August 11, 2011

Angel Food Cake

It was my mother-in-law's birthday in June and we missed her birthday by almost two months because we were in Europe.  To celebrate her belated birthday (at least we called her this year, we've missed a few of them in the past!) I made her an angel food cake, something she is rumored to love.  It took me three weeks to save up enough egg whites.  Every time we'd use an egg yolk we'd add the white to the jar in the freezer.  In total this recipe takes 14.  Ice cream uses 4-6 egg yolks per batch and mayo uses 1 or 2.  Sometimes we add en extra yolk to an omelette, but in the end we got there.

Angel food cake is a perfect summer cake to me.  It's light and fluffy with a nice fresh flavour.  Cook up some berries, or really any summer fruit with sugar, lemon and a splash of Kirsch and you'll have yourself a knock-out treat. Indulge as necessary.

Angel Food Cake

If you use the same system, and even if you don't, take (or separate) the eggs whites out of the freezer a few hours before you need them, the recipe call for the whites to be at room temperature.  

Recipe from adapted from Bon Appetit

Cake Ingredients:
150 g (1 1/4 cups) sifted cake flour, sifted then measured
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
14 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
333g (1 2/3 cup) sugar

Sauce Ingredients:
12 oz strawberries, sliced fresh or frozen
12 oz blueberries, fresh or frozen
66 g (1/3 cup) sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp Kirsch

Preheat oven to 300 F and place rack in the center.  Sift the flour into a medium bowl.  Mix vanilla and almond extract, lemon juice into a small bowl.  In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer) whisk the egg whites on medium speed until they become frothy, add the cream of tartar and salt.  Whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar 1/3 cup at a time, continuing to beat until peaks are stiff but not dry.  Fold in the extract/lemon mixture.  Sift the flour over the eggs in 4 separate batches folding gently after each addition.

Spoon the batter into an ungreased (very important) 10 inch-diameter angel food cake pan with a removable bottom.  Bake the cake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and springy to touch.  As soon as you take the cake from the oven invert the center tube over the neck of a narrow bottle and cool completely. (This is so the cake won't shrink while cooling.  Inverting stretches the proteins and starches.)  Using a sharp knife cut around the sides of the pan to loosen.  I store the cake in the pan covered with a clean towel, it keeps for a few days but is best eaten the first day.

To make the sauce stir the berries, sugar and lemon juice over medium heat.  Cook for a few minutes while the berries break down.  No more than 10 minutes is necessary.  Add the kirsch and take off the heat.  Serve warm or cool.

Serve a slice of cake with freshly whipped cream and berry sauce.

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