24 May 2012

Angel Food Cake - In a Loaf Pan


Angel food cake has a certain mystique - many people are under the impression that it's really finicky and difficult to make. But it really isn't. You can make one without any special equipment or special ingredients. 

Gone are the days when I whipped egg whites (or cream) by hand with a whisk. And I don't have a fancy-schmancy heavy-duty stand mixer (looking at Breville 5-Quart Stand Mixer, Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer and KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer), but a quite ordinary electric mixer works just fine for this. And I never have cake flour and, supposedly, angel food cake is the one cake for which cake flour is an absolute must. Well, it's not.

I develop all my recipes using organic unbleached all-purpose flour. No bread flour. No cake flour. I already have a vast assortment of gluten-free flours and starches (Bob's Red Mill) for my gluten-free baking, so I'm not about to give over any shelf space to bread flour and cake flour when I can get fabulous results with all-purpose.

Separate the eggs while they are cold. Allow the whites to stand at room temperature for an hour before whipping. Cover the yolks tightly and put them in the refrigerator until you're done with the cake. What to make with 7 egg yolks? Both custard sauce and lemon curd go beautifully with angel food cake. This time, as you can see from the photo, I went with the custard sauce (and by custard sauce I do not mean Bird's).
   
Angel Food Loaf Cake

(Makes one 9x4x4-inch loaf)

1/2 packed cup (2.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
7 large egg whites (about 1 cup), room temperature

1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

1 Place oven rack in lowest position (I didn't bother--no problem), and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9x4x4-inch loaf pan (no need for the lid). Cut a 4x18-inch piece of foil to cover bottom and ends of pan. There will be about a half inch overhang on each end for easy removal. Do not grease. (Or cut a piece of parchment slightly smaller than the bottom of the pan.)

2 Using two small bowls, sift together flour and powdered sugar three or four times. I do it three times, but then I only let the egg whites stand at room temperature for half an hour.

3 In large bowl with mixer on low, beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and vanilla until egg whites have thickened and increased in volume (mixture looks like a bowl of suds!) and are nearly at soft peaks stage.

4 Gradually beat in sugar, in about 4 parts, until egg whites are stiff enough to hold up in soft peaks but are still glossy and moist.

5 Sift about 1/3 of flour mixture over egg whites and fold in lightly, with a rubber spatula, just until incorporated. Repeat two times.

6 Spoon batter into prepared ungreased 9x4x4-inch (or 9x5x3-inch) loaf pan, filling to about an inch or less from the top. Gently tap the pan on the counter a few times and make a few knife cuts through the batter to break up any large air bubbles.

7 Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until well browned. Invert pan on wire rack; let stand upside down as it cools, about an hour. Remove cake from pan.

24 comments:

Richard Sheppard said...

Looks delicious and easy to make too! I bet one of your ice cream recipes would be tasty with this angel food cake. Especially the pumpkin or strawberry. I have the 5 quart artisan stand mixer you mentioned above (how else could I make my pizza dough every week?!) and love it. Had it for about 10 years now.

Jean said...

Thank you, Richard! It's rather fun to make, too, for a change. Yes, I think I'd like the strawberry ice cream with it. I love making bread and pizza dough by hand--which is why I've managed all these years without a heavy-duty stand mixer. But I really should get one!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Well, if you are what you eat, obviously I'm forbidden by nature to eat angel food cake. But "mystique" is exactly the sentiment that came over me when I saw the picture. Your photography is as excellent as your cooking, Mme. And those plump, self-absorbed blueberries in their delicate custard bath making their way osmotically through the textured angel food shot straight through my imagination to my taste buds. Talk about living vicariously! I've noticed you feature mostly white breads/cakes in the bakery/pastry department. Know that your fans will appreciate any sojourns to the dark side (chocolate cakes). Not that you haven't done same; it's a matter of parity…

Jean said...

Thank you, Sully! I rarely photograph anything but food. There will be no parity here - I haven't been a huge fan of chocolate since my mid-20s. But I do make it for other people, so it turns up every so often at Delightful Repast.

Charles said...

Aah, so *that's* what an angel food cake is :D! I'd always heard the term bandied around but never had any idea what it was.

It looks really light and delicious - a perfect accompaniment for custard! My first custard attempts split but I seem to have got it down now - can't beat a good home-made one! None of this luminous yellow Bird's junk.

Jean said...

Thank you, Charles. Yes, it is very light, fine-textured and spongey. A perfect foil for custard, lemon curd and/or fresh fruit. Let me know if you try the recipe!

Southerner said...

Just had a look at your ,"Food Gawker My Gallery." Love that word gawker, by the way, Jean. It creates images of eyes popping out. The gawker gallery is absolutely beautifully designed and created Jean and so easy to access.I must admit i haven't tried printing off the recipes. is that a feature? And you are presenting them to us free of charge.
You have a very good friendly personal touch in describing and presenting your recipes. Now I'm not giving you a choice here Jean. You must publish your own book.

The second thing, bite the bullet and open a restaurant. It's the only way you can go surely?

Jean said...

Tony, thank you so much for your encouragement! Publish a book? Yes, I'd love to; that's a definite possibility. Open a restaurant? Well, I like the idea; but I don't have the energy--it's a tough business! My foodgawker gallery is just a part of this huge thing here called foodgawker.com, a food photo site. Not my doing at all. Thanks again!

Danielle said...

That looks so delicious! I have been binging on berries lately (my newest treat!) and hadn't though of eating them with angel food cake--will have to keep that in mind!

Jean said...

Danielle, thank you! Aren't berries the best?! Come back next Friday for a cherry recipe.

Terri ~the dressed up cottage said...

Jean,I will have to try this angel food cake recipe. Looks yummy.
Thank you so much for the Muir
Glen gift basket of organic tomatotes. I will be using them this week, can't wait.
Thanks again. I'm so glad I found your lovely blog.

Jean said...

Terri, thank you so much. I'm really glad, too, you found my blog! Enjoy the tomatoes. I just love them. And the company switched to BPA-free cans, so that's another reason I like them so much.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

When my brother-in-law and his fiance came for a visit a few years back, she told me that he kept talking about how they would get to have some of my angel cake again. We hadn't seen each other for many years and I hadn't made an angel cake in just as long. It was funny to me that that was something he remembered about me - my angel cake. Of course, I made one while they were here.
I think it's about time for another. But I'm going to wait until you post that custard recipe to go with it. . .

Jean said...

Isn't that sweet - you had a cooking "thing" all that time and weren't even aware of it! You can put eggs on your shopping list - you won't have long to wait for the custard recipe. Have to post a cherry recipe this Friday, then next Friday it's custard sauce.

Annie*s Granny said...

Finally! A recipe I can use for all the egg whites I have left after making my custard based ice cream! I've been sneaking them into my husband's scrambled eggs, but he's been questioning me lately as to why his eggs are so pale :-)

Jean said...

Hope it turns out well for you, Annie's Granny! I love custard-based ice creams, too, so I end up with a lot of egg whites.

Annie*s Granny said...

After making two batches of custard based ice cream today, I had exactly one cup of egg whites left. Of course, I just had to try this cake. It's definitely a keeper! We're enjoying fat slices topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream, which is a pleasant change from our usual biscuit shortcakes. Thank you!

Jean said...

That's wonderful! Thank you so much! I think raspberries go much better with angel food cake than biscuit shortcakes.

Leighlee said...

I just want to thank you :) I'm a rather novice baker and the idea of whipping egg whites scared me away from this for a while, till I found myself with a bowl of egg whites and no idea what to do with them (not even considering pouring it in the sink).

I did all the whipping and mixing and putting it in the loaf pan then as my timer went off, I remembered I had to flip it. Tense moments there, I didn't know if it was going to fall out or not.

But it didn't, it cooled of and to my surprise it was sticky. I didn't know homemade angel food cake was sticky! Now half of it is gone and I'm really fighting not to eat more so the hubby and me can have some in the morning with coffee!

So again, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Leighlee, thank you so much! It makes my day when one of my posts and recipes is so helpful to someone. Happy baking!

Shannon said...

I made this for my birthday and it came out wonderful. The only thing I did differently is to add some lemon extract to the cake batter along with the vanilla. I love that it is so easy to remove from the pan using the aluminum foil, with the tube angel food cake pan it sticks and is very hard to clean. Thank you very much for sharing this recipe with us!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Shannon, thank you so much. I love it when someone comes back and tells me how the recipe turned out for them. I'd like it with lemon, too; lemon is one of my very favorite flavors.

aleciahy said...

I just took this cake out of the oven and it is beautiful! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe and your excellent instructions. I have never made angel food cake because I was always told how fickle it is. When I decided I was going to give it a try I thought I was going to have to go buy a special pan, special flour....ugh easier to just buy one at the bakery. But thanks to you I have a perfect cake ready to be topped with fresh berries and whipped cream. Thanks again!!!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

aleciahy, thank you so much! I really do try to give instructions that can result in a success even if someone has never made it before. Thank you for letting me know that they worked for you. You just made my day!

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