on Amazon here.
I usually separate the eggs individually into the small dish before transferring to the measuring cup—just in case I have a yolk break on me. I don’t want to ruin the rest of the whites. And, separate your eggs when they’re cold, then let them stand and come to room temperature for about an hour. They’ll whip better. Those extra egg yolks? Make a pound cake…or hollandaise…or pudding!
How to Make It:
Mix the flour and ½ cup of the sugar in a bowl and set it aside.
Place the egg whites in your mixer bowl. You’re going to use your wire whip attachment to mix, not your regular flat beater.
Gradually turn the mixer to a medium high speed (on my KitchenAid, I go to speed 6) and whip until the egg whites are frothy: not too long, just 30 seconds to a minute.
Add the cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Turn your mixer to high (speed 8 on my mixer) and whip until the egg whites are almost stiff, but not dry. 2-2 ½ minutes, tops.
Drop to a low speed (speed 2 on my mixer) and gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix for 1 minute. Stop and scrape the bowl with a spatula.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Spoon your flour-sugar mixture ¼ at a time over the egg whites. Fold it in very gently with a spatula, just until blended. Don’t go crazy stirring, here: fold gently. You don’t want to lose your volume.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Take a knife and gently cut through the batter to break up any air pockets.
Bake at 375 F until the crust is golden brown and cracks are very dry. This takes about 35 minutes. As soon as it is done, remove from oven and invert it onto a bottle. You want to cool it upside down so it doesn’t collapse. Don’t worry! It won’t fall out! (Well, not as long as you didn’t grease the pan.) Cool completely and remove from the pan.
Eat it plain or go crazy with your toppings! And yes, there’s no photo of me with the whole cake because we ate it before I remembered to photograph it. Next time I make one, which will probably be in a week or so given our crazy egg production, I’ll update with a finished product photo!