Monday, July 5, 2010
We begin this blog with a bang, a recipe made 100 percent from scratch and for a holiday, too, bright red berries for the Fourth of July. I went the whole nine yards, and 12 eggs, for this one. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs, and you can't make an angel food cake without having 12 yolks left over.
Now, before someone jumps on this, yes, I know, technically, strawberry shortcake is made with shortcake biscuits. But I've already made biscuits, and I hadn't made angel food cake yet, and angel food's good with berries and cream, too, right?
So, onward. Onward through the typical sift-and-set-aside phase and on to merengue, aka "beat the crap out of it with the mixer, then keep beating it some more." But eventually, just keep going, and just when you arm starts to cramp a bit from holding the mixer, voila, stiff peaks.
Fold fold fold fold, do not stir, the dry stuff in, and into my new tube pan it went.
And almost an hour later, huzzah, cake!
I had farm-fresh strawberries in the freezer, and I had cream in the fridge, so the rest of this wasn't hard at all. And it was delicious. Oh, was it delicious. I even got the comment, "is this store-bought, or did you make this?" Considering the source, that was pretty high praise. And it disappeared mighty fast, too. :)
Angel Food Cake
This recipe is a composite of a bunch of recipes I found online, mix-and-matched according to my whims, so I can't quote a direct source.
1 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
12 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Sift together flour and 3/4 c of sugar (or just whisk them together in a bowl, if you don't feel like using the sifter).
3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they're a bit frothy, then add the cream of tartar and salt. Beat on high speed for a while longer, until it starts to come together into a soft, fluffy mass, then add the other 3/4 c of sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Continue to beat on high until when you turn off the mixer and pull the beaters out, you get stiff peaks.
4. Sift (sorry, this time you have to) the dry ingredients over the top of the egg white mixture and gently fold together (don't mix!) until incorporated.
5. Spread batter in a tube pan (do NOT grease the pan), then pick up the pan and drop it straight down onto the counter a few times to knock some of the bigger air bubbles out of the batter.
6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the cake is golden and springs back when you poke it in the center.
7. Tip the pan upside-down onto a rack and let cool. When cooled, run a butter knife around the edges and de-pan.
1. Place a reasonable amount of strawberries for the amount of people you're feeding into a good-sized bowl. (I think I used about a bit more than a quart of berries, but I didn't measure it.) If you have a lot of big berries, you may want to slice them up -- or you could just use a potato masher on them before serving, that's alright, too.
2. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar over the top of the berries and stir.
3. Put the bowl in the fridge and leave it for at least a few hours, so the sugar seeps in and the berries release some of their juices. Overnight would be even better.
1 c heavy (whipping) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp confectioners' sugar
Beat together on high until it becomes whipped cream. :)