Angel Food Cake – Is this a light alternative?

Angel Food Cake As a kid, I remember Angel Food Cakes appearing as strawberries came into season, when we had an abundance of egg whites following the creation of custards or when my mother?s friends were dieting. Somehow, the...

Angel Food Cake
Angel Food Cake

As a kid, I remember Angel Food Cakes appearing as strawberries came into season, when we had an abundance of egg whites following the creation of custards or when my mother?s friends were dieting. Somehow, the later still makes me laugh the most as spring and strawberries were the precursor to swim-suit season.   Those pre-packaged shortcakes that looked like yellow cakes were never a staple in our home.

I still remember a flute pan that was the standard for this cake and the unique cooling technique of resting the cake in the pan on top of a ketchup bottle for at least 60 minutes.

In a Cooking class last week, Chef Elizabeth Weaver had us making a Southern tradition in Lime Angel Food Cake with Lime Glaze and Pistachios.  I was amazed at how close her recipe was to the stained card I still have with my mother?s original recipe.   Miles apart, but the recipes are very similar.  Here are the recipes.

Lime Angel Food Cake with Lime Glaze and Pistachios

? recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Weaver

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour (To create cake flour, combine two tablespoons of cornstarch with slightly less than 1 cup of all-purpose flour).
  • 1 ½ cups superfine sugar, divided (recipe for creating superfine sugar follows)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Lime Syrup & Glaze

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • ½ cup raw pistachios ( about 2 ounces) finely chopped in a food processor
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Recipe for Creating Superfine Sugar:

  1. Start with a little more granulated sugar than you will need for your final recipe. Some of the sugar will turn to dust, so it's better to make a little extra superfine sugar. Pour it into a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  2. Cover the food processor with a kitchen towel--making superfine sugar produces sugar dust, and it can get the kitchen a little messy if you don't cover the processor.
  3. Turn the processor to high speed and process the sugar for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. After you process it, let the dust settle back into the processor for 10-20 seconds, then remove the lid. Your superfine sugar is now ready to be used! Store it as you would regular sugar.

Special Equipment ? 10 inch diameter angel food cake pan with 4 inch high sides and a removable bottom.  Do not use a non-stick pan as this will not allow this delicate cake to rise properly.

Directions for Cake:

  1. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Sift flour and ½ cup of the superfine sugar and salt into a medium bowl.  Repeat this sifting three times.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites, lime peel and vanilla on medium speed in a large bowl until frothy ( mixture may turn neon green but the color will change when the remaining ingredients are added) .
  3. Add cream of tartar; increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form.
  4. Gradually add the remaining one cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until soft peaks form.
  5. Sprinkle 1/3 of flour mixture over the whites and gently fold until incorporated,  Fold in the remaining flour mixture in two more additions just until incorporated.
  6. Transfer to an ungreased 10 inch angel food cake pan.
  7. Bake cake until pale golden and tester inserted near the center comes out clean.  Bake about 38 minutes.
  8. Immediately invert the center tube of the pan onto a neck of a bottle to cool the cake completely.
  9. Using a long thin knife, cut around the cake sides and center tube to loosen.
  10. Lift out the center tube with cake still attached; run the knife between the cake and the bottom of the pan to loosen.  Invert the cake onto a rack, then turn over and place on a cooling rack to frost this cake before transferring to the serving platter.

Directions for the Lime Syrup and Glaze:

  1. Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons of lime juice in a small sauce pan; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Brush syrup all over the top and sides of the cake.
  3. Immediately press pistachios onto the top and sides of the cake, pressing to adhere.
  4. Stir powdered sugar with remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice in a small bowl until smooth.  Drizzle glaze over top of the cake.  Let stand until the glaze sets, about 10 minutes.
  5. The cake can be made up to one day ahead.  Cover with a cake dome and serve at room temperature.
  6. Transfer cake to a platter; cut into wedges and serve.

 

Angel Food Cake with Fruit
Angel Food Cake with Fruit

Angel Food Cake -- Midwestern Version

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pastry flour (To create cake flour, combine two tablespoons of cornstarch with slightly less than 1 cup of all-purpose flour).
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups egg whites ? about 13 egg whites
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

  1. Sift sugar, adding ½ cup of sugar to the flour and sift together, repeating to incorporate all the sugar to the flour, repeat three times.
  2. Beat egg whites in and electric mixer with a wire whisk attachment until frothy.
  3. Add cream of tartar and salt and continue beating until the eggs whites are stiff enough to hold their shape.
  4. Add sugar gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  5. Then, fold in the flour, one fourth at a time.
  6. When all flour is folded in, fold a few additional times.
  7. Bake in a large ungreased angel food pan.  Bake at 325 degrees about 60 ? 75 minutes.
  8. Let cool, inverted over a bottle, for about an hour before removing from the cake pan.
  9. Cut around the tube and cake sides to help with a clean removal.
  10. After the center tube is lifted out, loosen the bottom of the cake by running a knife between the bottom of the pan and the cake.
  11. Enjoy with fresh fruit.

Again, this Midwestern version would not be glazed by my memory as this would have added calories to this ?low-calorie? treat!  This was garnished with fresh fruit and no added sugar, as in powdered sugar, added to this dessert.

Many miles separated these recipes, but I enjoyed researching the similarities this week as Elizabeth re-introduced a classic!