Monday, April 30, 2012

Cocoa Angel Food Cake

Just in the knick of time, here I am slipping in my April #baketogether entry. I resisted, but just barely, the temptation to lemon up Abby’s gorgeous Tangerine Angel Food Cake. You may have figured by now out that lemon is my not-so-secret-weapon in the kitchen - lemon and Worcestershire sauce, but that’s a story for another day.

Love the touch of cocoa in my version and the bit of extra vanilla. It’s a pretty, pale color and looks lovely with the strawberries, doesn't it? 

But what’s not to love about angel food cake in any flavor? Or color? I'm thinking of a pale pink  angel food cake <swoon>. Just yesterday I learned that India Tree has a line of natural food dyes (they use only vegetable colorants) and I would like to try them out on angel food cakes, for sure.
Do you like angel food cake? Do you have a fav recipe? Please tell me in the comments section. 
And, if you are even thinking about joining #baketogether in May, please do! 

Traditional, simple and delicious. I'm a fan!

Cocoa Angel Food Cake 
Makes 1 10-inch cake or about 12 servings.
Preheat oven to 350ยบ
One 10 x 4 angel food cake pan
(if your pan doesn’t have cute little feet to support it while cooling the cake, have ready a bottle or funnel to hold the pan in a level, upside-down position. Make sure to test this before your cake comes out of the oven.)
For the cake:
1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour

1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch baking soda
Pinch table salt

11 large (1 1/3 cups) egg whites, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 cup (7 ounces) superfine sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To make the cake:
Sift (I use a sieve) together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt three times onto a sheet of parchment, waxed paper or foil and set aside.
In the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increasing speed to medium, and beat until whites are opaque and climbing about half way up the bowl (the tracks from the whisk will be beginning to hold their shape) forming very soft peaks. Continue beating while slowly and continuously adding the superfine sugar in a slow steady stream. Beat on medium high until the whites are thick, shiny and form medium-firm, fluffy peaks. (The peaks should droop over gently.) Do not over beat. You want to leave some room for those whites to expand in the oven. Add the vanilla. Beat just until blended, about 10 seconds.
Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture over the beaten whites. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the whites. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, one quarter at a time.
Using the spatula to gently coax the batter, pour evenly into the prepared pan.  Smooth the top. Bake until the cake is light golden brown and the cake is springy when touched, about 40 minutes. Immediately invert the pan onto the counter if the pan has feet or if it doesn’t, invert the pan sliding the center tube onto the neck of the bottle. Let cool completely.
To remove the cake, rotate the pan, gently tapping the bottom edge of the cake pan on the counter as you turn it until the cake loosens from the pan. If necessary, run a long, thin knife between the cake and the pan and around the inside of the tube to loosen the cake. Slip the cake from the pan and gently lift it up from the center of the pan and arrange on a flat serving plate.
Cut the cooled cake using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. (Or, if your mother-in-law gave you an angel food cake knife when you got engaged – Ahem! That would be me – by all means break it out.)

Serve slices of cake with fresh fruit, fruit sauce (or compote) and whipped cream.