My mother used to make this cake often for birthdays or for our Sunday dessert. It was my brother Greg’s, always requested birthday cake for his July 30th birthday. It never misses an ooooh or ahhhh when brought to the table. The towering presentation, light and refreshing coolness, was always a hit, particularly in late July in steamy St. Louis.
My mother would use Dream Whip in those days, (remember that dry packaged stuff you added milk and vanilla to?) along with Duncan Hines Angel food cake mix. Ah the ‘60’s – the introduction of time saving mixes entered our lives, the beginning of processed food creeping into every aspect of our eating. Although my mother often talked about making the cake from scratch, the thought of a dozen egg whites was daunting. And then what do you do with all those yolks? (I am asking the same question now.)
When our boys were little, I continued the tradition of making this cake on Sundays with (yes, don’t judge) a boxed cake mix, but real whipped cream. Then my oldest asked for this for his recent big birthday. Only this time, I made the cake from scratch. There is a difference. Light, fabulously fluffy, not too much almond, this is sweet in so many ways. It is worth the effort. Be sure there is no butter, grease or olive oil even nearby and have your egg whites truly at room temperature – no kidding. Separate your eggs first and put your yolks back in the fridge right away, but leave those whites out. I probably let mine sit out for over 2 hours before attacking them to whip.
Be sure to use fresh cake flour too and don’t forget to cut through the batter with a knife to remove the air holes before baking and have a good liquor bottle around to turn that cake upside down on to cool, as soon as it comes out of the oven, otherwise you will watch it sink back into the pan. Find the right sized bottle first, before you even start making the cake.
This really isn’t hard and it is so pretty, so light and so delicious!! The birthday boy had one piece the size of three plus then another regular sized piece.
Yes, he was pretty happy.
ANGEL FOOD CAKE – serves 12
1 cup cake flour
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. sugar
12 large egg whites, MUST be at room temperature
1 1⁄2 tsp. cream of tartar
1⁄4 tsp. salt
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla
1⁄2 tsp. almond extract
For the filling:
2+ cups heavy cream
1 rounded Tbs. powdered or confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
12 -16 oz. fresh strawberries, washed and dried. Save 5 – 6 perfect berries for the top decoration, hull and slice the others.
Note: For those not used to making angel food cakes, do not get any yoke in the whites. If you do, throw it out and start over. A good thing to do is to separate the egg in a glass first. Then if no yoke, pour into your clean, totally grease-free bowl to whip.
DO NOT GREASE PAN. Use a two-piece angel food cake pan.
Pre-heat oven to 375°.
Sift the cake flour and 3/4 cup + 2 Tbs. sugar; set aside.
Combine the extracts in a small bowl; set aside.
Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until peaks form.
Add the other 3/4 cup of sugar slowly, then beat on high until stiff peaks form. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and extracts slowly. You will add the flour in 5 or 6 additions, folding after each one. Make sure you fold in the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl.
Spoon batter into an angel food cake pan. Move a knife through batter to remove air pockets.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger.
Remove from oven and invert pan onto a liquor bottle to cool completely.
To remove the cake from your pan take a flat metal cake spatula and insert it perpendicular in up an down motions around the rim of the cake pan just to get the ‘crust’ away from the pan.Then firmly spank the sides of your pan. Invert onto your serving plate then take the knife to the now top which was the bottom of your pan and gently cut cake away from the pan insert, using the same back and forth motion with the flat metal spatula. No need to cut around the center tube as you can just give the cake a gentle but firm tap or downward shake on to the plate. Or you can pick up plate while holding onto the pan insert with your thumbs and firmly strike the bottom of the plate onto a folded towel. (Just give it a slam down on the towel/table).
Cut the cake into 3 layers.
Whip 2+ cups of heavy cream – lightly sweeten with a Tbs. of powdered sugar and a little vanilla. Ice each layer with the cream and cover with sliced fresh strawberries. Top with whole strawberries and serve right away, with LOVE!
And now our MSI winners of our spring box giveaway are:
Congratulations to all of you and I know you’ll love your spring box, which due to some growing pains over here, is mailing out this Friday, May 1st. Enjoy!!
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