Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
Angel Food Cake is made with a large quantity of egg whites (usually the whites from about 11 to 13 eggs) without any shortening or leavening. Angel Food cake is thought to be a takeoff of a sponge cake or a Pennsylvania Dutch wedding cake. Indications are with the abundance of cake molds found in southeastern Pennsylvania, the angel food cake originated there in the early 1800s.
That said, some suspect the origins of Angel Food cake are very mysterious, all the more so since they seem to derive from the mysterious East. The theory is that a family who lived along the Atlantic Coast moved to a quiet place along the Hudson River and opened a boarding house. A friend presented one of the ladies of the family, who was remarkably skilled as a cake-baker, a recipe that had come to her from a friend in India. Sometime later, cake-baker of the family opened a bakery specializing in cakes, including the mysterious one from the East.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 60 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
2 cups egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325º F.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, cake flour and cocoa. Sift together 3 times, and set aside.
- In a clean large bowl, whip the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on high speed until very stiff. Fold in white sugar 2 tablespoons at a time while continuing to mix. Fold in flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a 10 inch tube pan.
- Run a knife or spatula around the perimeter of the pan and through the batter one time to reduce any air pockets formed when filling the pan.
- Bake for about 1 hour, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Remove from the tube pan and let cool completely.
- To serve, paint a plate with a little chocolate sauce and drizzle a little chocolate sauce over the top.
ChefSecret: Cream of tartar or potassium bitartrate (also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate) crystallizes in wine casks during the fermentation of grape juice, and can precipitate out of wine in bottles. The crystals (wine diamonds) will often form on the underside of a cork in wine-filled bottles that have been stored at temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F), and will seldom, if ever, dissolve naturally into the wine. In its ground powder form it is the perfect stabilizer for egg whites and whipped cream.