When I was a young baker, my mother taught me that Angel Food Cake should be make with a box mix because it was too tricky to make one from scratch. For a beginning baker, this is very true. However, for an intermediate-to-experienced baker, making one from scratch is, well, a piece of cake! Especially with this recipe:
Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 cups Sugar, divided
1 cup Cake Flour, sifted (not All-Purpose flour)
9 Egg Whites (I recommend separating the eggs when they are cold, then allowing the white to warm up to room temperature. They seem to whip up higher at room temp)
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
Preheat oven to 325F.
Sift 1/2 cup sugar and flour twice. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar and continue to beat until they hold soft peaks. Beat in extracts and remaining sugar until peaks become a little stiffer. Using a rubber spatula or your hand, gently fold flour mixture into eggs white mixture.
Turn batter into an ungreased tube pan (not a bundt pan). Bake 45-60 minutes until cake is firm, resilient to touch, and nicely brown. Invert cake for an hour. Remove carefully.
Cuts best with a serrated knife or pair of forks.
Best on the day it is made. Strawberry mousse makes a great filling/topping.
Chocolate Angel Food Cake Variation: Substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for 1/4 flour.
I made one of these last week as a birthday treat for a co-worker. Someone else on the team, when he found out it was an angel food cake, asked "What's all that brown stuff on the outside?" (It was the crusty bits). Turns out, he'd only ever had angel food cake that was purchased from the store already baked, which I guess doesn't have the brown crumbs on the outside. At least not on the top.
I love this homemade version, though you are left with lots of egg yolks. I usually make custard or pudding with them.
I'll post a custard recipe tomorrow!