Charlotte J. Crocker angel no-fool cake
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Makes: 10 servings
The Tribune's Renee Enna shared her tortuous odyssey to master angel food cake, a classic dessert she describes as a "devil in disguise." Her hilarious tale of failure upon failure finally leads to this fool-proof recipe. Her result combines the best of versions from Betty Crocker and a woman named Charlotte J., who posted her recipe and tips online, with more guidelines from Enna.
1 cup cake flour
7/8 cup sugar plus 3/4 cup sugar
12 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Measure the cake flour and 7/8 cup sugar into a bowl (for 7/8 cup, measure a cup, then remove 2 tablespoons); sift together. Set aside.
2. Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla and almond extract into the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on medium speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form. (Do not beat until stiff, no matter what any recipe says!) Slowly add the 3/4 cup sugar, beating on medium-high speed until combined. (Do not overbeat!)
3. Reduce speed to low; slowly mix in the flour-sugar mixture just until incorporated.
4. Gently spoon batter into a 10-inch aluminum tube pan. Gently cut through batter with a butter knife. This breaks up any air bubbles in the batter. (One time around is sufficient. And don't bang the pan on the counter! It's a cake, not a slab of meat.)
5. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and crusty, and top springs back when lightly touched, 30 to 40 minutes. (Do not ever "turn cake around halfway through baking," no matter how trusted the source. Leave it alone, opening the door only when checking for doneness near end of baking.) Remove cake from oven; turn pan upside down. Let stand until completely cool, about 1 1/2 hours.
6. To remove cake from pan, carefully loosen all pan edges including the tube's with a butter knife. Invert onto your serving platter. To frost and fill, halve cake horizontally with a serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion. Fill center and frost cake with whipped cream frosting.