We should all have a solid command of the ABCs of baking. Thankfully, Food52's Test Kitchen Manager Erin McDowell -- alongside photographer Sarah Stone, who both blog at The Shutter Oven -- is here, with tips and tricks to help you master the most essential desserts and the simplest breads.
Today: Store-bought angel food cake is now a thing of the past. Bake it at home, easily -- just heed these tips.
Welcome to Baking Basics! In this column, we'll help you understand and perfect those pastry staples you want to get down pat. Today we’re starting with a summer favorite, something that begs for berries and a whole mess of whipped cream: angel food cake.
Angel food is one of the simplest cakes to make -- all you do is whip egg whites, then fold in just enough flour to set its structure. The result is an airy, light cake with a gorgeous, white, tender crumb.
There’s something about angel food that tends to steer folks away, even if they have mastered plenty of other cakes. Admit it: You’ve bought a store-bought angel food cake at least once or twice. But you shouldn't be afraid to make it on your own. Armed with a few basic tips, you're only about 90 minutes away from a homemade slice of cake on your plate.
Here’s what you need to know:
Before you serve your cake, be sure to have some berries and plenty of whipped cream on hand. Then slice away.
Makes one 9-inch cake
12 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from one large lemon)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour, sifted
Whipped cream, as needed for serving
Berries, as needed for serving
Photos by Sarah Stone