As one might guess, today’s cake is an angel food cake! It’s one of those foodstuffs that I consider magical and undoable by my mortal hands, so it took me a long time to get around to trying to make one. Well that, and you can get them for 99 cents back in Texas, so there’s that whole ‘Why should I make this effort when I can get it so cheap?!’ Except I’m not in Texas anymore, so that doesn’t exactly hold true. And anyways, homemade is better than store-bought!
I suspect that some people are deterred by the fact that it’s a bit of a fussy cake. For starters, you need a lot of egg whites; 1 and a half cups is 375ml is something like 10+ normal/small eggs, and each of those comes with the risk of accidentally getting some yolk in. I have and use a separator, but there are any number of methods that people prefer (the popular/hip one involves a bottle, ’cause science). As it were, I managed to accidentally crack some yolks while dumping the egg contents into the separator, so I ended up keeping the yolk in the shell and just dumping the whites through the separator to avoid further contamination. While you can get away with getting a little bit in, too much of the yolk and its fat content means that the whites won’t whip up properly. And even though I only had the smallest amount of yolk that I didn’t manage to scoop out, it took longer to whip than usual. But it DID come out, thanks to my super-powerful, glorious Kenwood (Kenwood 4 Lyfe here, hee hee). Really, I should have separated the yolks out while the eggs were cooler to help avoid that breakage, but never mind.
The recipe also necessitated making cake flour. While you can find cake flour in the States, it’s not particularly common in the United Kingdom. But thankfully, it’s really easy to make. This recipe called for 1 1/4 cups of cake flour. So that would mean that I needed to take out 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour, and replace it with cornstarch. One then sifts the combination a number of times to fluff it up; five seems to be the magic number in this recipe.
And speaking of sifting, there’s even more sifting to do! I’ve noticed that a lot of American recipes call for one to sift sugar and flour together, which is a slight problem. I’ve actually broken a few sifters trying to do this with normal sugar, and my lovely shakey-on-a-stick here is too fine for the same. So I got smart this time and used caster (superfine) sugar. Caster sugar is a finer grind, so it’s easier to use. You can make your own in a blender or food processor, but since I CAN buy a bag of it, figured I might as well save myself that hassle. I made the mistake of using regular sugar with the shaker last time, and my poor husband was very courageously doing his best to grind it through for me. You know what they say — work smarter, not harder, so I did this time!
In that same vein, I invested in a special pan for angel food cake. You see, because it’s a sponge, it needs to cool upside down so it doesn’t collapse. You can, in a pinch, rest the centre of a pan on a bottle, but cats, kids, and my own clumsiness means I’d prefer something less likely to topple.
Now, I think this one came out a bit lower than my previous effort, but that’s okay. As long as it tastes good, right? Taste is definitely more important than appearance, though I’m slowly working on improving the latter in my cooking efforts.
Oh yes, the recipe!
Angel Food Cake I Recipe
Really though, it’s a fun cake to make, and not too challenging once you’ve mucked into it. And of course, the taste is completely worth it.