A terrible thing happened this weekend in Orlando. From news channels and social media to café small talk, all of it revolved around the shock, the grief, the anger, the speculation, the analysis. There is a sense of déjà vu. Whether it is Orlando, California, Oregon or Charleston, the talks are the same, the reactions are the same. The common people talk about gun control, the erudite talk about deeper issues in society and the families and friends mourn. The actions taken may seem feeble, even complacent, the discussions may feel repetitive, there maybe some hostility in the air but the talks are important. The momentum generated through the thousands of tweets shows that for every lost individual who resorts to guns, there are millions out there who condemn violence and stand up for peace and assimilation.
These are the days I want to be grateful for love and beauty and small things that make me happy.
Another classic – it gives the impression of something pure and simple and innocent with the pillowy cloud like structure and melts in your mouth lightness.
Angel food cakes might seem a bit intimidating to make. How will I achieve that lightness? How will I achieve that softness? Should I just get a box from the grocery store?
I know, I had the exact same questions on my mind when I first tasted Angel food cake (which was fairly recently). But it really is no rocket science. I did have to go out and buy cake flour.
My cake looks very white on the lower part, because I only have a light tube pan that does not give golden coloring or crust. If you like a darker crispier crust on your Angel Food Cakes, remember to use a pan that you know will give you a good crust. Usually darker colored pans should do the trick.
What I learnt
- Most of the recipes out there ask for cream of tartar. I didn’t have it, so I substituted lemon juice. My cake still turned out fine and tasted great.
- Don’t let any yolk fall into the egg whites or they won’t stiffen properly while whisking.
- Use an ungreased pan against all your natural instincts.
- Cool the cake inverted!! I often don’t bother to read the last bit of a recipe, you know after the “bake the cake for 30 mins”. But if I hadn’t, I would not have known to cool this cake inverted so that it does not deflate.
- Don’t go overboard like me and load it up with fruit, it will start to sink!! Or totally do it if it makes you happy.
Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and Summer Fruits
(Adapted from Food.com)
Serves 4 appropriate portions
32gms, ¼ cup cake flour
50gms, ¼ plus ½ tbsp very fine sugar (just give your regular sugar a whiz in the food processor)
94gms egg whites from 3 large eggs
pinch of salt
1½ tsp lemon juice or ¼ + 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
42gms, ¼ cup very fine sugar
1tsp vanilla paste / extract
½ cup whipping cream
1 cup mix of berries or any summer fruit you like, mixed with ½tbsp sugar and ¼ tsp vanilla paste
Preheat oven to 375F/190C
Sift the cake flour and ¼ cup + ½ tbsp sugar a few times to aerate it; set aside.
Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until it forms peaks. Add the extract and other ¼ cup of sugar slowly, beat on high until stiff peaks form. Just hold the whisk up to see if the whites hold their shape and are not floppy.
Remove from mixer and sift in flour mixture into the egg mixture in 3 additions, fold gently after each addition till well combined and no lumps can be seen. Don’t overwork it. This step can be done in the mixer on low setting; I prefer to fold in by hand. Make sure you fold in the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl.
Spoon into an angel food cake pan or a tube pan. Move a knife through batter to remove air pockets. Bake 15 – 20 mins or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger or skewer inserted in dry and completely clean.
Invert pan onto a plate and make it balance on the tip of its funnel or use a beer bottle, cool cake for an hour. To remove, run a knife around the rim of the cake pan then tap sides till cake falls onto the plate.
Let cool further 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whip up the cream. Chop the fruits and let it sit with the sugar and extract for a few minutes. Finally ladle everything onto the cake like a true gourmand and eat.