In the midst of prep for my wedding at the end of this month (did I mention I’m making my own wedding cake AND the entire dessert table? Yes, I am just that crazy), I also agreed to make a birthday cake for a close friend’s awesome mom, who dearly loves my baking.
Because once again, yes, I am just that crazy.
After the mom and I had an Inigo Montoya-style chat about what historically constitutes a “strawberry shortcake”, versus what people tend to think it means today, I did some thinking, some questioning my friend as to what cake flavours, textures, and densities her mum likes the best, and some good-old google-fu. I decided that what would probably be most appreciated was a vanilla angel food cake, torted and filled with sliced fresh market strawberries and a stabilized Chantilly cream for both filling and frosting.
Now, the last time I made an angel food cake from scratch, I was in pastry school, and the recipe made four at a time. So, it was time to research a good quality, foolproof recipe from a chef I could trust, since I really didn’t want to waste so much product on an iffy recipe.
There are few TV personality chefs I trust more than Alton Brown, and this time was no exception. Brown’s extremely well-researched Angel Food Cake recipe turned out perfectly; so well, in fact, that my notorious habit of tweaking every recipe I use to personalize it more to my tastes was quiescent…I simply could not think of a single change to his AFC recipe that would have improved it an iota, it’s just that good.
So without further ado, here is the recipe for the best angel food cake out there. My only recommendation is that you follow it TO THE LETTER, as this cake can be incredibly persnickety and will likely fail on you if you deviate from the recipe! (No pressure).
Source: Good Eats; Episode “Let Them Eat Foam (Angel Food Cake)”; host Alton Brown
Yield: 10 servings
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cake flour, sifted
- 12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice
- 1 1/2 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, orange 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 tube pan.
Bake for 35 minutes before checking 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 cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.
Cook’s Note: Since they’re easier to separate use the freshest eggs you can get.
Per Serving (based on 10 servings): Calories: 208; Total Fat: 0 grams; Saturated Fat: 0 grams; Protein: 5 grams; Total carbohydrates: 47 grams; Sugar: 36 grams; Fiber: 0 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 115 milligrams