I adore angel food cakes...they're light and airy and make the perfect canvas for seasonal fruit, fresh herbs and a large (or small) dollop of freshly whipped cream.
When it comes to actually making angel food cakes at my home, my husband, John, is the far better baker of these delicacies than I. His are always billowy and crusty on top, with a soft texture and fabulous crumb...what can I say, the man knows how to whip those egg whites to perfection!
Not to be outdone, I do occasionally "gussy it up" and make an angel food cake so flavorful and exquisite ~ one that sounds "girly" but isn't ~ that even stops the guys in their tracks.
Intrigued? Gather up that remaining fresh basil on the porch (purple or sweet) and some organically grown rose petals (being sure they're organically grown) to infuse a sweet aroma and flavor and heat that oven.
If you feel like splurging, serve this cake with warm vanilla custard. Oh my!
Fresh from the Garden Angel Food Cake
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 large eggs), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons chopped purple basil or sweet (regular) basil
1 cup chopped organically grown rose petals
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granualted sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until glossy, stiff peaks form and the sugar dissolves. [To be sure that the sugar has dissolved, rub the beaten whites between your fingers. They should not feel granular.]
Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg white mixture in 4 batches. When the last bit of flour mixture is to be folded in, add the basil and rose petals.
Gently spoon the batter into an ungreased 10" tube pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and invert, allowing to cool completely in the pan. When the cake is cool, run a thin knife between the cake and the pan. Turn out onto a plate and serve. Makes 8 servings.
In the mood for a glaze? Combine 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 to 2 Tablespoons milk. Add the milk gradually until it's of a spreading consistency. Glaze the cake and garnish with additional organic rose petals.
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer
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