Angel Food Cakes
An Angel Food Cake is a light, fluffy, high-rising cake that is basically a sponge cake without egg yolks or fat. It is sometimes referred to as "Angel Cake" and named because of its airy lightness and said to be the "food of the angels." Angel Food Cakes requires that the egg whites be whipped until they are stiff, and gently folded into the other ingredients. To make a good Angel Food Cakes, you just need to know a few basic tricks:
- Whip the egg whites properly. Angel Food Cakes is made with a large quantity of egg whites, which are whipped into a foam; this foam provides all the cake's leavening. It is equally important to gently fold the whipped eggs into the other ingredients to maintain the foam consistency of the eggs.
- Bake your cake in a tube pan. Tube pans are made for Angel Food Cakess. They are constructed with an outer container containing legs that can be used for cooling the cake and an inner container with only a bottom and center tube that is also used for cooling. This pan allows the cake to be easily remove. A Bundt® pan can also be used, but the fluted sides can make releasing the cake more difficult. The center tube in either pan allows the cake batter to rise higher by 'clinging' to all sides of the pan.
- Don't grease the tube pan. The rising batter must cling to the pan sides and center tube to hold the cake up. The sides of a greased pan will be too slippery for the cake to rise. It is always best to rewash your tube cake pan before using to ensure that all grease from previous uses has been removed.
- Preheat the oven. The cake should not sit allowing the air cells to rise and then deflate while the oven heats up. The oven must also be at the correct heat; The ideal temperature is 325°F.
- Test for doneness. The object should be long and thin to test the cake for doneness, such as a cake tester, a clean broom straw, a long thin knife, or a bamboo skewer.
- Invert the pan. As soon as the cake is done baking, turn the pan upside down and stand it on its feet or hang it upside down with the tube over the neck of a bottle or tall funnel. Invert the cake until it has completely cooled to ensure it will be firm enough to hold its rise and to prevent the cake from falling in on itself.
- The cake should be sawed, not cut or sliced. To cut an Angel Food Cakes, use a sawing motion with a serrated knife, an electric knife, a strong thread, or a pronged angel-food cutter (a tool that looks like a row of thin nails attached to a bar). Just remember that if you try to cut the cake with a regular straight-blade or solid bladed knife, you will compress the cake (push down on the cake) rather than slice it, which will flatten it. Freezing it first makes for easier slicing.