I have always loved reading. My childhood was filled with books, made-up stories, written stories and imaginings of all kinds. I devoured collections like Nancy Drew, Love Comes Softly, The Babysitters Club and pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I loved nothing better than reading in bed with my little night light and welcoming the sweet dopiness that reading before sleeping induces.
Many of the books I read were American and full of quintessential American references. I remember reading a lot about Twinkies and wishing I could taste one of these delicious sounding cakes. Fast forward 15 or so years and I moved to America as an Au Pair. I had a list of things I wanted to do whilst in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave – a bucket list of sorts and trying a Twinkie was one of them. Imagine my disappointment when I finally took my first bite into that until-then-elusive filled-sponge-morsel. Mock cream filling, springy artificial tasting sponge cake. Blech. Disgusting.
Perhaps it was because of that awful experience that I never got around to experiencing another all time American favourite – Angel Food Cake. In the three years I lived there, I can not once recall trying a slice. And in all the years since living there, I have wondered about it, planned to make one and wished I had a tin suitable for making one. I have actually had the tin in my cupboard for over a year now. I purchased it on sale to use for making Monkey Bread and haven’t touched it since. A couple of weeks ago I made icecream and had 6 egg whites left over. Time was when I would use eggwhites for macarons but they always seem a bit of a decadent treat, not such a ‘fill the tin’ type item, plus my Dad was coming for dinner and I thought it would be fun to finally try my hand at this cake.
It was so delicious, light, airy but with a distinctive bite, where your teeth literally sink into the cake. It turned out perfectly and although it was half the height of the typical Angel Food Cake due to the halving of the recipe – seriously, who has 12 spare egg whites? – it was more than enough for a slice each for dessert and another the following day. Being that it is Winter, we couldn’t top with strawberries which is what it is typically adorned with, but softly whipped cream and the pulp of one fresh passionfruit made each mouthful as perfect as could be.
- 1 C plain flour
- 3/4 C caster sugar
- 2 T sugar
- 12 large egg whites, MUST be room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- DO NOT GREASE PAN.
- I always use a two piece angelfood cake pan.
- Heat oven to 190°C.
- Sift the flour and 3/4 C + 2 T sugar; set aside.
- Combine the extracts in a small bowl; set aside.
- Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until it forms peaks.
- Add the other 3/4 C of sugar slowly, then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
- If you have a mixing guard for your mixer bowl now would be a good time to attach it.
- Beating on LOW, add flour mixture and extracts slowly.
- Make sure you fold in the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl. (You can fold in flour mixture by hand but this way is faster.)
- Spoon mixture carefully into an angel food cake pan.
- Move a knife through batter to remove air pockets.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger.
- To remove the cake from your pan run a knife around the rim of the cake pan just to get the 'crust' away from the pan, then firmly tap the sides of your pan. You can use a knife but this sometime tears the sides of the cake.
- Invert onto your serving plate, then take the knife to the now top which was the bottom of your pan and gently cut cake away from the pan insert.
- Give the cake a gentle but firm tap to release the centre cone of the cake pan.
- I made a half sized cake which worked out perfectly for the picture above. I halved the recipe above based on the number of egg whites I needed to use up, and adjusted cooking time slightly to accommodate for a smaller volume cake.