Homemade Angel Food Cake

This recipe solved two problems I have been having. First and foremost I was shocked to discover how expensive Amish/homemade angel food cakes were at the farmers market. It seems the going price is around $7, which seems insane for something primarily made from egg whites, flour, and sugar. My second dilemma is that we have a surplus of eggs since I have gone on summer break from school in early June (many of my coworkers take them off our hands). So with all of these extra eggs laying around this recipe seemed divinely inspired.

It takes 12 egg white, which is awesome if you have your own chickens and a bit of a pain if you don’t, either way this is completely worth it. The other bit of this is that you need a tube pan which I didn’t own, but went out and purchased simply because I was already a little worried how it would turn out and didn’t want to take any chances starting out on the wrong foot. Not expensive.. $12 I think.

Perhaps the biggest thing that surprised me here was that you fill the pan all the way up to the top with the batter. It does rise just a bit while in the oven, but then settles back down right to where it started as it cools. Also you need to make sure you have a bottle lying around so that you can invert the pan upside down after it comes out of the oven.

I borrowed this one from Joy the Baker who borrowed it from  Alton Brown. 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup cake flour, sifted

12 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/3 cup warm water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, grind sugar for about 2 minutes.  This will help create a super fine sugar that will be better absorbed into the egg whites.

Place half of the sugar in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, sift together the remaining sugar, salt, and cake flour.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites, water, extract, and cream of tartar medium speed.  If you’re worried that the cream of tartar is too chunky… don’t worry, it’ll smooth itself out.  Beat on medium high, gradually adding the sugar from the small bowl, until medium (not stiff) peaks form.  The meringue will hold a trail of the beaters through it, be glossy, and won’t be overly foamy.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift in one quarter of the flour and sugar mixture.  Fold with a spatula.  Try to avoid stirring the mixture too much.  Instead, sweep the egg whites from the bottom of the bowl to the top, incorporating the flour.  Add flour mixture in three more batches.  Fold until thoroughly combine, but don’t overmix or deflate the egg whites.

Spoon battering into an ungreased tube pan.  Ungreased in is important, as it will help the cake rise.  The tube pan will be full.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Remove cake from the oven and carefully invert upside down, propped up on a bottle.  This cake cools upside down.  Let rest for at least an hour before trying to remove from the pan.

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