I finally checked the angel food cake off my “baking bucket list”. My long-running excuse for not making this cake was that I didn't have a tube pan. Then I bought a tube pan at one of the local kitchen stores, let it sit in the cabinet for months. Literally so long that I couldn’t return it, only to find out that I bought the wrong pan! For this recipe you need an aluminum tube pan that is NOT non-stick and has stilts. Fun fact, most tube pans are NON-stick.
Angel Food Cake Technique:
Tube pan aside, I am generally hesitant to make cakes where the only reasons it will rise depends on the eggs and technique. Cracking 1 dozen eggs and separating them? Easy. Knowing when things are at soft peaks or stiff peaks? Not my wheelhouse. You can obviously make this with a hand mixer, but this is where the stand mixer is worth the counter space it takes up. I sometimes imagine what my grandmother would think of all of my kitchen gadgets-- when she likely whipped those egg whites with an actual whisk and super forearm strength.
Once you beat the egg whites then you have to carefully fold in the flour and try your damndest to gently incorporate the flour and not knock out all of the bubbles that you just whipped into the egg whites.
Once you get the cake into the ungreased pan, bake it for 45-50 minutes. Take care to bake completely through, because a slightly underdone angel food cake will sort of feel wet. You want to know how I know that? Yep. The first one I made should have stayed in the oven for another 3-5 minutes. While the cake tasted good, it was sort of squishy -- which is what you don’t want. On the second attempt, I left the cake in for a full 50 minutes, and was rewarded when I sliced the cake.
The other fun thing about making an angel food cake is that it cools upside down. For 2 hours. Upside down. Guess who didn’t have stilts on her tube pan? This girl. So I had to get creative. Thanks Kikkoman. 🙂
Why would anyone go through this insane process?
Well, you make an angel food cake from scratch is you want to know what eating a cloud feels like. You think you know angel food cake-- because you bought some package from the grocery store. Fresh angel food cake>>>>> Store bought. Every single time.
What to do with all those eggs yolks?!?!
I made a batch of lemon curd, which was amazing on top of the angel food cake and topped with whipped cream. You could also make a custard based ice cream or pastry cream to go with the eclairs that are hanging out on your bucket list...Print
Angel Food Cake
adapted from Stella Parks’ Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 5 ounces cake flour (sifted (seriously, sift the flour!))
- 2 cups/ 15 ounces egg white (approximately 1 dozen egg whites)
- 2 cups/15 ounces granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF
- Sift the flour (sift it real good!)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with hand mixer) fitted with the whisk attachment, combine together the egg whites, sugar and vanilla
- Whip on low speed, about 1 minute.
- Increase the speed to medium low and whip for 3-4 more minutes. The egg whites should look really dense.
- Add the lemon juice followed by the salt.
- Mix on medium for 3 more minutes.
- Increase the speed yet again to high and whip for 3 minutes.
- After the last three minutes the egg whites should be at “soft peaks” : the egg whites runs slowly of the whisk, but still retains some body.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Sprinkle in the flour evenly over the mixer. Stir gently with a flexible spatula to dissolve the flour and then switch to a folding method. Fold the eggs whites and flour together until the no flour remains.
- Pour the batter into a 10 inch tube pan.
- Bake for 45-48 minutes, until the cake has a golden crust and has risen to the rim of the pan.
- Cool inverted immediately. If your cake pan has stilts, use them, otherwise get creative. Cool upside down for 2 hours until no warmth remains.
- After the two hours is up, turn the cake right side up and loosen the cake from the pan. Invert onto a serving plate. Cut with a serrated knife.
- Serve topped with fresh berries and whipped cream.
- The angel food cake wrapped in plastic wrap can last for 1 week at room temperature.