Angel Food

This recipe comes from James Beard's American Cookery. If you don't have it, find a copy on e-Bay or Alibris. I've adapted it with my KitchenAid stand mixer in mind.

I also like to use a rectangular pan, available from King Arthur Flour, because a loaf of angel food actually makes a lot more sense than what is essentially a tall savarin. The loaf pan, however, must be carefully lined with parchment or waxed paper.

You will want to have accumulated 1 1/2 cups egg whites. Otherwise, plan to make a crème caramel with the yolks. As a rule of thumb, we're talking about 12 eggs, separated here. Begin by bringing them to room temperature.

1. Preheat the oven to 350º.

2. Combine 3 1/2 ounces cake flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to combine well.

3. In another stand-mixer bowl, beat the egg whites. When they become frothy, add a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) cream of tartar. Continue beating, gradually adding 1 cup sugar, until the whites form stiff, but not dry, peaks. Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract while the eggs are stiffening.

4. At the stand mixer's slowest speed, spoon the flour mixture onto the beaten egg whites, and continue to blend until the flour has been absorbed. Remove the bowl of whites from the stand mixer and fold the batter once or twice with a large kitchen spoon.

5. Gently spoon the batter into an angel food mold. Bake the cake for about fifty minutes.

6. When the cake springs back, it is done. Remove the mold from the oven and invert it until the cake has cooled.

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