Last week we got an email from our local farm offering all CSA members the opportunity to do some berry picking and get some free fruit. So we headed out to the blueberry bushes, blackberry bushes and strawberry patch. Returning home with about five pounds of assorted berries I was left to contemplate, “Now what do I do with all of this?” The first answer to come to mind was a berry shortcake. Growing up though, we never really ate true shortcake. My mom always made pound cake and served it with the strawberries and whipped cream. In my efforts to cut some calories and fat, I decided to attempt an Angel Food cake, which I had never made before. I compared a few recipes and ended up with what follows. I will admit mine probably was a little underbaked, but I’ll know better for next time. Being that the cake uses so little flour, the gluten free aspect was almost unintelligible.
3/4 cup Gluten Free Flour Blend
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups of egg whites (about 10-11 large eggs)
3/4 cup superfine sugar (If you don’t have superfine sugar put your regular sugar in a food processor, it’s almost as good as superfine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
and additional 3/4 + 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Place the rack in the lowest possible position.
2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and one part of the sugar.
3. Separate the eggs. Be very very careful to not have any yolks get into your whites. Having yolk in the mixture can prevent the egg whites from setting correctly and ruin the whole process. When I separate eggs, I don’t shift the whites back and forth in the shell. I wash my hands really well, then break the egg over my hand. I let the white run through my fingers into a bowl and keep the yolk in my hand. It’s the best way I’ve found to separate eggs. One tip: cold eggs will separate more easily. You will need about 10 – 11 eggs to get all the whites you need. I kept all my yolks and thought about making a custard or something, but I didn’t have time. It felt bad to throw them out though. It would have been a good excuse to make mayo….
4. Put the egg whites in a very clean and dry mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the salt and the cream of tartar and whip until it gets foamy. When it’s foamy add the vanilla and almond extract, continue to blend until the eggs have thickened and gotten larger.
5. At this point add the 3/4 + 2 Tablespoons of sugar into the egg whites, add it 1/4 cup at a time slowly. When the egg whites form soft peaks, remove them from the blender.
6. Slowly fold in the flour mixture a little bit at a time mixing completely.
7. Gently spoon the batter into the angel food cake pan. I made my first cake in a bundt pan, and it just didn’t’ turn out as good as I wanted. I made a second one in a real AF cake pan and it was pretty awesome.
8. Tap the pan on the counter to get out any bubbles, then bake it on the lowest oven rack for 45 minutes. Check it after 35, if you press your finger in and it bounces back, it’s done.
9. Here’s the weird part…when you take the pan out of the oven, place it upside down over the neck of a heatproof bottle and leave it there about two hours to cool.
10. To remove the cake from the pan run a rubber scraper around the side and middle and gently tap.
11. Serve how you choose, I like it with whipped cream and berries!
This cake is light and delicious – way less calories and fat than most cakes!