Ok, so I’ve got cups full of egg whites as a result of making lots of custards, and I figure it’s time to make an angel food cake. Note to self: when you haven’t done something in 20 odd years, pay more attention. I get all my mise en place, do all the requisite sifting, and put the cup and a half of egg whites along with the cream of tartar, salt, and lemon rind in the bowl of my Mixmaster. This was my first mistake, as I thought 1 1/2 cups of egg whites is such a small amount, that I would not need the KitchenAid 7 quart bowl. Next mistake was turning my back on the Mixmaster (as it was going at breakneck speed) to make my Dad a cup of tea. I swear, it was ten seconds, and the next thing I know, there are foamy egg whites everywhere. All over the mixer, the table, my bread board, the baker’s rack, the mixer, under the mixer, and a few places I’m sure I haven’t found yet. !@#$%^&*()!
So I put the remaining foamy egg whites into the KitchenAid that I should have used in the first place, added another white for good measure, and followed the rest of the directions, after I had cleaned up as much of the mess as I could see. The rest of the preparation went okay, and the cake is now in the oven. While I’m waiting for it to bake, I might as well give you the recipe. It’s from “A World of Baking” by Dolores Casella. I’ve had this cookbook for years, and it’s a goodie.
1 C sifted pastry or cake flour
1 1/2 C superfine granulated sugar (I put cane sugar through the food processor.)
1/3 C cold water
1 1/2 C (about 12) egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp flavoring (I used grated lemon rind.)
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Heat the oven to 425F and place the tube pan in the oven to heat. Sift the flour with 1/4 cup of the sugar five times; set aside. In a LARGE bowl, combine the cold water, egg whites, salt, flavoring and cream of tartar. Beat with electric mixer until stiff. (Don’t look away like I did.) Very gradually, beat in the remaining 1 1/4 C sugar until mixture is stiff and glossy. At this time, say goodbye to the mixer and gently hand fold in the flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Then turn the batter into the preheated pan, taking care to not burn yourself. Use the big oven mitts, and it helps if your tube pan has a handle, like mine does. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then turn the heat off for 15 minutes. After the second 15 minutes are up, remove from the oven and invert to cool.
Well, I just took it out of the oven, and it has over-caramelized. I think this probably has to due with my oven acting up again, even though the temp read correctly when it went in. I think the next time I will try baking it in the countertop convection oven. At least I will be able to see what it’s doing. Yup, that’s right, the oven with the temperamental thermostat has no viewing window.!@#$!!!
Anyhow, the cake has finally cooled and I trimmed off the too dark bits, and………it’s very tasty! Very light and fluffy, as an angel cake should be, and it looks great, too. I served it with a bit of that lemon curd from the CIA book, and the only thing that would make it even better is to add a few fresh strawberries. So even with all my mistakes, this cake came out great. Can you imagine how good it would be if I were actually paying attention? Thanks, Dolores Casella!