Hot Weather Means Cool Dessert
Although the past few days have been cool, and I mean 68 degrees at the end of June cool, the rest of the summer has been hot and it usually is. I’m not sure what’s going on out there lately, but it’s sure to heat up by the Fourth of July, which is next week already. I can’t believe our patriotic holiday is right around the corner. What this means to me is I’ve been making a lot of angel food cake for dessert, and not just for myself but for people I sell food to.
Most people just run to the store and grab the pre-made angel food cake in the produce section, usually located beside the strawberry cooler. I used to do the same thing until I decided to try and make my own one day. The first time I ever tried it, I was in culinary school and missed the lesson that day because I was sick. It was the only day I missed in this class and I decided to go ahead and try to make it at home by myself, just so I could say I tried and did it. It wasn’t successful.
What makes angel food cake hard to make is that you have to whip egg white and slowly fold them in to a flour and sugar mixture. You can’t whip the egg whites too much or the cake won’t rise enough and you can’t fold the mixture together and over mix it or it will fall. The first time I made it I tried not to over mix it but ended up under mixing it, so when I cut into the cooled cake, sugar fell out of an air pocket. Needless to say, it wasn’t very tasty.
I took a few years off from trying that again, but recently I was gifted some angel food cake pans. These pans are specifically made for angel food cake because the have little legs that stick out from the top of the pan. These are so you can flip the cake upside down when it’s hot and set it down on the legs and let it cool that way. The reason for this is so the cake doesn’t fall. The egg white are not very stable leaveners and this helps the air pockets cool firmly inside. When using a bundt cake pan, you can always find a bottle with a thin cap that you can sit the middle of the pan on it while it cools. So basically, you don’t really need the special pan if you have a bundt cake pan and a bottle.
I’ve perfected the technique at this point and I love making the stuff. I’ve sold it on a few occasions lately and have had the opportunity to eat a few pieces myself. I just can’t eat the store bought stuff any more. It’s just not the same. It’s also not too expensive to make if you buy the egg whites separate, that way you don’t have to waste the yolk or find another use for them. I usually save them for creme brulee but I don’t always have to make that.