Saturday, January 10, 2009

Egged On

I've never been much of an egg cracker, but I had plenty of practice last night while making angel food cake, which called for no fewer than 12 egg whites. (I ended up with all 12 whites, zero yokes and just one tiny fraction of shell, in case you were keeping count. The shell was fished out of the egg white bowl -- there's no place to hide a shell in an angel food cake. Not that I would ever try to hide egg shells in my baking.)

This was my first homemade angel food cake. The recipe promised delight beyond measure and a cake that would far surpass any Betty Crocker Fun-Fetti angel food mix I'd tried in the past.

For a simple cake, it was a recipe with a lot of steps. Whipping. Sifting. Sifting again. Unfortunately, I was so focused on whipping and sifting that I forgot to add the vanilla. So the cake, while lovely in texture and appearance, doesn't taste like much and smells slightly eggy. Really, it's kind of weird to eat, even with whipped cream and strawberries (which help to mask the general egginess).

I think this would be worth another try sometime, assuming I can manage to get the vanilla in. I was thinking other extracts might be good, too -- like lemon or vanilla. Maybe almond. Not peppermint. My recipe also gives suggestions for making a chocolate angel food cake -- replace 1/4 c. of flour with 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder and reduce the vanilla extract by one teaspoon. That sounds like it could be pretty tasty.

But before I make it again, I have to figure out what to do with all my leftover egg yokes.

Angel Food Cake

  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 12 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 t. cream of tartar
  • 1 and 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour and salt together. Set aside.

2. With a mixer, beat egg whites until foamy (about one minute). Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Continue to beat, adding sugar gradually. Beat about two minutes, until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla. Beat to combine.

3. Transfer egg white mixture into a wide bowl. In four batches, sift flour mixture over egg whites. Gently fold in to egg white mixture, turning bowl as you fold.

4. Spoon batter into an ungreased angel food pan. Smooth top and gently cut through the batter with a knife to remove air bubbles. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until top is golden. Invert pan and cool 1 hour.

The food: Angel food cake
The verdict: Puffy, fluffy -- and eggy


Ellen said...

Sorry about the vanilla -- I love angel food cake! But I have never had a choc. one and now I'm determined to try. -Go to the dollar store and buy cheap ice cube trays. Freeze the egg yolks (or whites whenever you have a recipe using just the yolks...) and the next time you have a recipe that requires just one or the other, you'll have them on hand. (These are good for up to 6 mons. and of course, you need to let them thaw first...) ;)

Anonymous said...

I feel that it is not worth the trouble to make angel food cake, I always use a box.
One of my favorite Angel Food cake based desserts is actually to take the box mix and add a can of crushed pineapple instead of the water the mix calls for. SOOO tasty!