Well, after making Chai Tea Ice cream a few days ago, I was left with an abundance of egg whites. When I think of having lots of leftover egg whites, I think of making two things. Meringues, or angel food cake. Now, I have nothing against meringues, but they can be finicky. Whether you want crunchy meringues, or soft meringues, everyone has their own opinion. (I actually prefer a soft meringue on top of a pie – Paul likes meringues that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.) Either way, it has been a long time since I have made an angel food cake.
If you are not familiar with angel food cake, (and you should be!) it is a light and fluffy cake that gets its texture from the egg whites whipped into the beginnings of a meringue, then folded into the dry ingredients. One of the best ways to eat angel food cake is with whipped cream and strawberries.
If you have leftover egg whites, or feel like going to get a carton of egg whites, try making some angel food cake. From-scratch anything is usually better than store bought, and angel food cake is no exception. Store-bought angel food cake is similar to sweetened edible styrofoam. If you are going to eat angel food cake, trust me, do yourself a favour, and make it from scratch. I promise you will not be disappointed!
I say a couple things as well! When I make angel food cake, I use a bundt tube pan. However, if you can find a flat 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom, snatch it up while you can! I have a tube pan with a removable bottom, but it is only 8 inches, so it is not big enough to fit the cake. Make sure you use a 10-inch pan, because the cake does expand quite a bit.
Lastly, the original recipe, found here, specifies to use cake flour. I have already told all of my dear readers that I do not normally buy cake flour. In the recipe, I substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour and sift the dry ingredients a couple more times, and it has always worked for me! Good luck!
Yield: 1 10-inch cake
1¼ c. cake flour (or all purpose – see above note)
1¾ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1½ c. egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Repeat five times (if using all purpose flour, repeat seven times). I use two bowls and a fine metal sieve to sift ingredients together.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until light and frothy. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and beat until eggs form medium-stiff peaks (they should be almost stiff – but still have soft points, not sharp points).
Add the egg white mixture to the dry mixture, and gently fold in the egg whites to the dry mixture. Do not use a mixer or beater! Use a spatula. If you are too aggressive, the cake will not rise properly. Transfer the mixed batter to an ungreased tube or bundt pan.
Place the cake in a cold oven, and turn the oven to 325°F. Bake for about an hour, or until the cake is an even, golden brown. Invert the cake on a cooling rack, and allow it to cool completely before removing from the pan.
Slice and serve with fresh whipped cream and strawberries.
**I did recommend using a tube pan with a removable bottom because angel food cakes can be stubborn when it comes to taking them out of the pan. Use a tube pan with a removable bottom if it is big enough, but bundt pans are okay as well. Whatever you do, though, do not grease or spray the pan! The cooking spray can actually stop the cake from rising as much as it should – the meringue mixture needs to grip the sides of the pan so that it will rise to a beautiful, lofty cake.
My advice is this: it can be done with a bundt pan, but be patient when you go to take the cake out of the pan. I use a butter knife, and run it slowly around the edges of the cake pan. It will not come out perfectly, but that is why you wait until the cake is completely cooled. Take your time, and the cake will come out of the pan eventually, I promise you this!**