I used to say I didn’t like Angel food cake. Then I got the book a Perfect scoop made tons of ice cream and ended up with a bowl of egg whites and no idea how to use them all. My searches turned up Angel food cake as an option to use up egg white but all I could remember was a cake with the texture of insulation foam.
Eventually, I gave in and tried a recipe for Angel food cake in a book called Moosewood Restaurants Book of Desserts. OMG what a revelation, Angel food cake doesn’t have the texture of foam, it’s actually light and airy and flavorful. I had missed out on a great desert option for all these years. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to make up for it.
Below is the recipe I have made over and over from Baking Bites, the original name is the Best Angel Food Cake but I can’t judge having stopped at this version, if you haven’t tried making Angel food in a while go ahead and try it out. If you don’t know what to do with the egg yolks try the chocolate truffle tart. Any excuse for making either works for me.
Angel Food Cake
adapted slightly from The Best Recipe
1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large), room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar and the cake flour. Set aside.
Beat egg whites until frothy, then add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until fully incorporated then add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar 1-2 tablespoons at a time. When sugar has been added, beat egg whites to soft peaks. You will know when you have soft peaks because the egg whites will look like soft waves and when you lift the beaters, the peaks will droop back down into the batter. If your batter is falling in ribbons, it is not quite down. Don’t be afraid to slow down the mixer and check a few times as you get close. Do not beat all the way to stiff peaks. Once you have soft peaks, add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat for a few seconds to evenly distribute.
Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites in 6-8 additions (depending on your skill with folding flour into egg whites) and gently fold it in after each addition. It is better to take your time and do it gently than to rush and deflate the egg whites.
Spoon batter into an ungreased 9 inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Smooth the top with a spatula and tap the pan on the counter once or twice to make sure that there are no large bubbles lurking beneath the surface.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove from oven and invert pan over a bottle. Allow to cool completely or overnight.
Gently run a thin knife around the sides, then around the bottom, of the pan to release the cake when you are ready to serve it.