Whenever my husband and I attend a gathering or event where we need to sign up to bring a food item, 95% of the time I will sign up for dessert. I’m sure that won’t surprise anyone who has read this blog before. But even though I like making sweets, I still feel a lot of pressure to make something that all or most people will enjoy. So my rule of thumb is to stick with a classic but with a twist. Take for instance those Mexican Brownies from a couple months ago and this Citrus Angel Food Cake. It is just a plain old Angel Food Cake with a twist. I added some orange and lemon zest. The flavor is evident, but not overwhelming. And the perfect flavor combination for Summer.
If you have never made Angel Food Cake from scratch before, it is actually much easier than you might think. Sure, it does require lots of egg whites. Like a whole freaking dozen of them, but everything else is probably stuff you already have in your pantry.
What sets Angel Food Cake apart, is how light and airy it is. That is achieved through the “meringue” made by whipping up all dozen egg whites with a bit of cream of tartar, water, and sugar. At this point, you could also whip in whatever flavors you like. For instance, you could add vanilla to get a classic Angel Food. Or other extracts to take on any other flavor, like coconut, orange, raspberry, almond, etc.
Once the egg whites form soft peaks (the picture above is probably closer to stiff peaks), I fold in the flour mixture. Because the flavor for this cake comes from the orange and lemon zest and not an extract, I whisked the zest into the flour mixture instead of into the egg whites.
Like any other cake, you will know it is done with the top is brown and you can stick a knife or toothpick in and it comes out cleanly. The difference with Angel Food is that it has to cool completely…upside down. I like to find a bottle with either a tapered neck or a top that is just as big as the hole in my tube pan and flip it over to rest perfectly on the bottle. It may take a bit of coordination, but should balance just fine as long as you leave it alone (lesson learned the hard way for me). Don’t worry the cake won’t slip out!
Once you are ready to serve, take a knife all the way around the edge of the cake, between the cake and the pan. Afterwards, and maybe with a bit of coaxing, the cake should slide right out. Cut into slices and serve with some whipped cream and fruit, or eat all on its own!