Friday, February 1, 2008

Angel Food Cake

I've never been wild about angel food cake. But it's one of the "Basic Master Recipes" in The Fannie Farmer Baking Book that my father-in-law gave me for Christmas, so I decided to give it a try. It's fantastic - so much better than any store-bought angel food cake I've ever had. It turned out a little bit denser and sweeter than I expected, but I'm okay with that.

1 cup cake flour
1.5 cups sugar
13 egg whites
1.5 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Adjust oven rack so it's in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat to 375˚. Sift the flour and 3/4 cup sugar together three times. (I kept ending up with sugar crystals that were too big to go through my sifter.) Beat the eggs whites for a minute, until they're foamy. Add the cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt. Slowly work back up to medium speed, then very gradually add the other 3/4 cup sugar. Stop and scrape down the bowl when all the sugar has been added, then beat on medium until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Fold in the dry mixture. Pour into ungreased 10-inch tube pan and bake for 30-45 minutes. Cake is done when a tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched. Cool inverted until the pan is no longer warm.

The book recommended "White Mountain Frosting" to go with the cake. I wouldn't have thought to frost angel food cake and I have no experience with boiled frosting, but I tried it. Really, really didn't like it. It's entirely possible that I boiled the sugar syrup too long or beat the whole thing too much (or both), but the result was oddly marshmallowy. I ended up scraping as much of it off the cake as I could.

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