Angel Food Cake

While I’ver never been very interested in angel food cake, but my first attempt at making it was pretty satisfying. It reminded me a bit of cotton candy, so the kids were over the moon about it. For me it was a vehicle for the salted caramel chocolate mousse I made to go with it, a very delicious vehicle.

I read somewhere it’s better not to use frozen egg whites, but the chocolate chip cookie recipe we use leaves us with a lot of egg whites.  It was time to use them up, so out of the freezer they came. That also means I don’t have a count, but thankfully David Leibovitz called for 1 1/2 cups rather than just a count. I also used his trick (read below) for adding corn starch to ap flour when you don’t have cake flour on hand. 

Angel Food Cake from David Leibovitz (this is ripped right from the link)

  • 1 cup (130 g) cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 cup (200 g), plus 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites (from about 12 large eggs), at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Have a 9-inch (23 cm) tube pan ready. (Do not use a non-stick tube pan.)

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, begin to whip the egg whites on medium speed. When they become foamy, add the cream of tartar and lemon juice.

4. Increase the speed to high and continue to whip the egg whites until they just begin to hold their shape in soft, droopy peaks. Gradually whip the remaining 1 cup of sugar into the whites, 1/4 cup at a time. Do not overwhip; the egg whites should not be overly dry or stiff, but soft and cloud-like. At the last moment, mix in the vanilla.

5. With a rubber spatula, then fold the flour and sugar mixture into the whites gradually, a small amount at a time.

6. Spoon the batter in the tube pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the tube pan over a cooling rack. If the pan doesn’t have “feet”, set it over the neck of a heavy bottle or overturned metal funnel, using the center hole of the pan to hold the cake, until cool.

Note: Cake flour is specially milled flour and is low-gluten and slightly acidic and is stocked in most grocery stores. You can remove 2 tablespoons from 1 cup of all-purpose flour and replace it with corn starch, and sift the two together several times for a reasonable facsimile, although it’s not quite the same. In France, I use farine à pâtisserie. (Farine à gâteaux often has leavening added. You can use that if you find one without leavening in it.)

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