Hello... I am back from my short hiatus with cake.
Here we are in November where the weather has taken a turn and Thanksgiving is starting to nudge more permanently in my mind and thoughts. October was a blur. Since I last posted, fires continued to blaze through Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, I turned 25 and transformed into a Hobbit for the day.
It was difficult to find the right words to say these past few weeks and to put myself out there on the Internet. It's challenging to balance stuff that is going on in the world without either ignoring it or sounding like everything is always so dreary. Even though I wasn't here, I was still making food, working on some Hapkido projects but mostly enjoying my introvert time. It made me grateful that I don't blog full-time or have to be "on" the Internet full-time but I suppose if this was my job rather than a personal hobby, it would be a little different. It was especially nice to take a break from posting on Instagram for a while. But, we'll talk about my feelings about Instagram on another day.
I've always been an avid member of #teampie but ever since making my birthday cake, I've been dreaming about taking a stab at cake more often than I have in the past. Most of those dreams revolve around layered cakes, ombre colors, cake stands and piping bags but first lets take a step back to good ol' cake with no frosting and no fluff. Homemade Angel Food Cake (like most things homemade) is a thousand times better than anything store-bought. Kristen was really into Angel Food Cake for a while. For my 21st birthday, Kristen made me a Vanilla Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache and chocolate chips nestled on top. We were staying with Popo that weekend and they both surprised me by setting up the cake and a bottle of champagne in the backyard. It was a sweet memory and I recall that Angel Food Cake being moist, fluffy and slightly sticky with a light crumb and delicate flavor that was more than just sweet.
Several years later, we were watching the Great British Bake Off and Angel Food Cake was a Technical Challenge. We were on the edge of our seats waiting to see which contestants remembered not to spray the pan and cool theirs upside down. It was sooo nerve-wracking at times. Unlike any other type of conventional cake, you don't want to spray the Angel Food Cake pan (!) and you want to cool it upside down for maximum airiness and fluffiness. It can feel like you are breaking all of the cake making rules (which you kind of are) but this cake is an exception to that rule.
This Chocolate Angel Food Cake came from a desire to clean out my freezer (it is always a mad house) and all of the extra egg whites I had been hoarding. I've never had a chocolate version of Angel Food Cake so that was a must to try. And why wouldn't you try a chocolate version of it? It turns out a little bit denser than its vanilla counterpart and lightly chocolatey but definitely not dry and definitely still very tasty. I liked this paired with mango and a glass of milk—cake always goes well with milk. But you could also top it with a ganache or raspberries or strawberries, too. And if you're old fashioned, that is what an Angel Food Cake cutter looks like. Popo would call it "an old timey giveaway" but presently I think it could be considered as a vintage collectible.
An extra "so good" cake.
Chocolate Angel Food Cake
Yields: 12 servings
Recipe from Serious Eats
As said above, do not grease your Angel Food Cake pan and be sure to suspend it upside down immediately after you remove it from the oven.
- 16 large egg whites (2 cups)
- 4 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups granulated white sugar, divided
- 1 cup sifted cake flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in center of oven. Have ready a 10-inch two piece angel food cake (tube) pan.
Separate 16 eggs, whites in one bowl and yolks in another. Cover whites with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Cover yolks and store in refrigerator or freezer for another use like crème brûlée.
In a small measuring cup or bowl combine the cocoa powder and boiling water and stir until smooth. Stir or whisk in the vanilla extract. Set aside.
In another bowl whisk together ¾ cup granulated white sugar, the sifted cake flour, and the salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1 cup granulated white sugar until stiff peaks form.
Remove 1 cup of the beaten egg whites and whisk it into the cocoa powder mixture to lighten it.
To the remaining egg whites, gradually sift the flour mixture over the egg whites (about ¼ cup at a time) and gently but quickly fold the flour into the egg whites. You can use a large wire whisk, large rubber spatula or an angel food cake folder for this task. Once you have incorporated the flour mixture into the egg whites fold in the cocoa powder mixture. (It is important not to overmix the batter or it will deflate.)
Pour the batter into the pan (it will be almost full) and run a metal spatula or knife through the batter to get rid of any air pockets. Smooth the top and bake in the oven for about 40 to 45 minutes. It is done when a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when gently pressed. The top of the cake will have cracks.
Immediately upon removing from the oven invert the pan. Suspend the pan by placing the inner tube on the top of a soda or wine bottle. Allow the cake to cool for about 1½ hours.
When completely cool, run a metal spatula or knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake and then remove the cake from the pan. Next, run a metal spatula or knife along the bottom and center core of the pan and remove. Place onto a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.