I love to entertain and that is truly why I started planning events professionally. Ironically, as business gets busier, the less I entertain. Tonight was the exception. We celebrated a friend’s belated birthday. It was a small, but significant crowd. Taking inspiration from Julie and Julia (bought the soundtrack today) and too many hours of Top Chef, I had fun creating a menu tailored to the birthday girl. Our guest of honor’s favorite cake is Angel Food. I borrowed a recipe from this blog. I made a few changes, was excited to use the vanilla a friend brought me back from Mexico, and I certainly recommend this recipe. It was very good, but should not be made while on the telephone.
The Best Angel Food Cake
adapted slightly from The Best Recipe
1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large), room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/2 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar and the cake flour. Set aside.
Beat egg whites until frothy, the add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until fully incorporated then begin to add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar 1-2 tablespoons at a time. When sugar has been added, beat egg whites to soft peaks. You will know when you have soft peaks because the egg whites will look like soft waves and when you lift the beaters, the peaks will droop back down into the batter. If your batter is falling in ribbons, it is not quite down. Don’t be afraid to slow down the mixer and check a few times as you get close. Do not beat all the way to stiff peaks. Once you have soft peaks, add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat for a few seconds to evenly distribute.
Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites in 6-8 additions (depending on your proficiency with folding flour into egg whites) and gently fold it in after each addition. It is better to take your time and do it gently than to rush and deflate the egg whites.
Spoon batter into an ungreased 9 inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Smooth the top with a spatula and tap the pan on the counter once or twice to ensure that there are no large bubbles lurking beneath the surface.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Mine took 55 minutes.
Remove from oven an invert pan over a bottle. Allow to cool completely or overnight.
Gently run a thin knife around the sides, then around the bottom, of the pan to release the cake when you are ready to serve it.
I topped with whipped cream and served fresh strawberry slices in a sweet sauce on the side.