Classic Angel Food Cake from scratch and some memories of very special people and their baking equipment ~~
For my husband’s birthday he requested an Angel Food Cake. It’s one of his favorite desserts, partly because he has fond childhood memories of his Grandma’s homemade Angel Food Cake. I served it this time with Chocolate Espresso Sauce find the recipe here. It’s great with strawberries or jam as well.
We finally got to celebrate his birthday with his family (only about a month late). And that means I finally got to make the cake. I’ll be honest, I’ve made about 3 Angel Food Cakes in my life. Each one has turned out great. Light, fluffy, pretty, tasty. But, I’m always a wee bit nervous. What if I don’t do it right? What if a mess it up? And, yet, that has never happened. I guess they aren’t as hard as I think they might be. I know my husband would say that means I just need to make them more often! For this recipe, I used Alton Brown’s version.
Angel Food Cake Recipe
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- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain salt
- 1 cup cake flour, sifted
- 12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a food processor, spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt and the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
- In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
- Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased Angel Food Cake tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes, and check for doneness with a wooden skewer (when inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).
- Cool upside down on a glass bottle or a cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.
I’m honored and privileged to have been given some very special baking supplies. First, I have my husband’s Grandma’s Angel Food Cake pan. It means so much to him that I have it, take good care of it, and actually use it. I think it’s awesome when he takes the cake around and shows it to guests and proclaims that it’s Grandma’s cake pan with a from scratch Angel Food Cake, just like the ones Grandma used to make. Then, he and his brother tell stories of how, when they were kids they would go to Grandma’s and spend the whole summer in her pool. They had to walk through Grandma’s kitchen to get to the pool, and if Grandma had baked a cake, it would be on the kitchen counter cooling. Of course, it was upside down on a glass 7-up bottle to cool, so they would sneak little bites of the crust out from under the cake pan as they walked by. It’s so awesome to think that I’m helping to carry on these memories and traditions from their family.
This second piece of heirloom equipment, the cake cover, that I have that’s very special to me is from my dearly departed friend, Lou. Before he passed away, Lou, who was in his 90’s gave me a box of baking equipment. He told me that his dad was a baker, and that he would like me to have these things because he knew I would use them. I do use, them, and they mean the world to me. Not only because they are great pieces of equipment, but that special people have entrusted me with their family memories. I am truly honored by their trust and their love.