Lovin’ from the Oven

So, Valentine’s Day is almost here and do I have a scrumptious post for you! Me and Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder decided to take on a new challenge in the field of baking.  While Angel Food Cake is one of the easiest cakes to make straight from the box, we were curious to see how one would turn out from scratch. What’s in an Angel Food Cake anyways? How do you deliver that spongy goodness from the oven?

When any baking delima arises, we always consult the domestic villian herself, Martha Stewart. Here is what she had to say:

Classic Angel Food Cake

1 cup cake flour (not self rising)
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 3/4 cups large egg whites (about
     13 large eggs), room temp
1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with the rack in the center. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour and 3/4 cup sugar four times; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and the warm water on low speed until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. While beating, gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat on high speed until peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry, about 2 minutes (do not overmix).

Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Sift flour mixture over egg-white mixture in six parts, quickly but gently folding it in with a rubber spatula after each addition.

Gently transfer batter to an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Run knife through the batter to release any air bubbles, and smooth with a small offset spatula. Bake until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched, 35-40 minutes.

Invert pan onto its legs and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Carefully run a large offset spatula around the sides of the cake to loosen, then invert onto a wire rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

You heard her right, sift together flour and sugar FOUR TIMES.

Fresh eggs at room temperature.

Perfect strawberries for garnish.

Wisking egg whites until stiff.

Fresh from the oven.

Cool for 1 hour; watch the flowers bloom.

Slice, garnish and enjoy!
Now I must admit, while the pictures look quite perfect.  This poor little cake had a rough time of it.  Believing the best lessons learned are in your mistakes, here are ours: (dont’ laugh, you’ll hurt Mr. Spongy’s feelings.)
1. Eager to get things started, Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder added ALL of the sugar in the beginning. Not having enough flour and “superfine” sugar to start over we had to roll with it.
2. Accidentally buying pastry flour and later realizing it was whole wheat. Not great for the color or the texture. Oops.
3. Separating 12 eggs and busting a yolk on lucky egg 13. Needless to say we threw out all the eggs and picked up from that point in the process the next night with fresh eggs.
4. Removing the cake from the oven too soon. While most dishes continue baking after they have left the oven, don’t plan on this thing getting any firmer.  Make sure it springs to the touch BEFORE it leaves the oven. Or you can have a juicy cake like ours. Eww.
It was not easy to admit that an attempt at something new was a flop, but I think I learned more from baking this cake and making tons of mistakes than I would if it had turned out perfect.  Me and Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder had some good laughs and some “good griefs”, but a sweet cooking session none-the-less.
Just to make me feel a little better about my cake flop, here are some Valentine’s Cake Disasters. Wishing you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day!


Nothing says “I love you” like a broken heart cake.

Posted 2/11/10, Topic: Blog

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