Joy the Baker

Angel Food Cake with Vanilla Strawberries

July 5, 2011

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Real talk:

I’ve never once made an Angel Food Cake.

Real talk:

It has scared the heck out of me.

Wait… I need how many eggs?  Wait… I don’t grease the pan?  Hold on just a second… I have to hang the cake upside down!?

What is this?  Is this science?  Is this some sort of trick?

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Real talk:

I finally made my own Angel Food Cake.

Real talk:

There were only two moments during the making and cooling of this cake that I thought I had completely ruined the whole thing.  I hadn’t.  I was just kinda freaking out for no good reason.

Real talk:

You need a fancy pan (not that fancy, it’s just a tube pan), and enough faith to hang this cake upside down for a bit… but it’s totally worth it.  These are true words.

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Angel Food Cake, if you’re unfamiliar, is a super light cake made from eggs whites… lots of egg whites.

This particular recipe calls for a dozen large egg whites.

I’m totes making ice cream with the yolks… trust.

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You’ll also need a bit of flour, sugar, and salt.

Without these things… you’d probably just have a frittata.  That’s not cake.

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Egg whites get beaten to medium peaks.  Sugar is added, so they’re a bit glossy.

Dreamtown.

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Once the eggs are beaten, you gently fold in the dry ingredients.

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Folding is different from stirring.  Folding flour into egg whites means swooping the spatula from the bottom of the bowl, over atop itself.  Bring egg whites from the bottom up and over.  We’re incorporating ingredients without deflating the eggs.

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That’s a full, ungreased cake pan.

Ungreased!?  Yea…  don’t freak out.  I kinda did.  We use an ungreased pan so that the egg whites have something to hold on to (the pan) as they rises.

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Oh man… that’s baked.

Make sure you give the cake the skewer test.  A skewer is poked inside of the cake, and if it comes out dry… perfect!

A wet/underbaked cake will sink as it cools.  Not cool.

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Smash some sugar and vanilla bean into sliced strawberries.  Let rest in the fridge while the cake cools (upside down) ((totally weird and awesome)).

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As the cake cools, it will begin to separate itself from the sides of the pan.  Phew.  When the came comes out of the oven you’ll (if you’re anything like me) wonder how the dang cake is going to be removed from the pan.

After cooling… it totally wants to come out.  It may need a little coaxing with a butter knife… but I promise… with a little tapping and fudging, youre golden!

This cake is light as air and sweet as sugar… because there’s totally sugar in here.

The strawberry topping is a simple mixture of sliced strawberries, sugar and vanilla bean.  Add a touch of whipped cream.

Angel Food Cake with Vanilla Strawberries

makes one cake

recipe from Alton Brown

Print this Recipe!

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup cake flour, sifted

12 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/3 cup warm water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 pint fresh strawberries

2 to 4 teaspoons granulated sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)

1/2 scraped vanilla bean

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, grind sugar for about 2 minutes.  This will help create a super fine sugar that will be better absorbed into the egg whites.

Place half of the sugar in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, sift together the remaining sugar, salt, and cake flour.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites, water, extract, and cream of tartar medium speed.  If you’re worried that the cream of tartar is too chunky… don’t worry, it’ll smooth itself out.  Beat on medium high, gradually adding the sugar from the small bowl, until medium (not stiff) peaks form.  The meringue will hold a trail of the beaters through it, be glossy, and won’t be overly foamy.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift in one quarter of the flour and sugar mixture.  Fold with a spatula.  Try to avoid stirring the mixture too much.  Instead, sweep the egg whites from the bottom of the bowl to the top, incorporating the flour.  Add flour mixture in three more batches.  Fold until thoroughly combine, but don’t overmix or deflate the egg whites.

Spoon battering into an ungreased tube pan.  Ungreased in is important, as it will help the cake rise.  The tube pan will be full.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Remove cake from the oven and carefully invert upside down, propped up on a bottle.  This cake cools upside down.  Let rest for at least an hour before trying to remove from the pan.

Slice strawberries and mix with sugar and vanilla bean.  Let rest in the fridge to create juices while the cake cools.

As the cake cools, it will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.  To remove from the pan, tap the pan with a butter knife, or carefully run a butter knife around the edges between the cake and the pan.

Serve with berries and cream.

Cake will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 3 days.


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