A Perfect Summer Dessert | Angel Food Cake [Recipe]

This is the perfect dessert for summer!  It’s a twist on the traditional strawberry shortcake.  Lightly sweet, fluffy, and fresh.  The cake itself is unlike any other, and making it from scratch is so much better than a box mix or buying it pre-made at a grocery store.  Homemade whipped cream is better as well, as most things are.  

The fruit choice is up to you; I used strawberries and blueberries that were left over from the 4th of July.  They were a little too soft to enjoy in salad, but by soaking them in sugar water, they had the perfect consistency for a dessert.  Baking desserts is my favorite type of cooking.  Here’s how to master this heavenly treat:

 

Your choice of fresh seasonal fruits

Sift together your dry ingredients until they are well blended and have a fine consistency.

Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add cream of tartar and vanilla.

Bake until the outside is golden. Test the middle, the knife should come out clean.

Let it cool completely, then flip the cake and serve as desired. It should have a light crunchy exterior and a perfectly white, spongy interior.

 

The Steps:

The Fruit

  • This is the easiest part.  I recommend doing this first so the fruit can chill while you prepare the cake.
  • First, wash and cut the fruit to your perfect size.  I quartered the strawberries and left the blueberries whole.  Then, fill the bowl with warm water and cover with sugar.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

The Whipped Cream

  • There are three ways to make this: by hand whisk, with an electric mixer, or with a stand mixer.  I have done it with all three methods, and the only difference is how long it takes.  Obviously the stand mixer gets the job done more quickly and less painfully.
  • Mix one cup of heavy whipping cream on high, with sugar and vanilla to taste (I used about half a tablespoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract).  Beat until the cream thickens into whipped cream.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

The Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour.  I used bread flour and it worked perfectly.
  • 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar.  (I know, it’s a lot!)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups egg whites.  I used 9 large egg whites.
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  1. Combine and sift together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, and salt.  It will take 3-5 turns until it reaches the right consistency, depending on the quality of your ingredients.  It should be very fine and well blended.
  2. Separate the egg whites and beat on high until stiff peaks form.  Add the cream of tartar and vanilla.
  3. Using the lowest speed on your mixer, or by hand, slowly mix in the dry ingredients.  You want the mixture to be extremely well-blended, with no clumps, but take care not to over-mix it, or the egg whites could fall.
  4. Put the mixture in a dry spring-form cake pan. Smooth the top.
  5. Place in a cool oven (do not pre-heat).  Bake at 325degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven.  My oven runs hot, and 50 minutes was a little too long.  The cake wasn’t burned, just a little too golden brown.  It should be a light golden brown color on the outside.  Test it to make sure it’s done in the middle.  If it still needs more time, but the color is right, cover it with foil and put it back in for a few minutes.
  6. Allow the cake to cool completely.  Remove the outer spring-form pan, flip the cake, and serve with the fruit and whipped cream.  I like to drizzle some of the sweet, fruit-infused water over the spongy cake as well.  Enjoy!
-Libbi Duncan, The Cornucopia Woman

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