Except for a few attempts to win a blue ribbon in 4-H, I’ve always made angel food cakes from a mix. Seemed good enough most of the time. But homemade does taste better and I’m tired of throwing away egg whites so I resolved to learn how to bake a light and fluffy cake that rises so high it peeks over the side of the pan like Kilroy.
Hey, come back here. If I can do it, you can too. Yes, you can bake an angel food cake from scratch. I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s not that hard either.
I started with a recipe from my good friend, Joan, and combined it with an interesting idea I saw on Confections of a Foodie Bride (she’s a fellow Texan who seems to like Mexican food as much as I do). In much the same way Foodie Bride did, I folded cocoa into part of the batter and carefully poured it over the vanilla batter to make an irregular but pretty pattern.
Here’s where it gets good. Frost this cake with whipped cream icing, then drizzle with chocolate ganache. Perfection not required.
Try this for Easter dinner or any special celebration. What a grand finale for a glorious day!
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1-1/2 cup sugar–divided (I like superfine)
- 1-2/3 cup egg whites (10-11 large eggs)
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons Dutch chocolate, sifted
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate bar
- 1-1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together cake flour and ¾ cup sugar. Using stand mixer and wire attachment, begin mixing egg whites and cream of tartar on low for one minute. Add salt. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until egg whites are thick and billowy. With mixer running, pour the remaining ¾ cup of sugar in from the side–slowly. Continue beating egg whites until glossy and soft peaks gently tip over when you pull the wire beater up. Add extracts and turn the mixer on for a couple of seconds to incorporate.
- Use your largest rubber spatula to delicately and carefully fold sifted flour and sugar into whipped egg whites. I add only about ¼ cup of the flour and sugar mixture at a time. Slice with spatula perpendicular to whites down to bottom of bowl and turn spatula slightly to pull up batter from the bottom and lay over the top. Turn bowl ¼ turn and repeat slice with spatula until flour and egg whites are just mixed. The folding process should be done with patience and a light hand. Practice helps. If you overdo the mixing, your cake won’t be as high as your hopes.
- Pour slightly more than half of cake batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan with a removable bottom. Use a spoon to draw a trough around the middle. Carefully fold sifted cocoa into remaining batter until completely mixed. (Do not skip the sifting or you will have little chunks of cocoa in your batter.) Fill trough with the chocolate batter and then smooth over the top.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately turn over to cool for several hours. I recommend overnight. Use a firm hand and a skinny knife to loosen cake from edges of pan and invert cake onto cake plate.
- Heat heavy cream in small glass bowl for 1 minute in microwave oven. Add chocolate bar broken in several pieces to hot cream and allow to sit and melt while you ice the cake.
- When chocolate is completely melted use small wire whisk or spoon to mix making small circles at first, then larger and finally, mixing chocolate and cream until smooth.
- Whip cream in chilled bowl with wire attachment. When thick with soft peaks, add powdered sugar and continue to whip until cream makes stiff peaks. Go too far and whipped cream will be dry looking or turn into butter. Watch it! Spread smoothly over angel food cake.
- Pour warm chocolate ganache into a small Ziplock bag. Snip one corner about ¼ inch. (Eyeball it.) Turn over a cereal bowl and practice running chocolate along the edge till you get the effect you want. If it’s too thick to make nice “runs”, add a few drops of warm cream. If too thin, let cool a while longer.
- Here is where it gets a little tricky. Run ganache along the upper/outer edge of cake and slowly squirt ganache from small hole in the corner of your Ziplock bag making “runs and drips” around the entire cake. Do the inner edge the same way. Squirt remainder of ganache over top of cake and use a spoon to quickly spread evenly. You have a small window to get it smooth because the cold whip cream icing will harden the ganache on contact. Chill at least one hour before serving. Best eaten within 24 hours but still amazingly good for a couple days.