Every once in a while, a recipe comes together and surpasses every expectation - Toasted Angel Food Cake, Roasted Strawberries and Balsamic Whipped Cream is that recipe. Now I am the first to admit it is a different take on every component in the dessert. But let's take a look at those components.
What if I told you an Angel Food Cake can be made without the dreaded folding in of flour and sugar which can deflate the whites making a denser, less airy cake. I love Angel Food Cake for its light, moist,melt in your mouth texture. It is snow white and has an ethereal quality to it, hence the name.
The recipe I am giving you here is from my bakery. It is the tallest, lightest, best angel food cake I have ever had. I wish I could take credit for it but I can’t. It came in a General Mills baking flyer they sent to bakeries many years ago.
This recipe solves that problem by adding the flour and remaining sugar slowly to the egg whites while continuing to beat on low in the mixer. This results in the easiest, most foolproof angel cake I have ever seen.
So start saving your egg whites for a treat you will enjoy over and over. A good way to save those egg whites is to freeze them. As you have one or two, keep adding them to the container in the freezer until you have enough. Thaw them in the refrigerator for several days before using.
There is a special pan for angel food cakes. It is about 4 inches tall, 10 inches in diameter, has a tube in the middle to evenly distribute the heat. It has feet on the top (sometimes) so it can be turned upside down while cooling without the cake touching anything. The pan should never be coated or sprayed in anyway so the cake can cling to the sides of the pan while baking.
The cake is always cooled upside down. If the pan does not have feet to elevate it off the surface while cooling, it can be turned upside down and hung on a bottle by the tube.
Toasting the Angel Food Cake is not only unusual but it serves the purpose of making the cake sturdy enough to hold up to the strawberries with their sauce and the balsamic whipped cream. If it were not toasted, the cake would get soggy before you could get it to the table
Roasting strawberries with a bit of sugar concentrates their flavor. Sliced strawberries would not work here.
The last unusual touch is adding white Balsamic Vinegar to the whipped cream. I thought of adding the balsamic vinegar because one of my favorite food combinations is strawberries with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. A sprinkle of black pepper and roasted pistachio nuts.
Almost everything can be made ahead so the Toasted Angel Cake with Roasted Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar can be assembled easily.
Angel Food Cake
2 ½ cups sugar, divided (500 grams or 17.5 oz.)
14 egg whites, preferably room temperature (1 ⅔ cups)
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups sifted cake flour (150 grams or 5 .33 oz.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the egg whites, vanilla and almond extracts in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.Beat on medium to a froth.
Blend half the sugar (1 ¼ cups, 250 grams or 9 ounces), salt and cream of tarter. Gradually add to the egg whites. Beat to soft peaks on medium speed. Sift together the remaining half of the sugar and the flour. Add to the egg whites while mixing on low speed in four additions. Beat just until the flour mixture is incorporated each time.
Pour batter into cake pan and smooth out with a spatula.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until risen, nicely browned and a tester comes out clean. Don’t over bake. Cool in the pan as explained above. Run a flexible spatula around the edge of the pan and the tube. Remove the rim of the pan. The cake will still be stuck to the bottom. Run a spatula between the bottom of the cake and the bottom of the pan. While I serve mine right side up, it can be served upside down if preferred.
This generally makes 12 servings. However, I can eat half of it by myself!
This Angel Food Cake can be made the day before and used the next day. It can also be made several months before and frozen. Thaw before using.
2 pounds fresh strawberries
½ cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a half sheet or other large rimmed pan with foil. Spray the foil. Set aside.
Cut the tops off the strawberries. If the strawberries are really large, quarter them, otherwise cut them in half. Mix them with the sugar and place them in a single layer on the prepared pan.
Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the strawberries are soft and the liquid is syrupy.
This can be made a day before and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
Balsamic Whipped Cream
1 cup 40% or heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar (30 grams or 1 ounce)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat to soft peaks. This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
Slices of Angel Food Cake
Balsamic Whipped Cream
Chopped roasted Pistachios
Coarse Ground Black Pepper
Toast the slices of Angel Food Cake on both sides in a dry skillet. Alternately, they can be toasted on a foil lined pan in a preheated 450°F oven until browned on both sides.
Place on piece of cake on a plate. Spoon some of the roasted strawberries over the cake, dollop with whipped cream and sprinkle with pistachios and black pepper.