Yield: one 10-inch angel food cake
“Back to Baking”, pp. 154
I quickly discovered that after making crème brûlées, there is the inevitable “problem” of having 6-8 leftover egg whites. What is one to do with 8 egg whites? is the question I asked myself after having made and devoured last week’s dessert. It suddenly came to me that I had once stumbled upon in this wonderful cookbook a recipe for angel food cake, which requires a lot of egg whites! This is the simple story of why I decided to make an angel food cake for my friend’s baby shower.
- 1 ¼ cups egg whites (about 9 egg whites), at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup fruit sugar (also known as quick-dissolve or castor sugar)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup cake and pastry flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
As many other things thus far, I had never had or even less made angel food cake, but I knew that it is meant to be snow white. Indeed it was! This cake was pretty simple to make, although I did face an internal dilemma when I read the recipe, which emphasized the fact that the pan used needs to be ungreased. I read this line in the recipe 3-4 times thinking “Ungreased? What is this sorcery?!”. Never had I ever baked something in an ungreased pan. But I went ahead and trusted Anna’s recipe. Now, I think this was partly my fault because since I didn’t have a proper angel food cake pan, I used my bundt cake pan… and the cake got stuck all over the ungreased pan. I assume and choose to believe that it would not have happened if I had used the proper pan. Nonetheless, this cake was delicious!! It was fluffy, light and a touch of sweetness but nothing too sweet, and just a perfect little bite of cake to munch on. It needs no frosting or coverage, it’s that good on its own.
P.S. I had that hardest time finding “fruit sugar” in my supermarket. It is also known as “instant dissolve sugar” or “sugar to be used with fruit” or some such thing. Essentially, what you want is superfine sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Using an stand or hand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until they are foamy.
- While whipping, slowly add ½ cup of the fruit sugar and whip until the whites hold a stiff peak (i.e. the whipped whites will stand upright when the beaters are lifted).
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift two times the flour, the remaining ½ cup fruit sugar and the baking powder.
- Fold in the flour mixture into the whites in 3 equal additions, folding gently but rapidly. Scrape the batter into a 10-inch ungreased angel food pan and bake the cake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake springs back when gently pressed.
- Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven, turn the pan upside down, until the cake has cooled completely.
Notes from Anna:
- The use of fruit sugar is crucial in this recipe since it it a finer grind than regular granulated sugar and dissolves more readily into the egg whites as they are whipped. This results in a delicate and tender cake.