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Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Servings: 12
What is Angel Food Cake?

Angel cake is a type of cake that became popular in the U.S. in the 19th century. It is also called Angel Food cake as a contrast to chocolate Devil's Food cake, but the two cakes are completely different in type. The chocolate, butter-based layer cake appeared at the same general time period, as one of the many new American cakes made possible by the invention of baking powder.

Angel Food cake differs from many other cakes by its cottony texture and color, which is achieved using only beaten egg whites, white sugar, and white flour. No fat is added, as it would affect the egg whites' ability to keep the cake from sinking.

The cake requires that the egg whites be whipped until they are stiff, and gently folded into the other ingredients. For this method of leavening to work well, it is useful to have flour that has been made of softer wheat. This, and the lack of fat, causes angel food cake to have a very light texture and taste. It has led some detractors to liken the taste of the cake as well as its appearance to cotton. Angel cake cannot be cut easily with a knife, as a solid blade tends to compress the cake rather than slice it. Forks, serrated knives, or special tined cutters should be used instead.

Angel Food cake is usually baked in an angel food cake pan, a tall, round pan with a tube up the center that leaves a hole in the middle of the cake. Angel Food cake is sometimes frosted or just dusted with confectioners' sugar but more often has some sort of sauce, such as a sweet fruit sauce, drizzled over it.

Here is a recipe for a Chocolate Angel Food Cake which the "chocoholics" you know will definitely love........Diana

12 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups granulated or superfine baker's sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
Confectioners' sugar (for dusting top)

Serve with fresh fruit or a sweet fruit sauce or ice cake with your favorite frosting (optional)

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar at high speed until foamy. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved* (see note below) and whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. Beat in vanilla extract.

Sift together flour, cocoa, remaining sugar and salt. Sift about 1/2 cup of the flour mixture over whites and gently fold just until flour disappears. Repeat, folding in remaining flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Pour into ungreased 10 x 4-inch tube pan. Gently cut through batter with metal spatula.

Bake in preheated 375°F/190°C oven until top springs back when lightly touched with finger, about 30 to 40 minutes. Invert cake in pan on funnel or bottle neck. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. With narrow spatula or knife, loosen cake from pan and gently shake onto serving plate. Dust top of cake with confectioners' sugar and serve with fresh fruit or sweet fruit sauce. If desired, ice cake with your favorite frosting.

Makes 1 (10-inch) tube cake, 12 servings.

* Note:
Rub just a bit of beaten egg whites between thumb and forefinger to feel if sugar has dissolved.

Date: June 19, 2006