Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake

This delicate, airy, masterpiece really doesn't deserve to be called a cake. A cake is dense and heavy, this is about as far from that as you can get. Although it takes a little extra care to craft, it is actually quite easy, fairly healthy (for a cake) and very rewarding to share. This recipe is courtesy of the great and powerful Alton Brown, with some changes (like adding weight measurements) that I'm sure he would approve of.

easy light and fluffy angel food cake

Angel food cake is a very unique cake because of its lack of any fat additions. The cake is only made up of a protein from the egg whites, which are whipped in to a meringue and added to a flour and sugar mixture. There are few very important tricks to remember when making this cake that will ensure the fluffiest result.

1. Use room temperature eggs for the best meringue results and separate the eggs, one at a time with three containers. One for yolks, one for quarantine and the final for completely yolk free whites. This will ensure that no fat at all gets into your final mix, even the smallest fat will ruin the rise of the cake.

2. Use clean dishes and make sure no oil or butter residue is in your bowls and pans.

3. Sift your flour and sugar every time you measure or transfer it to ensure the smallest particles of both get mixed in to the meringue.

4. Do not over mix the meringue and flour mixtures.

5. Bake the cake all the way till the visible top (bottom) is lightly browned before opening. If you open the oven too early the cake could deflate.

angel food cake

12 egg whites (at room temperature)
240 g powdered sugar
128 g cake flour
1/3 cup warm water
1.5 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp orange extract (or any of your choice)
Optional 1-2 oz shaved or grated chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Sift 120 g of the powdered sugar (about 1 cup) with the cake flour (about 1 cup) and salt, then mix and set aside. In another bowl, add the carefully separated the egg whites ensuring no yolk makes it in. Add the tartar, salt and extract to the egg whites and whisk by hand until combined. Sift half of the remaining sugar into the whites and begin to beat on medium speed with a hand mixer. You can do this without one but it will take some serious time and energy.

This is the most important step of the process so take care to slowly add the remaining sugar and beat the whites until a beautiful foam and then fluff appears. You're looking for medium peaks. You'll know you've got them when you take the beaters out and gently turn them towards the ceiling and the meringue that is on them will form a curled peak. It won't be perfectly stiff but stable enough to hold its shape. The below image is what it may look like in the bowl; any further and they would be too stiff and eventually destabilize.

Once the meringue is ready, sift 1/3 of the flour and sugar mixture on top of the airy pile of fluff. To combine, gently cut through the middle with a large spatula, scoop and fold over while making a quarter turn. Do this three more times then dust the top with half the remaining flour and repeat. Do this again with the remainder of the flour and mix as before. If you are adding the shaved chocolate, you would do it during this time in batches along with the flour.

angel food cake mix

Ever so gently distribute the mixture into your completely clean and grease free cake pan. Carefully place it in the oven and leave it be for 30 minutes. If the visible part of the cake looks lightly browned, open the oven and test for doneness with a skewer, if it comes out just about clean, you're good! Carefully flip the pan over and let the cake cook upside down for an hour. Remove from the pan by sliding a thin knife around the edges, then remove the bottom of the pan the same way.

This cake can be paired with just about anything, so go wild! I actually enjoy it plain and with my hands, so I can revel in its cloud-like wonderfulness. Some macerated strawberries and fresh whipped cream on top is pretty fantastic as well!