October 10th is National Angel Food Cake Day. Bake one from scratch, or pick up a ready-made cake and serve it with this delicious strawberry glaze.
Angel food cake is a white sponge cake: a light, flourless cake made with sugar, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla or almond extract, and a dozen or so egg whites, depending on the recipe. There is no leavening.
Chocolate angel food cakes were developed much later, adding cocoa powder.
The cake is popularly served with berries and whipped cream, although it can be served plain or with a dessert sauce (caramel, chocolate, custard, fruit, etc.).
Angel food cake originated in the U.S. and first became popular in the late 19th century.
The first angel food cakes were likely baked in the South by African-American slaves, due to the strength required to whip the air into the whites.
The first recipe in a cookbook for a white sponge cake is in Lettice Bryan’s The Kentucky Housewife of 1839.
Angel food cakes are generally made in a tube pan (photo #4). If you’re going to purchase one, get one with a removable bottom.
Ingredient For The Strawberry Glaze
1. STIR orange juice into cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add strawberries, sugar and marmalade. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
2. REDUCE heat to low; cook 2 minutes, stirring, or until sauce thickens. Cool or chill.
3. CUT cake into 12 slices. Spoon sauce over each slice. Garnish with optional whipped cream.
1. PREHEAT oven to 375°F, with rack in lowest position.
2. MIX powdered sugar and flour in medium bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy.
3. BEAT in granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, on high speed, adding vanilla, almond extract and salt with the last addition of sugar. Continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not overbeat.
4. SPRINKLE powdered sugar-flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, over egg white mixture, folding in with a rubber spatula just until sugar-flour mixture disappears. Use the spatula to cut down vertically through the center of egg whites, across the bottom of the bowl and up the side, turning the egg whites over. Rotate bowl one-fourth turn and repeat. Continue folding this way just until ingredients are blended. Use the spatula to break large air pockets, pushing the batter gently against the side of the pan and the tube.
 Light and fluffy angel food cake made with egg whites is the opposite of dense, heavy cakes. (photo © Bhofack | Dreamstime).
5. PUSH batter into ungreased 10 x 4 inch angel food cake pan (tube pan). Cut gently through batter with metal spatula or knife to break air pockets.
6. BAKE 30 to 35 minutes or until cracks feel dry and top springs back when touched lightly. Immediately turn the pan upside down onto heat-proof funnel or bottle. Let hang about 2 hours or until the cake is completely cool. Loosen side of cake with a knife or long metal spatula; remove from pan.