I haven't had angel food cake in years and years. Because, truth be told, I never liked it. This may be because the only kind I've ever had is the store bought kind. I found them cloyingly sweet and not terribly interesting. So why did I bake one? Well, I always want to be fair when it comes to food opinions. It doesn't seem right that I should judge a cake based only on having sampled an inferior version. I figured if I was going to make an honest judgment, I should taste one of these guys fresh baked.
And really, angel food cakes have a lot going for them. They are virtually fat-free, but not in some freaky way, it's just the way they are. They are very easy to make. They go with just about anything. And in the end, you end up with a dozen egg yolks left over to find something to make with, and that really shouldn't be too hard.
So, the verdict? It's a win. It's true, it was not fair to assume that I knew anything about an angel food cake's potential until I tasted a fresh one. It is truly like eating a delicious, sweet cloud. The texture is sort of crazy, yet addictive. I just ate mine with some fresh raspberries, but if I had had any cream around, that would have been a big win. Recipe after the jump:
ANGEL FOOD CAKE
From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
1 1/2 cups egg whites, room temperature (about 12 large eggs worth)
1 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, separated
1 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack set in the middle. Sift together the flour and 3/4 cup of sugar, then set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together the egg whites and warm water on low until starting to foam. Add the salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Raise speed to high, and beat until peaks are stiff and glossy (but not dry), about 2 minutes more.
Sift flour mixture over egg-white mixture in six parts, gently folding in each addition with a rubber spatula.
Gently pour batter into a 10-inch ungreased tube pan. Run a knife through the batter to release any air bubbles, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched, 35 to 40 minutes.
Invert pan on a wire rack, and let cake cool about 1 hour. Carefully run a paring knife around side of cake to loosen, then unmold onto the wire rack.