Happy Holidays. We're well into holiday mode here in the Dude household. We just had our holiday party, complete with eggnog and dumplings.
A common dessert we serve this time of year, and a perennial favourite of Mrs. Dude is the chocolate-lover's angel food cake from Rose Levy Berenbaum's Cake Bible. So here it is. Mrs. Dude's favourite cake, a fluffy light mix leavened entirely by fluffy egg whites:
¼ cup + 1 tbsp unsweetened, Dutch-processed cocoaPre-heat your oven to 350°F.
¼ cup boiling water
2 tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 cup sifted cake flour
¼ tsp salt
16 large egg whites
2 tsp cream of tartar
Mix the boiling water and cocoa. Whisk until smooth and paste-ish. Whisk in the vanilla and set aside.
Meanwhile, mix ¾ cup of sugar, flour and salt together.
Finally, in a large mixing bowl, mix the egg whites at low speed.
When they're unwhipped, they're all splashy and splorshy.
As they build body, turn up the speed on the mixer.
As they yield soft peaks, whisk in the cream of tartar. Soft peaks are ones that may drop a bit when you remove the beater. The cream of tartar drops the pH of the egg whites, stabilizing the peaks.
Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites, while beating.
Continue beating until the egg whites have increased to a ridiculous volume, and created stiff peaks. Stiff peaks don't move even a tiny bit as you pull your beaters out of the eggs.
Remove about 1 cup of egg white, and mix well with the cocoa mixture.
Then, gently fold in the flour into the remaining egg whites, ¼ cup at a time. I like to use a flat whisk. The book recommends using a "balloon whisk", but even the mighty power of the Googles doesn't return a result for that. A flat whisk works well.
Now, mix the cocoa/egg white mixture into the batter, very gently.
Mrs. Dude likes a bit of swirl to the cake. The trick is to stop when you think it has the right amount of swirl.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Stab the batter with a knife a bunch of times to remove holes in the batter. Plus, you know, cake-stabbing.
Place pan in the oven. Bake for 40ish minutes, or until you stab it with a toothpick and the toothpick comes out clean (often as much as 50 minutes when I bake it).
Remove the ridiculously large cake from the oven, and invert in a way that it can be supported on the top of the tube, without crushing the cake.
I've constructed pretty ridiculous structures to get this to work. The one I show here is a ¼ cup measuring cup inverted on top of an upside-down KitchenAid bowl. I've seen wine bottles recommended, but they don't fit my tube pans. Good luck.
Cool the cake completely, then cut it out of the pan, running the knife around the outside of the pan, and the outside of the tube.
Invert onto a plate, gently shake, and... tada!
Serve with whipping cream and fruit.
By Bbq Dude