Keep it light with angel food cake and berries
August 1, 2008
Light and spongy angel food cake is the perfect summer dessert, pairing well with a delicate whipped cream frosting and berries. Here it is baked and decorated as individual cakes. Use whatever berries are fresh.
This recipe calls for a 6-cup mini-Bundt pan, which resembles a cross between a muffin pan and a Bundt cake pan. For an especially nice garnish, sprinkle each cake with shaved dark and white chocolate.
Preparation time, start to finish: 3 hours (30 minutes active). Makes 6 servings.
1/2 cup sifted plain cake flour
3/4 cup sifted sugar
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
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1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, divided
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 pint raspberries (or other fresh berry)
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 F. Lightly coat a 6-cup mini-Bundt pan with baking spray (a combination of flour and oil).
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and half of the sugar. Set the flour mixture and remaining sugar aside.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites on low speed until just broken up and beginning to froth. Add the cream of tartar and salt, and beat at medium speed until the whites form very soft, billowy mounds.
With the mixer still at medium speed, beat in the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the whites are shiny and form soft peaks. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of the almond extract. Beat until just blended.
Place the flour mixture in a sifter set over waxed paper. Sift the flour-sugar mixture over the egg whites, and use a large rubber spatula to gently fold in. Sift in any flour-sugar mixture that falls onto the paper.
Gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan, dividing it evenly between the cups and smoothing the top with a spatula. Give the pan a couple of raps on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
Bake until the cakes are golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly, 45 to 50 minutes.
To cool, overturn the pan on a cooling rack and let cool 2 to 3 hours.
Slide the tip of a paring knife around the edges of each cake to remove them from the pan. Set each on a serving plate.
To prepare the whipped cream: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to beat the cream, powdered sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon almond extract on high until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes.
Use a large spoon to dollop whipped cream into the center of each cake.
Divide the raspberries between the cakes, piling them on and around each cake.
(Cake recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated magazine’s “Baking Illustrated,” America’s Test Kitchen, 2004)
– AP food editor J.M. Hirsch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.