Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rainbow Angel Food Cake

Apologies for the lack of a post for a bit there, I've been focusing more on the redesign than the actual blogging lately and, well, I've accepted that I won't have the new design done for today. Then again, its the posts that are important, so here's a recipe that I'm really proud of.

Along with pilfering my mom's bread maker and waffle maker that she never used when I was back in DE for the holidays, I grabbed her mini-bundt cake pan, cookie press, and angel food pan as well. She'd be the first to admit that she would never use them again, so I feel no guilt in taking them. And I had been tempted to buy my own angel food pan for a while. Who doesn't like a little sweetness after a rich and savory dinner, and angel food cake is relatively guilt free. It also helped that since I bought an ice cream maker on clearance last fall, I had a lot of left over egg whites in my freezer. A lot. Which is a good thing because angel food cakes are a lot harder to make than it first appears. This cake represents try #4 for me.

On my first attempt at angel food, I tried using the store bought egg whites rather than the ones in my freezer because I read that frozen egg whites don't work well (apparently a myth by the way). Well, after a bit of fluffing, folding, and fussing, the cake went into the oven, and 35 minutes later I had a light and foamy top with an omelette bottom. Try 2 ended up much the same, although more omelettey. Deciding to give up on the store bought egg whites and switch to separated eggs, try 3 ended up as a spectacular failure when the eggs never whipped at all. And thus I felt doomed to never get an angel food cake to turn out correctly.

Until this past Wednesday when Serious Eats posted this post about a rainbow colored cake. The follow-through blog post by Aleta at The Omnomicon has apparently turned somewhat controversial, but the idea of using food coloring to add some visual appeal to a cake is still pretty cool in my book. So, I decided on last go for an angel food cake. Fortunately for me, and select people at work, this one came out perfect.

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Rainbow Angel Food Cake:
1 1/4 cup egg whites, no yolk!
1 tbsp. water
1 cup cake flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream or tartar
1 tsp. almond extract
liquid food coloring

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
2. Sift together the flour, half the sugar, and salt and set aside in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand whisk, whip the egg whites till foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whip using a hand mixer till you get firm peaks. Using a silicone spatula, fold in the almond extract. Fold the sugar in with the egg whites in multiple batches.
4. Sift enough of the flour mixture onto the egg whites to cover the top and fold in. Repeat until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
5. Divide the batter into 5 portions in small bowls and add 1/2 tsp. food coloring for each color you want. For some colors (e.g. orange), you'll need to combine two colors (e.g. red and yellow) to get the 1/2 tsp. Gently fold the color into the batter.
6. Pour the batter into your angel food pan, don't try to even out the batter as it will rise evenly when in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
7. After removing the cake from the oven, flip the pan upside down and leave it alone for at least an hour. After the hour, use a fine knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and separate the two parts of the pan. Then use the knife to loosen the cake from the bottom of the pan.

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Don't try to even out the batter as you'll only mix the colors up. The cake will rise evenly as it bakes.

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You can see four of the five colors I used, and that I didn't mix the green very thoroughly. I rather like the white streaks though.

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They white streaks really provide some visual contrast when the cake is sliced.

So, it took me four tries to finally get it right, but I'm pretty happy with how this cake turned out. Its light and airy just like an angel food cake should be, but also has a nice dense feeling that makes you think its a richer cake than it really is. The coloring also makes it more interesting than a simple hum-drum angel food cake. I will note that for those who don't like the idea of using that much food coloring in a single cake, just keep in mind that your general red velvet cake uses a good 2 tbsp., or nearly double what I used here.

1 comment:

Darius T. Williams said... yup - this looks fantastic...such a great surprise too.