Well we blew right past Mother's Day didn't we? Here's a picture of my Mother's Day gift; a half eaten discarded cookie. "Here mom, you can have this!" Thanks.
While this half eaten cookie was quite amazing, I felt like this Mother's Day needed a little something more in the dessert department. I had an abundance of leftover egg whites from another baking project, so of course, Angel Food Cake comes to mind as a good use of the egg whites. Honestly, I never make Angel Food cake since it needs 12 egg whites and I don't want to have 12 gross egg yolks cruising in the fridge looking at me forlornly every time I open the door. Yes, I could make curd and probably a few other things, but Angel Food cake is a fussy thing and I usually don't want to mess around with it. If I really want it, I'll just buy the boxed mix. And, yes, you can totally buy the egg whites in the carton, but I read that they don't whip as well so it's better to use fresh egg whites. Yes, I'm as fussy as the cake.
However, this homemade cake was much better than a boxed mix, even though it is fussy and can be temperamental.As a bonus, our rhubarb is also starting to take off in the garden, so I made a rhubarb compote to go along with the cake and it was heaven.
Angel Food Cake
adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
1 c + 2T cake flour (or cake flour sub)
1/4 t salt
12 egg whites (room temperature)
1 1/2 t cream of tartar (or 3 t lemon juice/white vinegar)
1 1/2 vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 and move oven rack to 2nd from the bottom.
2. In a blender or food processor (I used my Ninja), pulse/process granulated sugar till powdery, but not as fine at powdered sugar. Set aside 1 cup.
3. EXTRA STEP. I didn't have cake flour, so I made the easy substitution of all purpose flour + cornstarch. For every cup of cake flour needed, measure out 1 cup of all purpose flour, remove 2 T, add in 2 T cornstarch. Sift twice so it is completely mixed and aerated.
4. In a separate bowl. Sift the flour and salt into the remaining sugar (not the cup of sugar you set aside). The salt might get stuck while you're sifting it into the sugar, just push it through the strainer.
5. In a standing mixer, or with a hand held mixer, use the whisk attachment to start whipping the egg whites and cream of tartar together. EXTRA STEP: I also did not have cream of tartar, however I did have fresh lemons and you can sub 1 t of lemon juice for every 1/2 t of cream of tartar. White vinegar will also work, so don't feel like you have to run out and buy cream of tartar, use it once, and then let it sit on your shelf till it expires.
6. Whip egg whites and cream of tartar (or substitute) on medium speed till foamy and bubbly. After one minute, switch to medium high speed and start to slowly add the reserved cup of sugar. Whip until soft peaks form; do not over whip. Approximately 5 minutes. Add in vanilla extract if using. I forgot to add it and I couldn't tell the difference! I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
7. Now the tricky part. You need to slowly fold in the flour mixture, taking care not to deflate the whipped egg whites. I ended up sifting in the flour mixture in three parts; sift in 1/3, fold into batter, and repeat till flour mixture is fully incorporated. You need to make sure that the flour is completely mixed in, but you don't want to over mix the batter and knock out all the air. Very tricky!
8. You absolutely have to use the special Angel Food cake pan AND it can not be greased. If you cheat and use a smaller pan, the batter will spill over the top and burn on the bottom of your oven. You definitely need those high walls to keep the batter in check. Pour batter into ungreased tube pan and bake cake for 40ish minutes. Mine took exactly 40, so start checking for doneness at 40 minutes.
9. Remove pan from oven (and this part is super important), turn upside down to cool. My old Angel Food cake pan had these little tabs that poked out so you could set it directly upside down on the counter with about an inch of air under it. The pan I have now does not have that fancy addition, so I just shoved a knife under the pan so that air could circulate. Let cool for several hours. When cool, run a knife around the edges of the cake to help release from the pan.
10. Angel Food cake is best eaten the day it is made. Serve with strawberries and whip cream or your favorite fruit compote. You can store it on the counter, completely wrapped in plastic and it should still be ok the next day. If you leave it unwrapped for a long period of time, the cake will start to weep, sag, and get soggy. Yuck.
Ok, yes, the rhubarb compote is not that great looking. I promise it tasted really good with the cake, especially while it was still warm.