angel-food cake.

Fluffy-as-a-cloud angel-food cake is sheer heaven after the heavy dessert-laden holiday season.

It’s the lowest in calories of all cakes – since there’s no fat in the cake and its main ingredient is egg whites.

Angel-food cake can be served often and at all times of the year. You can serve it plain, but I think it is best served with freshly-cut strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream. Even more decadent with a scoop of peppermint ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce (see my mom’s five-star recipes below).

Or, what the heck? Eat it with a mixture of all the toppings! (As many of our dinner guests did!)

If you want to be really savvy like my family, save up the egg whites from all the holiday recipes that call for egg yolks (i.e, challah bread, peppermint ice cream, etc.), and keep them in a container in the fridge or freezer until ready to bake the cake.

And make sure to sift your dry ingredients well — forgetting to do so will impede the cake’s ability to rise.

And don’t even think about greasing your angel-food cake pan — or else you’ll have an upside down angel-food cake falling out of the inverted pan and plopped onto the kitchen counter! 😉

This cake is great when it’s a little bit stale too – just cut into cubes and serve on sticks dipped in hot fudge sauce. YUM!

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Hope your day is SWEET!

peaches & cake

Angel-Food Cake
Recipe from McCall’s Cooking School Cookbook
Edited by Mary Eckley and Mary J. Norton, 1976
Serves 12

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  • 1 ¾ cup egg whites (12 to 14 whites, depending on the size of the eggs), room temperature*
  • 1 ¼ cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring), or 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sifted all-purpose flour**
  • ¾ cup + another 1 cup granulated sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • For serving: ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge sauce, and/or freshly-cut strawberries

*Note: to get good volume, let egg whites warm to room temperature before beating them.

**This recipe calls for cake flour, but this can be easily substituted with all-purpose flour with a simple conversion (1 cup cake flour = 1 cup minus two tablespoons all-purpose flour).

  1. Separate eggs while still cold from the refrigerator. Measure whites; pour into large bowl of electric mixer to warm to room temperature – about 1 hour. Sift flour; measure, then sift with ¾ cup sugar. Resift three times. Remove middle rack of oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. At medium speed, beat whites with salt and cream of tartar just until soft peaks form when beater is slowly raised. Do not overbeat. The bowl, beaters, whisk and a rubber spatula should be free of any grease as you pull it away from the egg white mixture.
  3. At high speed, gradually beat in 1 cup sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until stiff peaks form when beater is slowly raised.
  4. Remove bowl from mixer. With a rubber spatula, gently fold vanilla and almond extract into whites to combine.
  5. Sprinkle one fourth of flour mixture over whites. With a rubber spatula, using an under-and-over motion, gently fold flour mixture into whites (about 15 strokes), rotating bowl and quarter turn after each stroke, folding just until flour mixture disappears.
  6. Continue folding in the flour mixture, one fourth at a time, as in step 5. With rubber spatula, gently push batter into an ungreased 10-inch angel-food cake pan.
  7. With a knife, cut through the batter twice to remove any large air bubbles. Spread evenly, to smooth the top.
  8. Bake on lowest rack in oven for 35-40 minutes (remove the middle rack), or until top springs back when gently pressed with finger. Invert pan over the neck of a wine bottle to cool completely – about 2 hours. With knife loosen cake from side of pan; turn out. Serve right side up. Cut cake with a knife with a serrated edge, using a light sawing motion.

*Note: If you bake the cake a day ahead, leave it in the pan and remove it just before serving.

Optional Toppings:

Whipped Cream

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  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer or with a handheld electric mixer until soft peaks form.

5-Star Hot Fudge Sauce

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Makes 3½ Cups

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 tablespoons sweet cream butter, cut into small pieces

Chop both chocolates into small pieces.  Cook the cream in a 1½-quart saucepan until it is reduced by half a cup.  This will take approximately 15 minutes over moderate heat.  The cream tends to boil over very easily, so watch it closely.  Add the brown sugar and continue to cook until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolates, stirring until they melt.  Add the butter and stir until it is melted and incorporated.

This sauce will thicken when refrigerated.  Reheat it gently in a double boiler or in a microwave oven.  It will keep refrigerated for weeks.

Old-Fashioned Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

See blog post about peppermint stick ice cream here.

3 responses to “angel-food cake.

  1. Pingback: old-fashioned peppermint stick ice cream. « peaches & cake

  2. Rachel

    We used your recipe for Charlotte’s 4th birthday cake and it was delicious. I love the tip about cooling the pan over a wine bottle – so clever. 🙂 I wanted to share a tip about left-overs…obviously, this cake goes stale pretty quickly so if you have a smaller group that leaves you with some leftovers, save it for 1-2 days under plastic wrap in the fridge. You can slice the cake and toast the slices! So yummy with a crispy crust and topped with butter and strawberry jam!


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