A true gift from the heavens deserves its own post, especially since it can be twisted in so many diabolic ways. hehehe. In this post I am going to focus on angel food cake and will also highlight the differences between angel food cake, devil’s food cake, red velvet cake and chiffon cake.
Normally, I put videos at the end of the post, but because Alton’s episode analyzing the ins and outs of angel food cake is so absolutely fantastic, I recommend that you watch it before reading the rest of this post.
Hmmm, so there are a few important tips to remember when making this cake. Below, I’ve outlined what I ended up doing in the recipe.
|1 3/4 c sugar||Put in food processor for 2 minutes (or more) until sugar crystals are very fine. Why not use powdered / confectioner’s sugar? They contain starch…don’t know if that will seriously affect the cake if you had this on hand. Finer crystals become 1 1/2 cups of sugar|
|half of the sugar into bowl with
1/4 tsp salt (fine)
1 c cake flour
|Alton recommends sifting this, I just make sure to sift it into the foam instead of sifting twice|
|oven||preheat to 350° F|
|12 egg whites (absolutely no yolk) room temperature
1 tsp orange extract
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 Tbs warm water
|Combined all the ingredients in steel bowl (can use copper, but NOT plastic or glass). I used less water than recommended because my eggs were fresh and had enough liquid.|
|Whisk the liquid mixture until light froth builds up, then switch to the electric mixer. When a weak foam is building up, sift in the other half of the sugar that you had set aside. Wait for medium peaks (to check: lift mixer out of bowl, hold sideways and see if peaks stick out sideways as well…if they fall in a stream you don’t have a foam, if they sag due to gravity you have soft peaks and abt 2-3 minutes of light mixing to go), if they are short and stick out you have medium peaks, if they are long and stick out you have hard/firm peaks|
|the flour/salt/sugar||Sift in enough dry stuff to coat top of mixture and then fold (4-5 folds, rotating the bowl). Should take about 3-4 sifts to incorporate all of the dry stuff in. DO NOT overmix; you will break the foam|
|ungreased angel food cake pan||Dollop the mixture evenly around the pan. After it is all in, jiggle it a few times to spread out the mixture and pop into preheated oven for 35 minutes (I put a tray underneath just in case the mixture overflowed). Check with skewer (should come out clean, but a little moist)|
|plate||Invert the pan onto an upside down plate to allow the cake to cool (about 1 to 1.5 hrs)|
|-||Turn back over when cooled and cut both perimeters with thin knife. Invert onto serving plate and let side come off, then slowly and carefully cut the bottom (which is on top) away from cake and you are done!|
|-||Top with my orange whipped cream|
comparisons to other cakes
Uses vegetable oil instead of butter in traditional cake recipes, so shelf life is longer and cake is moister. For this reason it is used in most shelf-products (Hostess, etc.). The wiki is pretty good.
devil’s food cake
This is a cake in between a traditional chocolate cake and angel food cake. It is much airier than standard chocolate cakes and uses cocoa as opposed to melted chocolate. The wiki entry does justice to the cake.
red velvet cake
If you see the devil’s food cake wiki entry, you will see that the original red tint came from non-alkalized (non “Dutch Processed”) cocoa powder reacting with baking soda. These days since alkalized cocoa powder is more prevalent, people add red food coloring to achieve the redness.