This may sound odd coming from a confirmed chocoholic, but if I could only have one type of cake for the rest of my life, it would be angel food. For the Fourth of July I made a red, white and blue angel food cake, giving this classic cake red and blue layers and topping it with strawberry whipped cream. Light, cool, and sweet—just perfect for a hot summer day.
I didn’t get to try it, however, because I’m on a super strict diet. But my wonderful group of taste-testers did, and they all were very enthused. Need a laugh? I take all of the goodies that I am not allowed to eat to my weekly Watching Our Weight group and divvy it up. Talk about sabotage. But the biggest loser each week wins the pot, so can you blame me? Bwa ha ha.
This cake isn’t as high and fluffy as a regular angel food cake because it requires some manhandling of the batter to get the colored layers. Usually the batter is very gently folded and then spooned carefully into a tube pan. For this cake I had to actually spread the batter, which deflates some of those precious air bubbles. But it was still light and tender.
See? Still plenty high. And in case you’re wondering, the colors really were that vibrant. I used a concentrated food color from Wilton, and whoooooeeeee!
For best results:
- Line the bottom of the tube pan with parchment.
- Stir the colored batters as little as possible. It’s okay if the colored batter is a little streaky.
- Use concentrated or paste food coloring. It will take too much regular liquid color to get a nice red, and the liquid will destroy the air bubbles.
- Bake for an hour without opening the door to peek (unless you have a wonky stove and can’t trust it).
- I rarely use whipped topping in a tub, but it is more stable for this application. You can definitely use whipped cream, but the topping will be softer and won’t hold up as well in hot conditions.
- Room temperature egg whites are used. I suggest you separate the eggs while they’re still cold and then leave the bowl of whites out for an hour to warm up (covered, of course). If you try to separate the eggs when they are room temperature, the yolks tend to break. Ask me how I know!
If you haven’t made an angel food cake from scratch before, don’t panic. It isn’t hard at all. Room temperature egg whites, well-sifted flour, and squeaky clean utensils are all you need to remember. Well, and to follow the recipe:
|All-American Angel Food Cake|| |
- 1 cup sifted cake flour
- 1½ cups superfine sugar (important to use superfine)
- 1⅓ cups egg whites (about 11 eggs), room temperature
- 1¼ teaspoons cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (or ½ teaspoon almond or lemon) extract
- Concentrated red and blue food coloring, to achieve desired shade
- Powdered sugar, sprinkles if desired
- STRAWBERRY CREAM:
- 1 tub whipped topping OR 3 cups of sweetened whipped cream
- ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries (more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit - or jam.
- small fresh strawberries for garnish
- Heat the oven to 325 F.
- Prepare a tube pan by cutting a circle of parchment the size of the bottom of the pan and cutting a round hole in the middle so that it will fit over the tube. Do not grease or flour the parchment or the pan.
- In a small bowl, sift flour 3 times with ½ cup of the sugar.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle the salt and cream of tartar over eggs and beat until they hold soft peaks.
- Add the rest of the sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in flavored extract.
- Add the flour and sugar mixture ½ cup at a time, folding gently after each addition.
- Remove 2 cups of batter, placing 1 cup of each into a separate small bowl. Add red food color to one bowl and blue to the other, and fold in gently. Only stir as much as necessary; it's okay if it's streaky.
- Drop ⅓ of the white batter into the bottom of the lined pan and use the back of a spoon or a small spatula to spread evenly. Again, don't overwork the batter!
- Add all of the red batter and spread gently to cover the white batter. Using a thin spatula or knife, run all the way around the circle halfway between the tube and the side of the pan. Only do this once.
- Add ⅓ of the white batter, level it out, and top with the blue, spreading carefully. This time when you run the knife through the batter, keep it shallow so you don't disturb the red layer.
- Cover with the remaining white batter, smooth gently, and bake 1 hour at 325. Top should be deep golden brown.
- Turn pan upside down on cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Slide a knife around the side of pan to release the cake. Dust with powdered sugar. Add a few sprinkles if you wish.
- STRAWBERRY TOPPING:
- In a small bowl, stir the chopped berries and spreadable fruit together. If you are using whipped topping, stir together with the berry mixture until well combined. If you are using fresh whipped cream, fold the berry mixture into the topping as gently as possible.
- Keep topping refrigerated until needed. Place a dollop on each slice of cake and top with a berry.
That’s it! Bake it, cool it, and top it if you wish, though I love my angel food cake plain, too. Dust the cake with powdered sugar (and maybe a few sprinkles) to make it purty, and cut it with a serrated blade.
Hooray for the red, white and blue!