Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Angel Food Cake

Steve's birthday was this past weekend and we celebrated it with a lot of rich, fancy food.  His favorite dessert is Angel Food Cake so that's what I made for dessert.  His mom and Grandma's make it regularly but it was my first time.  I got my recipe from Cook's Illustrated and followed it to a T because from just reading the directions it sounded like there was a lot that could possible go wrong.

There are only 8 ingredients but you really have to make sure to follow the directions to get the desired outcome.

Angel Food Cake
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sifted granulated sugar
12 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and heat to 325 degrees.  Prepare a ungreased large tube pan, preferably with a removable bottom.  If the bottom isn't removable, line it with parchment paper.
The cake cooling on the wine bottle. 

In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 3/4 cup sugar.  Put the rest of the sugar, 3/4 cup, in a different small bowl next to the mixer.  In a large bowl, or the bowl of the standing mixer, beat the egg whites at a low speed until just broken and beginning to froth.  Add the cream of tartar and salt.  Beat at medium speed until the egg whites are very soft, billowy mounds.  With the mixer still at medium speed add in 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the egg whites are shiny and form soft peaks.  Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and almond extract and beat until just blended.

Place the flour sugar mixture in a sifter set over parchment paper.  Sift over the egg whites about 3 tablespoons at a time and gently fold in with a large rubber spatula.  Sift any flour or sugar that is on the paper into the bowl with the egg whites.

Gently scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.  Bang the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles.

Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly.

If the cake pan has prongs around the rim invert the pan onto them.  If not, invert the pan over the neck of a bottle so that the air can circulate all around it.  Let the cake cook for about 2 to 3 hours before serving.

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