No, you’re not. You’re not looking for another Angel Food Cake recipe. The recipe really doesn’t matter as much as the procedure. So, rather than look for a new written set of instructions, how about scrutinizing the steps that professionals take in creating this fat free dessert?
When you perfect the procedure for mixing cakes, all your recipes will come out better. I’ve told you before that it’s not the BAKING of cakes that causes problems, it’s the MIXING of cakes that creates the biggest mistakes.
The key to creating a great Angel Food Cake is in making the egg-white foam. Whipped egg whites give all the structure to this cake, as well the ability to leaven or rise. One of my best Chef-Secrets is to warm egg whites to 110F before whipping them. They hold more air at a warmer temperature and create better structure for the finished cake.
The most important part of an egg-white foam is knowing the difference between soft and stiff (or wet and dry) peaks.
Egg whites can hold a tremendous amount of air, evidenced by the difference in volume after they’re whipped. After a certain amount of time, the whisk will leave a trail or small white “peak” when pulled from the foam. If this peak quickly folds upon itself and falls back into the foam, it’s “soft” or “wet”. If the peak stands tall without moving, it’s “stiff” or “dry”.
An outstanding Angel Food Cake is achieved by creating an egg white foam to soft peaks. If the egg whites are over-whipped, the cake will set too quickly on the edges but will not have enough moisture to evaporate and leaven the center of the cake. This is the characteristic “fallen Angel” food cake.
This unique fat-free cake doesn’t need any help from baking powder or baking soda. It has no chemical leaveners at all! Yet another reason why MIXING is more important than BAKING in cakes, because the structure that you create by whipping egg whites, along with the moisture that turns to steam and evaporates, does the job of baking powder in most other recipes.
As soon as you’re finished mixing, your Angel Food cake will begin to lose air. NEVER knock the whisk against the side of the mixer bowl, bang a spatula against the baking pan, or slam an oven door because all your careful mixing will be for naught.
Bake your cake immediately! Remember, you’re losing air like a punctured tire and the more quickly your creation is in the oven, the more steam you’ll have to create a light, fluffy cake.
Angel Food Cake is a fantastic fat-free dessert and makes an excellent canvas for all fresh fruits, compotes, and dessert sauces. But, remember that how you mix the cake has more to do with success or failure than what happens in the oven.
Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You can experience his unique approach to no-recipe cooking with his FREE online cooking classes . The 7 minute class will change the way you think about cooking forever.