All-American Angel Food Cake

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
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 325 F.
  2. 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.
  3. In a small bowl, sift flour 3 times with ½ cup of the sugar.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the rest of the sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in flavored extract.
  6. Add the flour and sugar mixture ½ cup at a time, folding gently after each addition.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Cover with the remaining white batter, smooth gently, and bake 1 hour at 325. Top should be deep golden brown.
  12. 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.
  13. STRAWBERRY TOPPING:
  14. 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.
  15. Keep topping refrigerated until needed. Place a dollop on each slice of cake and top with a berry.

 

 

Gradually add flour mixture to eggs.

Fold food coloring into divided batter.

Gently spread one third of white batter on bottom of pan. Cover with all of red batter.

Run a spatula or knife through the batter, one time. Go all the way around the circle, halfway between the tube and the side of the pan.

Repeat with layer of white, then blue. Go shallow when you run the spatula around the center so you don’t disturb the red. Top with remaining white batter.

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!

Lorinda

 

Star Spangled Cookies

Each month a group of crazy food bloggers gets together to make theme-related recipes. This month we’re running with a rousing patriotic Red White and Blue theme! After you’ve read this post, click on the links at the bottom of the page to see what the other gals have come up with. There are still a few to come, so check back every morning for the latest creation.

Can you hear the John Philip Sousa march playing in the background? Smell the burgers on the barbecue? See the kids lined up at the fireworks stand? Independence Day is right around the corner, and do I have a fun recipe for you! Kids will love to help with this one. Presenting…Star Spangled Cookies!



Star Spangled cookies I used cinnamon Jolly Ranchers for the red cookies. You’ll find lots of hard red candies to choose from, and may prefer cherry or strawberry flavors. Your biggest challenge will be finding hard blue candy. I used Dum Dum suckers from the dollar store, but found that there was blue and then there was blue.

My first batch turned green when they baked. Apparently blueberry flavored suckers held their color, and blue raspberry didn’t. I recommend that you test one or two cookies first, just to be sure they’ll turn out a nice, patriotic blue. Red white and green just doesn’t have the same impact. Unless you’re Italian.

I have two more options for you. I tried baking the cookies until they were almost done and then pulled them from the oven and VERY carefully dropped the crushed candy in the centers, returning them to the oven just until the candy was melted. That worked quite well. The candy didn’t cook as long, so it didn’t get that amber tone to it. (Yellow + blue = green, as I found out.)

The other option is to make your own hard candy. It’s really very easy to do. Here’s a simple hard candy recipe from Lorann Oils. I would recommend making the candy, letting it harden, and crushing it. Pouring hot candy into the small star centers would be very tricky. If you have better hand-eye coordination than I do, you might be able to pull it off. I’d make a mess of that!

Whoops…did I say two options? I have one more, though it’s a little artsy-fartsy. I think it’s pretty, and you could mix colors this way too. Bake your cookies and as soon as they’re done, add the crushed candy. The heat from the cookie and the baking sheet will partially melt the candy. It won’t be smooth and flat, but as long as the candy is touching the sides of the cookie in a few spots, it will stay put. Kind of interesting, huh?

This is fun, too!

This is fun, too!

I used a strong freezer bag and a hammer to crush my candy. It worked like a charm and got some of that aggression out! Star Spangled Cookies horizThe cookie itself is a sturdy shortbread. If you have a favorite sugar cookie recipe that doesn’t spread too much, that would work well too. You’ll need two star cookies, one large and one smaller. Here’s my recipe and easy instructions.

Star Spangled Cookies
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Author:
Festive, summery shortbread cookies with a stained-glass candy window in the center. Makes about 36 cookies, depending on the size of your cutters.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (clear vanilla, if you have it)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup crushed blue hard candy
  • ½ cup crushed red hard candy
  • For decorating: ½ cup white chocolate chips, sprinkles, nonpareils.
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) beat the butter and powdered sugar together until creamy.
  2. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add the flour and cornstarch. Mixture will be stiff - switch to a dough hook or stir by hand if necessary. Cover and chill for one hour.
  4. Heat oven to 350 F.
  5. Roll dough out to ¼-inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Using a large star cookie cutter, cut out stars and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
  6. With small cookie cutter, cut a star out of the middle of each.
  7. Carefully put enough crushed candy in the center of each cookie to cover the parchment, but don't overfill or it will bubble up the sides. Use a toothpick to distribute the candy evenly. Make sure there are no little bits of crushed candy on the cookie dough. (Use the toothpick to flick them down where they belong!)
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes. Place baking sheets on cooling racks and let the cookies cool completely.
  9. Drizzle the cookie with white chocolate or royal icing if desired, and sprinkle with sugar decorations.

 

Here's what you'll need (plus fun decorations)

Here’s what you’ll need (plus fun decorations)

Distribute the crushed candy.

Distribute the crushed candy.

Just think of how pretty these will look in a basket on your picnic table this Fourth of July. They’ll be a hit with young and old alike. Now strike up that band and march over to these blogs to find some other great recipes!

Lorinda

Devilish Buffalo Eggs From Tampa Cake Girl.
(deconstructed) Berry Pies From An Affair from the Heart.
Double Decker Patriotic Pizookie From Cooking From a Stay at Home Mom.
Berry Pound Cake From Moore or Less Cooking Blog.
Red, White (chocolate) and Blue Trifles From Aunt Bee’s Recipes.
Red White and Blue Berry Poke Cake From Crumbs in My Mustachio.