Friday, June 21, 2013

A Failure in Baking - Angel food Cake

Molly woke up at 5 am this morning and after drowsily drinking my coffee, I decided that today would be the day to use up the 8 egg whites I had leftover from the trifle I made for Father's Day. The true lesson learned here is that one should not bake when they are sleep deprived and one can not get away with using less cream of tartar than the recipe calls for. It's kinda the secret ingredient in the mix.


I made the cake and tasted the batter which was like licking a spoon of pure sugar. It was good. Then I baked the cake and well, it didn't rise. You see, I only had 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and the recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of it. And you can't skimp! Baking is a science. I know this but I thought I could somehow circumvent it at 6 a.m. But I couldn't.


My friend tasted the cake and agreed, something was off. Her mom tried it and knew right away that I had tried to circumvent science. We had a nice chat about it and I admitted that I knew better. But why did I forge ahead? Because I was tired!


I'm still going to share the recipe with you today. It's from my absolute favorite cookbook which is out of print. It's the McCall's cookbook from 1962 and it is my good-to-cookbook. It has everything. And this angel food cake recipe (as long as you follow the recipe) is divine. Just don't try to get smarter than it. You're not. Well, at least I'm not.

McCall's Angel Food Cake
Serves 20

1 3/4 cups egg whites (12-14), warmed to room temp
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Sift flour with 3/4 cup sugar. Sift three times.
3. Beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
4. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
5. With wire whisky, gently fold in vanilla and almond extract.
6. Sift flour mixture, one fourth at a time over egg whites. Gently fold into whites about 15 times.
7. With a rubber scraper, gently push batter into an un-greased 10-inch tube pan. With a knife, cut through the batter twice then spread batter until it is smooth on top.
8. Bake on lower oven rack, 35-40 minutes.
9. Invert pan over neck of bottle and let cool completely - about 2 hours.
10. Serve plan or frost as desired.

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