Monday, 16 January 2012

Angel Food Cake with Vanilla Berries

In my recent cravings for summer, I have begun to think about, not only the activities I love to do, but the foods I love to eat. I love how every season brings about it's own varieties of food. When I think of summer, I think of light, fresh foods, such as this Angel Food Cake with berries and whipped cream. Sure, you technically don't have to wait until summer to make this cake, and you can get berries pretty much any time of the year, but I don't particularly want to cuddle up on a cold winter's night to a fluffy white cake. These are the days when I want roasted, savoury comfort foods. Or at least heavier deserts. But in these "dark" days the hope of summer cheers me up, and so I'm blogging not about sweet potatoes or beef barley soup, but of this:

I made this back in July, and was pretty excited to try it as it was my first attempt at making an Angel Food Cake. In the midst of my ambition and excitement, however, I didn't realize how hard or how long it would take without a proper mixer, so unless you have a good mixer or really want to tone those arms, be prepared. With that warning out the way, this cake really is worth the time and effort to make. Dangerously worth the effort. I mean, it was delicious.

Here is the recipe, orginally from Alton Brown, but I found it on (which happens to be one of my favourite food blogs. If you haven't checked it out, you should). I will put the link to this recipe on Joy's site below.

Angel Food Cake with Vanilla Berries

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

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F

Mix half of the sugar with your flour and salt, and set aside. Grind the other half of your sugar to make it super fine (do this in a food processor or clean coffee grinder, as I did).

Take your water, vanilla extract, cream of tartar (I didn't have this so I left it out) and 12 egg whites and beat them, gradually adding the super fine sugar, until it forms peaks like this:

Take your dry mixture and fold little bits into the egg whites, about a quarter at a time

You must fold it, not stir, unless you want deflated egg whites, which will then result in a dense, not-fluffy cake.
Take your batter and spoon it into a *non-greased* tube pan. It's very important that it's not greased, as the eggs need something to grasp onto.

Depending on the size of your pan, the mixture will pretty much fill up the entire thing. It's supposed to, so don't be alarmed that the cake will rise and spill over the sides - it won't.

Call me weird, but the fact that it did take up so much space was very satisfying and even exciting to me. Usually cakes only fill half of the pan, and then if I'm making two I have to measure to see if the two pans are even - it's a real pain.

Anyways. You want to bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now this is the cool part! To properly cool an Angel Food cake, you must hang it upside down over a bottle, like this:

I left it there for an hour before I attempted to free it. It was still a little difficult coming out, I had to tap the sides of the pan and sort of prod it out with a spatula, but after a few minutes it came out looking wonderful

Now for the berries! I made the cake on a Saturday night, but we didn't plan to eat it until Sunday afternoon, so I quickly made the berries in the morning.

It's pretty simple. You take some berries, spread some sugar on them with the guts of a vanilla bean. Stir. Let sit. Done.

The berries will get glossy, their juices will start to flow, and will be the perfect sweet companion to this cake.

The recipe calls for only strawberries, but I added blueberries, too, cause I thought it would be good.

It wasn't. Don't do it. Stick with the strawberries. K? K :)

And, of course, I decided to make some whipped cream to top it off. You don't have to, but to me it wouldn't have been complete without it.

And of course, what is a proper piece of cake, without a proper cup, or pot, of tea? :)

English Breakfast, of course  :)

Link to Joy's website and recipe:

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