I am not a cake person. I am a pie and pastry person. Cake just doesn’t do it for me. There are a few kinds of cake that I happen to prefer over the others like Carrot Cake and Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, but my favorite kind of cake is Cheesecake and that’s not even a cake. So it’s pretty strange that out of the blue yesterday, on the way home from the gym, I had a craving for Angel Food Cake. That’s like the last cake on my ‘like’ list. Weird, I know. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was on my way home from the gym and the only cake my endorphins would allow was the lightest of them all. So I came home, pulled up a stool and my 2 year old and I set out to make a really boring cake.
As you all know, angel food cake uses only egg whites and since I am not one to waste anything I was wondering what I would do with the 9 egg yolks I would have leftover. My mom had the brilliant idea of making a curd to go with the cake. Ahh..things just got a little more interesting… fat has joined the party. I whisked my 9 egg whites until they peaked softly, folded in my twice-sifted flour ever-so-gently and poured my fluffy cake batter into the pan. My son and I watched patiently at the oven window as the cake slowly climbed and climbed and then 45 long minutes later the angel was ready to fly.
I took it out of the oven, set it to cool on a rack for a bit and then got impatient. I ran a knife around the edges of the pan and with my oven mit’s help, I slowly pushed up the center of the tube pan to expose the cake. It was perfect. It came out so easily, it didn’t crumble or fall apart. I was quite proud of myself. So proud that I was ready to show it off to my husband and son in the other room. I had my oven-mitted hand holding the base from the bottom as the tube pan’s outer shell was hanging on my wrist and I carefully walked into the den. Big, proud grin on my face.
Then the damn outer shell slipped down my arm and burnt the crap out of me. I yelped like a girl and watched as the cake I don’t even like fell hard on the floor. So that’s why they say to cool a cake an hour. Got it.
*Mark Bittman’s Angel Food Cake
(for the record, this was very, very delicious…for a cake.)
-1 cup cake flour*, sifted
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-9 egg whites, (reserve the yolks)
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp cream of tartar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 almond extract
-Preheat oven to 325.
-Sift together the flour and 1/2 cup of the sugar twice.
-In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat your egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks are formed.
-Add the remaining sugar and extracts and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
-Gently fold in your sifted flour/sugar mixture by hand.
-Pour the batter into an un-greased tube pan and bake 45 min-1 hour until the top is lightly browned and the cake is firm and springy.
-Invert onto a rack and cool FOR ONE HOUR. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and carefully remove the cake.
(*cake flour note-make your own by putting 2 TB of cornstarch in a 1 cup measure, then filling the rest with all purpose flour and sift 3X.)
Oh yeah, the curd. I have so much curd. Does anyone want any?
*Abbey’s Grapefruit-Orange Curd
-9 large egg yolks
-1 cup white sugar
-grated zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit and 2 small oranges
-1 1/2 cups grapefruit and orange juice (I needed 2 grapefruits and 2 oranges)
-2 sticks + 2 TB of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-In a medium saucepan, whisk together the yolks, sugar and zest on low heat until light in color.
-Add the butter and juice and turn the heat up to medium as you whisk until the butter is melted.
-Continue to whisk until the mixture is thickened and it begins to bubble.
-Allow it to simmer for a few seconds, then pour it through a sieve placed over a bowl.
-Stir in the vanilla and allow to cool.
-Cover and refrigerate to fully thicken.