Saturday, January 16, 2010

Angel Food Cake with a No-Brainer Blueberry Sauce

I love eggs. The incredible, edible egg really is an apt description. How many other foods work equally well in savory dishes and sweet ones?

If you're a fan of cooking competition shows like Top Chef and The Next Food Network Star, you've probably heard someone complain about having to bake something. Every season, some pro complains because baking requires exacting measurements and doesn't leave as much room for creativity as cooking. I'm not sure that's always true, but it is true about Angel Food Cake. Recipes for this classic don't vary much.

Around here, now that the cheesecake, cookies, and New Year's Bombe are gone, we're getting hungry for something sweet, so I decided to bake an Angel Food Cake. The ingredients are simple, you probably have them in your kitchen right now, and it's actually not all that hard to make. You do have to have a special pan, though.

You'll find that some recipes are positively scary, requiring superfine sugar and cake flour. I didn't use either. Instead, I mixed the dry ingredients and sifted them together a few times.

Angel Food Cake contains no fat! Yup, it's true. Ideal for all those diets everyone started after the holidays. If you're serving it to a dieting crowd, serve it with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt. Remember it does contain sugar -- it's not calorie-free! If dieting isn't a concern, serve it with whipping cream and fresh fruit. Or serve it with a sauce. I made a no-brainer blueberry reduction that's good enough for company.

Angel Food Cake

1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

10 - 12 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Sift into another bowl. Sift back into the original bowl. Repeat and set aside.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar. Hint #1 Don't overbeat. The egg whites should hold a curling peak, not a stiff peak.

Divide the egg whites. Sift some of the flour mixture on one half, sprinkle on the vanilla, and fold until blended. Repeat until all of the flour mixture has been folded in. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold in. Hint #2 If you add the flour gradually to the egg whites, they'll be more likely to stay fluffy.

Spoon/pour into an Angel Food Cake pan. Do not grease! Bake 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn upside down immediately. Some pans come with little feet, if yours does, you can let it rest on the feet. There are those who think that it's better if the cake is in the air. The conventional method is to hang the middle part from a bottle. The neck holds the cake pan and the bottle is sturdy enough (hopefully) not to topple. My pan has a tiny middle part that doesn't fit over a bottle. I turned four wineglasses upside down and let the edges of the cake pan rest on them. Hint #3 Let cool thoroughly upside down, even overnight. Loosen the edges to remove and turn over a serving plate. Hint #4 Slice with a serrated knife.

No-Brainer Blueberry Sauce

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup Cognac
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/4 cup sugar

This is a really a no-brainer reduction. Combine all the ingredients in a small pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Turn down to just a bit more than a simmer (uncovered) and let cook until it reduces by half, about 45 minutes.



  1. Love angel food cake; it's like fairy food, so light and airy and sweet.

    But that blueberry sauce...oh my gosh! As we say in New England, that looks "wicked good!"

  2. No wonder it's angelic--with no fat, it deserves that halo!

    I'm loving the look of that sauce, too. Yum!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. Katy! So that's why LL Bean has "wicked good" products for sale. Thanks for teaching this Southerner. It's a great expression. And, BTW, the blueberry sauce is really good. I was sneaking spoonfuls without the cake!

    Riley, it does deserve a halo! I love Katy's description "like fairy food!"

    ~ Krista

  4. Angel food cake has always been a mystery and I've never thought of making my own. The tips you shared make the whole process seem possible, so I think I might try this out!

  5. Wow, what a wonderful recipe. I made Angel Food cake once and it tasted just fine, but I think I might have needed to cool it using the method you described. Looking forward to trying again with your version and that decadent-sounding blueberry sauce. Yum!


  6. What an absolutely beautiful cake!!! I adore Angel Food cake! Thanks for sharing. And remember, we have a guest tomorrow and then our last day of Iron Chef Egg Week on Monday! It might have something to do with my new book's theme.

  7. Forgot to mention how wonderful the blueberry sauce sounds. Yum!

  8. Angel food is the perfect, lower-guilt sweet for this time of year. That would be dieting time for me!

    I've never tried making it myself, even though I've had the pan for years :) Your version sounds pretty simple and you added some great tips. Thank you!

  9. YUM! I love angel food cake. I had no idea that it
    should be cooled in the air. Now I need cake.

  10. April, I hope you'll give it a shot. It's so good!

    Julie, people claim that the weight of the cake deflates it into a soggy mess if it doesn't air dry completely upside down. I didn't wait overnight, though. It took about four hours to cool.

    I'm looking forward to your recipe, Avery! Try the blueberry sauce. I bet it would be fabulous on vanilla ice cream, too.

    Janel, if you have the pan, you have to try it sometime. It's really not very complicated. You just have to be gentle with the egg whites.

  11. Jenn, I know that feeling. Sometimes only cake will satisfy that urge!

    ~ Krista

  12. This sounds good-I love Angel cake.

  13. Sweet use for my extra eggs! Joining Katy: that blueberry sauce looks wicked good to me too!


  14. Esme, I love it, too. But then I like almost anything made with egg whites!

    Cleo, this would be perfect with a cup of your coffee! Maybe with a coffee drink that includes a little bit of orange liqueur?

    ~ Krista

  15. I love angel food cake. It is fat free, but the way I can't pull myself away from the second (or third) slice, it definitely starts to add up!

  16. This is the perfect dessert. I would have never thought to put blueberry sauce on angel food cake! How delicious!

  17. Krista, the Cavehold loves a good Angel Food Cake with fruit. Going to have to try your Blueberry Sauce! Thanks!!

  18. I love Angel Food cake, but I can never make it to look nice. I will have to try your recipe. The sauce sounds delicious.