Fluffy sweet angel food cake served with rich chocolate whipping cream has been a favorite of my husband’s for a long time. His mother would often make angel food cake for his birthday, a sweet memory for him. My version uses whole cane sugar giving it a deeper flavor. It’s a little bit of earth to hold this fluffy cake down.
I had made several angel food cakes before we were married, but the last one I made flopped so bad and wasted so many eggs I never had the nerve to make it again. That is, until this last Father’s day. My husband is a wonderful father, and I thought it would be nice to serve him his favorite desert. With a better understanding now of what it takes to make a good homemade angel food cake, I was able to confidently make one for him. And because my daughter and I are eating a gluten free diet right now, we made it gluten free so that all of us could enjoy it. If you don’t need to make it gluten free replace the brown rice flour and the arrowroot flour with sprouted wheat flour, or unbleached white flour.
While it does take a lot of eggs to make angel food cake, keep in mind that even a dozen good quality eggs is generally only a couple of dollars. And since this cake doesn’t use expensive ingredients, like butter, it’s really not that bad on the pocketbook. Use the egg yolks to make custard, ice cream, or put in smoothies for extra nutrition!
Tips for Making a Successful Angel Food Cake
1) Separate the eggs when cold, otherwise the yolk breaks easily.
2) Let the egg whites get to room temperature before beating. They will be more relaxed and fluff up easily. (about 30 minutes out of the fridge)
3) Carefully keep all egg yolks out of the white. To safeguard yourself, separate the egg yolk over a small bowl. If the egg white is “clean” from egg yolk, then you can add it to your measuring cup.
4) Beat in a very clean bowl without a touch of grease or oil. Fat keeps the whites from getting as fluffy. Don’t use a plastic bowl as it will retain a bit of oil or fat from previous dishes no matter how well you have washed it.
5) Angel food cake batter will not look as stiff as merigange batter. It’s okay for it to look looser. In fact, it should.
6) You can over beat an angel food cake batter, which will cause the egg whites to deflate. Beat just until they form soft peaks.
7) Do not grease the angel food cake pan. The batter “clings” to the side of the pan as it rises. You will not get as much rise if it is greased. However, that it why you will need a angel food cake “tube” pan with a removable bottom.
8) Cook until the miniumum time listed below before checking on the cake. An underdone cake, or one with many changes in temperature (from the door opening), is at risk of falling.
9) I generally cut down the sugar content of my desserts drastically. However, in the case of an angel food cake, it will not rise as well without the extra sugar. You can cut it down some, but realize it may make a denser cake.
10) Add the flour gradually, using a soft folding motion. The egg whites will stay fluffier.
So there are some of the traditional tips for making a successful angel food cake. Other ideas I’ve recently read include greasing the pan, but sprinkling with sugar for the cake to cling too. Greasing it helps the cake remove more easily, while the sugar gives the cake both something to cling to and a nice sugary crust. If you don’t have a tube cake pan (I don’t and had to borrow my mother’s for this recipe), people will line loaf pans with parchment paper (with the greased and sugared sides), or make angel food cake muffins. Both of these methods won’t produce as light of angel food cakes, but are definite options for those of us without angel food cake pans.
Angel Food Cake
- ½ cup of brown rice flour, white rice flour, since it’s not soaked, or sprouted rice flour
½ cup of arrowroot flour
1 ½ cups room temperature egg whites ( from about 12 eggs)
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tarter
1/4 teaspoon unrefined salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups of whole cane sugar (such as rapadura or sucant), maple sugar, coconut/palm sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
1) In a food processor, process the sugar to make it fine. (Otherwise it won’t dissolve well in the egg whites).
2) Whisk the flour, arrowroot powder, and ½ the sugar in a small bowl.
3) In a very clean, non plastic bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tarter and vanilla on low for one minute (using either a hand mixer or in a Kitchen aid). Increase the speed to medium speed and beat until it resembles soft foam composed of tiny bubbles ( about 1 ½ to 3 minutes). The foam will hold a soft moist shape when the beaters are lifted out. Beat in gradually the rest of the sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time.. Do not beat until stiff.
4) Gradually and gently fold in the flour/sugar mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, until it’s all combined.
5) Pour/scrape into the angel food cake tube pan. Place in the oven for about 50 minutes, and remove when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6) Let cool upside down (place the center tube hole in a wine or olive oil bottle) for about 1 ½ hours.
7) To unmold, slide a thin sharp knife to cut around all of the edges and remove the sides of the pan. Slide the same knife under the bottom of the cake. Remove to platter and serve.
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