Recipe: Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

Now that strawberry season is upon us…

I love strawberries, and whenever I think of them I crave angel food cake and whipped cream.  This is my favorite recipe for angel food cake, while it does involve some prep work, trust me it is totally worth it. It is Alton Brown’s recipe, whom I love. Here is the link for his how-to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MLMgkxQgNE, and here is part two:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsjMuq6K1n0&feature=related. If you have time I recommend watching it, he goes into detail about the science  behind egg whites, which I found very enjoyable.

Ingredients:

1 cup cake flour-sifted
1 1/4 cups confectionery sugar or 1 3/4 cup sugar put through a food processor
12 egg whites-close to room temp
1 tspn vanilla
1/4 tspn salt
1 1/2 tspn cream of tartar
1/3 cup warm water

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine cake flour, half sugar, and salt in large bowl. Sift together and set aside.

One very fresh egg

Now separate the egg whites from the yolks. I recommend using the three bowl method. Take one small bowl, and two medium bowls, placing the small in the middle, and one medium on each side. Crack egg on small middle bowl, separating yolk from white, putting whites in one bowl and yolk in another. Do this for each egg. Be careful not to contaminate the whites with the yolk, this is very important. If you mess up that’s what the middle bowl is for, just save it for something else.

Once whites are separated put in large metal bowl, and add cream of tartar, water and vanilla extract. Whisk together for two minutes, then switch to a hand mixer.

Slowly sift in reserved sugar into egg whites, beating until medium peaks are formed, when you turn off the mixer and pull the beaters out the egg white mixture should form stiff peaks, and not quickly drop off. When medium peaks are achieved, sift in flour mixture, dusting the top and folding it in gently with a spatula, do this in three separate stages.

When flour mixture is incorporated nicely into egg white mixture, pour into an ungreased tube pan, and gently shake pan to even out, do not flatten mixture with spatula. Bake for 35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

When cake is done cooking flip over upside down onto drying rack, and let cool for 1 to 2 hours, I usually cannot wait very long, but the longer the better. When cooled, put on plate, and remove first part of pan, then slowly cut away the top part of the cake from the bottom part of the pan. Now its time for the fun part: Whipped Cream and Strawberries.

Easy Homemade Whipped Cream:

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 tbspn confectionery sugar

Method:

Beat heavy cream in bowl until stiff peaks are just about to form, add in sugar and vanilla, and continue beating. Be careful not to over beat or cream will become lumpy. Make as much or as little of this as you desire, I usually just pour some cream in a bowl, whip it up,  and add sugar and vanilla to taste.

My favorite part of making angel food cake is the decorating. Gently spread whipped cream over cooled angel food cake, and decorate with sliced strawberries. We just started picking the first few strawberries of the season last week, so hopefully it will not be too long before we can harvest enough for everyone to enjoy! Last time I made this I was in Michigan visiting my family, and I volunteered to cook for our family’s Friday night shabbat dinner. After dinner was over, I had my cousins helping me decorate the cake. I had two cutting the strawberries, while I made the whipped cream in a hurry, and then had my cousin Remy who is about 9 decorate the cake. The family loved it, and I am pretty sure there was nothing left after, which is always a good sign. Plus Remy was very proud of her cake decorating skills.

Note: once you’ve made this a few times, I like to experiment using different pans, other than the traditional tube pan.

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