Almond Angel Food Cake

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, avoiding grocery stores and drug stores, and ignoring all sorts of social media, you know Mother’s Day just passed. If you weren’t aware of that and you missed it, then perhaps you should save yourself the desperation and guilt, and consider a culinary treat for your mum rather than fighting to find a lame gift and card on clearance. Lucky for me, my mother, or Momma or Moogle (who needs a Google when you have a Moogle?) as I affectionately refer to her as, prefers thoughtful treats and ideas over flowers and candy.

I attempted to make her favorite dishes-a delicious mac and cheese with spinach, smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, and a little parmesan with an angel food cake for dessert. Unfortunately I attempted to make the mac and cheese at 11:00 at night after a very long day, and rather than adding flour to make a roux for the cheese sauce, I added confectioner’s sugar. Needless to say that, while edible, the pasta didn’t come out quite as creamy and delicious as planned. The angel food cake though was a different story. I honestly thought it would be tricky to make the light and fluffy cake, which I planned to serve with a strawberry compote and fresh whipped cream, but the end result was worth the effort and the less-than-fabulous dinner. I may not be the greatest cook in the world (or perhaps I just shouldn’t attempt to cook a meal when I’m exhausted and have been going nonstop for 18 hours…), but I sure can make one heck of a dessert. 😉

Onto angel food cake…it’s more simple than you can imagine, but in order to get the right texture, you need to have patience and time. It involves more than having the right ingredients and the right measurements. You need to use baking knowledge and experience to judge texture and timing also, especially when making the meringue, which is the base of the cake. Whipping meringue is similar to whipping whipped cream, but it takes twice as long for the right chemical reaction to happen so runny egg whites turn into soft fluff. If the meringue isn’t the right texture, the angel food cake won’t turn out quite so angelic so it’s important to get it right. My best suggestion is to ensure that the egg whites are at room temperature and follow the recipe for additional ingredients exactly, and be patient. Egg whites may look frothy nearly immediately, but they won’t turn to meringue for several minutes.

Meringue with soft peaks

Meringue with stiff peaks

Think of it this way: if your egg whites look and feel like  you can throw them on a sandwich with peanut butter, then they’re ready to use in your batter.

My next bit of advice goes against most things you’ve ever heard about baking cakes-do NOT grease your pan. Angel food is so delicate that if you grease the pan, your cake will come out greasy and hard rather than light and fluffy. Cool it in the pan for 20-30 minutes before attempting to remove the pan, and it should maintain its shape nicely.

I made this cake with an almond extract, but if you’re not crazy about almond, feel free to replace it with vanilla extract for a more traditional taste. Enjoy!

Almond Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Compote and Whipped Cream

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes one 10″ fluted tube pan

  • 12 large egg whites (actual egg whites, not out of a carton please)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla if you prefer, or orange if you’re really daring)
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 non-stick 10″ fluted tube pan
  • Baking sheet
  • Strawberry compote (recipe to follow)
  • Whipped cream (recipe to follow)

How to Do It

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Let the egg whites stand and get to room temperature. Add the cream of tartar and salt.
  2. Beat the egg whites until frothy, and begin gradually adding the sugar 2 Tbsp at time until stiff and glossy peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. When the meringue is finished, it should resemble the photo above.
  3. Gently fold the cake flour into the egg whites in two additions until completely incorporated. Be careful not to deflate the meringue, but be sure that the flour is not still in dry clumps.
  4. Spoon the batter into the tube pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the cake has risen very high and is lightly browned and cracked. Remove from the oven, and immediately invert the cake onto a baking sheet to cool. Cool completely before attempting to remove from the pan.

Gently fold in the flour

Recipe adapted from Recipebridge.com.

Strawberry Compote

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes approximately 1 cup

  • 1 1/2 pint strawberries, washed, dried, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Small saucepan
  • Food processor or blender

How to Do It

  1. Combine 1 pt strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the strawberries are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool.
  2. When the syrup is cool, place it in a food processor or blender, and puree. Add the remaining strawberries, and mix (not puree) well so there are still large pieces of strawberry in the syrup.

Recipe adapted from Food.com.

Whipped Cream

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes approximately 2 cups

  • 12 oz heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

How to Do It

  1. Begin whipping the cream on low speed in a stand mixer or with a sturdy hand mixer. Add the sugar and cream cheese, and increase the speed to high. Add the cream thickens and begins to form soft peaks, add the vanilla, and continue to whip until it thickens. If you need more tips on making whipped cream, check out this.

Comments

  1. Best angel food cake I’ve ever tasted – Steph’s mom (aka moogle)

  2. Great recipe, thanks for sharing! =)

Trackbacks

  1. […] season. I stumbled on this lemon-vanilla pound cake recipe when I was searching for ideas for Mother’s Day, and I scribbled a little note on it that said “blueberry compote or strawberry?”. I […]

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