Saturday, July 2, 2011

Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Sauce

To celebrate my grandmother’s birthday, we had her over for dinner on Friday night. My grandmother isn’t one to care much for sweets or anything too fattening. She’s pretty careful about her sugar intake and she has reason to be: everyone in her family, with the exception of herself, is diabetic.

I decided to make an Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Sauce. The white of the cake and the red of the sauce seemed fittingly patriotic as Friday had been Canada’s Day. I was slightly apprehensive about making an angel food cake because it was a cake I had never succeeded in make before. Every time I tried (okay, I only tried once but even one failure is enough to set in a fear so deep that it takes months before another attempt), the cake didn’t rise properly, sinking in the middle, instead of puffing up to its renowned airy stature.


Of course, I had forgotten to check how many eggs were left in the fridge the day before so when I rolled up my sleeves to start making the cake, I realized that I only had eight eggs and not twelve. Instead of attempting to make two-thirds of the recipe, I halved it and just used six eggs.

I’m not sure which factor accounted for the success of the cake: that I had used less eggs and had more room to stir or that I had used a different recipe. The cake turned out light, moist, and perfectly airy, albeit not quite as regal or tall as a regular twelve-egg cake.

I paired the cake with a homemade strawberry sauce. The strawberry sauce is beyond amazing: it’s thick (I hate runny sauces which just end up drowning the cake), slightly sweet, and full of strawberry flavour. My brother Kyle ended up dripping the sauce onto the floor as he licked the bowl clean and I, of course, ended up stepping in the sauce. But I didn’t mind. I’m willing to ruin a pair of socks for this sauce.

Click below for the recipes.


Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Sauce

Note: I halved the recipe because I didn’t have enough eggs. I still used the tube pan and reduced the baking time to 20 minutes. The cake turned out fine, although it wasn’t quite as tall as a normal angel food cake.

Ingredients:
Cake:
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 12 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (this is definitely the time to use the expensive vanilla, since the flavour will be so pronounced)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
Strawberry Sauce:
  • 300 g frozen sliced strawberries, thawed or frozen (it doesn’t really matter; if the strawberries are frozen, it will just take a little longer to cook)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

Cake:
For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.

In a the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).
Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan. If the cake seems sticky, just pop it in the fridge for a little while.

For the sauce, in large saucepan, combine ½ cup water liquid, and lemon juice. In a small bowl, stir the remaining water and cornstarch until smooth; mix the cornstarch mixture into the water. Add the strawberries. Over medium heat, stir the mixture until it boils and thickens. Cool completely. At this point, you sift the sauce to get rid of the big chunks of strawberries. DO NOT THROW THIS OUT, because I have another use for it. Refrigerate the sauce until ready to use.

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