I couldn’t pass up the beautiful Louisiana strawberries at the farmer’s market last Tuesday. Now I’ve got to figure out how to use them. Angel food cake is something I’ve always wanted to try and so I am going to bake an angel food cake topped with fresh sliced strawberries. And I’m going out on a limb by adapting the cake recipe for Passover.
Making an Homemade Angel Food Cake; Not so easy
In my opinion, homemade angel food cake is superior in taste, flavor and especially texture compared to store-purchased cake. Angel food cake is basically egg whites which have been beaten to a thick foam with sugar, flour and vanilla extract folded in. How hard can this be to make? It turns out–very hard. I did everything according to the recipe; still my cake “fell”. But it tasted good!
My mother-in-law gave me her recipe for homemade angel food cake. She says that many years ago and back in the days when she was a stay-at-home mom, she baked angel food cake every every week! Her husband loved it.
I thought I’d adapt the recipe for Passover for substituting potato flour for the cake flour. This also make the cake gluten-free. I topped the cake with fresh strawberries, salted nuts and a custard cream sauce. Delicious!
There aren’t many ingredients in an angel food cake. Just a lot of egg whites. The recipe calls for 12 eggs – that’s an entire carton. So I cut the recipe in half; making a small cake with 6 egg whites.
Making the recipe–several tips.
This cake is difficult to make, but I’m trying anyway.
To be successful, here are several tips.
- My mother-in-law’s recipe says you can’t make the cake on a humid day. It will be sticky. Every day in Louisiana is humid. So I’ll have to ignore this tip.
- Secondly, the eggs should be at room temperature. This tip I can do.
- Third, the egg beaters and bowl need to be clean and dry. No food particles or oil can be left on the beaters or the egg whites won’t beat into a foam.
- Lastly, not a drop of egg yolk can be mixed in with the whites. So discard any egg whites that don’t crack correctly. I’m using a tried and true egg separator. Simple but it works every time to easily separate the whites from the yolks.
To make the cake, beat the egg whites on high speed until they are frothy. Add cream of tartar and salt. Cntinue beating until egg whites stand upright. This is the hardest part: knowing when soft but stiff peaks form. This can take 5 or more minutes. Gradually and slowly pour in most of the sugar while continuing to beat on a high speed.Then very gently fold in flour, remaining sugar and vanilla using a spatula and a lifting motion.
Cake flour is not allowed during Passover. Interestingly, baking powder is allowed! To adapt the cake for Passover, I used potato flour rather than cake flour. Hum, the taste was okay, a little grainy. So on the next cake, I used Manischewitz Pancake Mix prepared for Passover. It contains a finely ground matzo cake meal. Yum! The cake made with potato flour is gluten-free but the cake with pancake mix contains gluten.
What do you do with the egg yolks?
Egg whites are cholesterol-free and almost fat free. Angel food cake is a very healthy and low-fat cake. So what does a person do with all the egg yolks? The easiest solution is to throw them away. However, I used them to make an egg custard sauce. Creamy, high in protein (and cholesterol) and very tasty. I used this as a topping for the cake.
Small Angel Food Cake with Passover Adaption
- 3/4 cup egg whites (6 large eggs, separated)
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar (measured lightly and sifted twice)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cake flour (for Passover substitute potato flour or Manischewitz Pancake Mix)
Method and Steps
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Beat egg whites until frothy and add cream of tartar and salt.
- Continue beating until egg whites stand upright.
- Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar.
- Fold in the vanilla extract.
- Fold in gradually the flour (or potato flour or Manischewitz Pancake Mix) and remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
- Pour into ungreased 10 inch tube pan and bake 50 minutes at 325 degrees F.
- Invert pan until it is entirely cold.