When life gives you leftover egg whites, make angel food cake. Airy and impressive, it’s a wonderful backdrop for organic berries and whipped cream. Use whatever is in season, from the first strawberries to fall’s final crop of raspberries; combinations are welcome, too, of course. Toss the berries with a little sugar or honey about 20 minutes before serving, to bring out their juices. Frozen, thawed berries will be even juicier and will work just fine, too.
If you’re starting with whole eggs, separate them when they’re cold—it will go easier that way. But do let the egg whites come to room temperature before beating them, for maximum volume.
And by the way, have you ever tried toasted angel food cake? For a next-day treat, slice the leftover cake and brown lightly in a toaster oven.
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and thoroughly dry a 10-inch tube cake pan. Sift cake flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, grated lemon peel and salt six or seven times in this manner: Use two bowls, going back and forth between them and holding the sifter high over the bowl—this will incorporate air into the mix.
2. Using a separate bowl--one that is large, spanking-clean and completely dry--beat the egg whites with electric beaters until the egg whites are foamy. As you beat, work the beaters up and down and around, to incorporate as much air as possible. Beat in the cream of tartar, lemon juice and water. Continue beating while you sprinkle in the remaining 1 cup sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time. Beat in the vanilla extract. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
3. Sift flour mixture over whipped egg whites a little at a time and use a large rubber spatula to gently fold each addition into the egg whites. Stop as soon as all the flour is incorporated. Immediately and gently turn the batter into tube pan.
4. Bake until cake springs back when you press the center lightly with a finger, 45-50 minutes. Invert the cake pan and set it to rest on three equal-sized cups so that the cake cools upside down with air flow beneath.
5. Cool the cake completely. To remove it from the pan, use a fork to gently pull the cake away from the sides of the tube pan. To slice it, use a gentle sawing motion with a large serrated knife. Serve each slice topped with fresh berries and whipped cream.
To use up some of the egg yolks called for in this recipe, prepare Gran Marnier Custard Sauce. The sauce can be substituted for the whipped cream in this recipe.
Copyright by Terese Allen