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Angel Food Cake

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Description

A gluten free Angel Food Cake from scratch…now that is the kind of culinary challenge I like. And so that was my challenge for the month of May, in honour of Celiac Awareness Month.

For many years I made (and later bought) an Angel Food Cake and took it to my friends annual piano soiree. An annual event where I would perform one piano piece and as it turned out, an annual event where I would take an Angel Food Cake decorated with fresh pansies.

It’s a piece of cake as they say…if you can buy the Angel Food cake. Just cut it in half, fill it with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with fruit and edible flowers. Everyone thinks it is a masterpiece and I suppose it is. 

Essentials for Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake is a light, airy sponge cake made with a dozen egg whites whipped full of air. Egg whites from real eggs are essential. Do not use egg whites from a carton which have been heated in processing.

The cake should be cooked and cooled in an Angel Food Cake pan with tall sides. Some pans have a removable bottom, some don’t. Some have little feet used to cool the cake, some don’t. You can cook this cake in different pans but if you are going for the classic look you may want to purchase or borrow the correct pan. I borrowed one from my sister.

Two essential steps for baking an Angel Food Cake are to bake the cake in an ungreased pan and cool it upside down. Yes, really. Not greasing the pan allows the cake to stick to the sides of the pan and climb up it as it bakes. Cooling it upside down helps maintain the light, airy texture. I remember my mom cooling Angel Food cake on an inverted drinking glass. I don’t remember eating the cake but I definitely remember seeing it upside down on the counter.

I always plan to use the leftover yolks to make homemade lemon curd. It is also delicious as a filling in this cake.

From Everyday to Gourmet for Angel Food Cake

I don’t bake a lot of cakes but some occasions call for cake. So if I’m serving cake it is going to look gourmet.

Since that piano soiree was always held in June I chose colourful spring pansies. I actually buy them with this dessert in mind. I plant them every spring and use the edible blossoms every chance I get. This simple garnish is stunning and definitely gourmet.

Flour for Angel Food Cake

Only when you start to cook gluten free do you realize the amazing properties of wheat flour. No single gluten free flour can replace all the properties of wheat flour. Purchased flour mixes work fine for some recipes but not all.  This recipe has a combination of flours and if you want great results I recommend you use them as written.

If your baking results are not as good as you wish they were then try to be a little more precise with your measurements. Measuring flour by weight rather than by cup is one of those little steps. That is why this recipe only has measurements by weight.

Thanks to Nicole over at Glutenfree on a Shoestring  for her homemade cake flour blend recipe and the cake. This is my take on her recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

CAKE FLOUR BLEND
90 g superfine white rice flour (I use the Asian brand, Erawan)
73 g cornstarch
43 g tapioca starch
40 g brown rice flour
30 g nonfat dry milk powder (substitute soy milk powder for dairy free)
10 g potato starch
5 g xanthan gum
ANGEL FOOD CAKE
¾ cup icing sugar (first amount)
140 g cake flour blend (see above)
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
12 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup warm water
1½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup icing sugar (second amount)
WHIPPED CREAM FILLING
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
GARNISH – fresh fruit and edible flowers

Directions

1
CAKE FLOUR BLEND
2
Make cake flour blend by weighing each ingredient and combining them in a food processor. Process for one minute to finely grind the milk powder and mix everything. Store in an airtight container.
3
ANGEL FOOD CAKE
4
Preheat the oven to 350°F. DO NOT grease the Angel Food Cake pan.
5
Place a strainer over a bowl and add first amount of icing sugar, cake flour, xanthan gum and salt straining it into the bowl. Move the strainer over a second bowl and again sift the mixture into that bowl. Repeat sifting the mixture 4 times.
6
In the large bowl of a stand mixer beat the egg whites, water, cream of tartar and vanilla on medium-high speed.
7
Gradually add the second amount of icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Continue beating on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. Increase speed to high and beat until peaks become stiff and glossy, 2-3 minutes.
8
In stages sift the flour mixture onto the egg white mixture and gently folding it in. Pour the batter into the Angel food cake pan. Lightly tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle the batter.
9
Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake upside down on an inverted glass or bottle until completely cooled, about 2 hours.
10
FILLING
11
Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks. Prepare the fruit.
12
ASSEMBLY
13
Once the cake is completely cooled remove it from the pan. I use a small plastic spatula to do this. Using a serrated knife cut the cake in half horizontally. Place the bottom half on a pedestal tray (easier for decorating and makes a nice presentation).
14
Top with half of the whipped cream and push some fruit into the cream. Place the top half of the cake on top.
15
Drop whipped cream onto the top of the cake by the spoonful pushing it close to the edges but not over the sides. Decorate with more fruit or fresh edible flowers. Refrigerate until serving.

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