An excerpt and recipe from “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” by Lisa Steele (Harper Horizon, 2022):
ANGEL FOOD CAKE
Angel food cake is the first thing I remember baking with my mom. She showed me how to separate the eggs, then whip the whites and fold in the flour. As soon as the cake cooled enough to eat, we’d take turns tearing pieces off and shoving the still-warm, light-as-a-feather cake into our mouths.
As long as your bowl and beater are clean, the whites should whip up well. And remember that eggs are easier to separate when cold from the fridge but whip up higher at room temperature. Before you start, grab your eggs from the fridge and separate them, then let the whites sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you start beating them.
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 325 F and place a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
In a medium-sized bowl whisk 1 cup of the sugar with the flour and salt. Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed for 30 to 45 seconds until combined. Add the vanilla bean paste and orange extract. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, while the mixer is running, until fully combined and stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes more. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift in the flour mixture 1/4 cup a time, folding it gently into the batter with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until it’s incorporated and no flour clumps remain.
Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom, then run a long wooden skewer or knife through the batter to get the bubbles out. Finally, smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake until the cake is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert the pan on a wire rack or glass bottle to cool for at least 1 hour, then run a knife around the outer edge of the pan to release the sides of the cake.
Remove the cake and center insert from the pan, then run the knife around the center tube and along the bottom to unmold the cake. Place on a cake plate or stand and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut the cake into slices with a serrated knife and garnish with fresh blueberries and mint or other preferred toppings. Store tightly wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for two to three days.
Recipe excerpted with permission from “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” by Lisa Steele, published by Harper Horizon 2022.