There’s no cake that is quite as summer-y as a slice of light and spongy Angel Food cake topped with fresh sliced berries and a big ole dollop of whipped cream. That cake is so tender and moist and the berries so sweet and refreshing, it raises your mood to a more transcendental level and could almost make you forget how utterly swampy it is outside. I had never attempted to make one at home, always being somewhat intimidated for unknown reasons. Not to mention that I knew, come every May, the local grocer would have Angel Food cakes stacked nearly up to the celestial host they were named after. I rationalized my fear away by thinking -Why should I bother – it would be silly to spend all that time at home making one when I could just pick one up at the store and be done with it. Those store-bought cakes always taste pretty good right? Hmmmmm…..I thought so, until I went ahead and made one at home and found that I was definitely mistaken. Once I took a bite of a homemade Angle Food cake I realized that the store-bought ones were a bit more akin to sweetened styrofoam than I had ever known. Yup….homemade is entirely superior. And I found out that it really was not nearly as difficult to make this classic summer cake as I had previous imagined.
Now that being said, there are a few things to keep in mind. This cake is mostly egg whites with a little flour added in to help set the structure. So you want to make sure those egg whites whip up fully. To ensure this, your mixing bowl must be clean and free from any oils and not one little bit of egg yolk can be allowed to sneak into your separated egg whites. Once the cake batter is all whipped together, you want to spoon it into a tube pan which has not been greased. The batter will cling and climb up the sides allowing it to rise higher. Once the cake has finished baking, here is the part that completely freaked me out – you have to turn it upside down and leave it inverted to cool. You see, the egg whites are the things that give this cake the rise and until they cool down, the structure is not set and could collapse under the weight of itself. Once I removed what seemed to be a perfect cake from the oven, I just stood there staring at it. I had horrible visions that the second I inverted it, it would crash out onto the counter into a big heap of crumbs. But finally I took a deep breath and just flipped it right on over. All was fine. It just hung upside down there for about 2 hours. The result was this lovely spongy texture. Moist and airy and not too sweet. Perfectly complemented by the sweet fresh berries and cream. Quite heavenly indeed! So if you find yourself with a bunch of extra egg whites this summer, like maybe after you’ve made a big old batch of ice cream, try your hand at a homemade Angel Food Cake. Dare I say you’ll find it…well, divine!
Angel Food Cake with Fresh Berries & Whipped Cream
recipe slightly adapted from: Completely Delicious
- 1 cup cake flour (113 grams)
- 1 2/3 cup (333 grams) superfine sugar, divided (can substitute granulated sugar if you don’t have superfine)
- 1 3/4 cup egg whites (will take 12 -13 eggs depending on their size)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)
- confectioners sugar for dusting
- Fresh sliced berries – whatever is in season – for serving
- Whipped Cream for topping
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Sift the flour three times, then add 2/3 cup of the sugar and sift again.
Beat the egg whites on low-speed until frothy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and continue to beat until they just begin to form soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar – only adding 2 tablespoons at a time – and beat until the egg white /sugar mixture holds soft peaks. Beat in the vanilla paste.
Here you want to work quickly, but with a gentle hand. Sift the flour mixture over the whipped egg white mixture in 4 additions, gently folding in each addition by hand until it is just incorporated before adding the next.
Spoon into an ungreased 10×4″ tube pan. Rap the pan on the counter a few times to release any bubble and smooth the top before popping it into the oven
Bake cake for approximately 1 1/4 hours, or until it is spongy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Here comes the scary part….If your pan is a true angel food cake pan and has little feet around the top edges, flip the pan upside down onto a flat surface and let it cool undisturbed for 2 hours. If your pan does not have feet, simply invert it over the neck of a bottle.
Once cool, use a thing knife to gently cut around the edges of the pan to release the cake.
Dust top of cake with confectioners sugar.
Slice cake with a serrated knife, using a gently sawing motion (this cake is delicate and will smoosh easily) and serve with sliced fresh berries and whipped cream.
Angel Food Cake with Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)