Maggie’s Heavenly Angel Food Cake

One of our sweetest baking memories of our Mother is her wonderful angel food cakes she would whip up by hand. This is her signature dish that won many grand champion ribbons in our county fair. Not only was it and still is our “traditional” birthday cake, but we enjoyed it served with a lemon cream topping and also with various berries and whipped cream for other occasions. We provide two of our favorite toppings for you to choose from. I am one of 5 siblings so we enjoyed this cake many times during the year for each of our birthdays and other special occasions. My oldest sister Susie would often work with Mom in the kitchen extracting every secret to make this heavenly cake and only she is capable of making it that comes close to our Mother’s version. Susie learned many secrets while “dishing” in the kitchen with Mom. She will share them with us as she whips up this cake for us. To get you started, there a several things that are required. See Chatty Advice before starting.

Recipe and secrets courtesy of my sister, Susie. Photo courtesy of my brother-in-law Don.

Ingredients

Cake
1 1/3 cups of cake flour sifted
1/2 cup of granulated sugar sifted – this amount will be added to the flour
1 1/3 cups of granulated sugar sifted – keep this separate from the above mixture
1 1/2 cups of egg whites at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
Wax paper or parchment paper
Seven Minute Frosting
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/3 cup of cold water
1/2 teaspoons of corn syrup (white Karro)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Dash of salt
4 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Creamy Lemon Topping
Lemon Pudding
1 – 4.3 oz. package of cook and serve Jell-o brand lemon pudding, do not use the instant kind
3/4 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of water
3 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups of water
Whipped Cream
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Technique

You will need two pieces of wax paper (about 12 inches in length) to sift the flour sugar mixture onto and the sugar mixture. Sift flour and measure again. Sifting will result in more flour and you will need to discard any remaining flour. The sifted flour should measure 1 1/3 cups. At this point sift together the flour and 1/2 cup of sugar 4 more times. Set aside. Sift the 1 1/3 cups of sugar and set aside. Do not mix the 1 1/3 cups of sugar with the flour/sugar mixture. Sifting is important to get the “lightness” of this cake. Use a stainless steel bowl and a stainless steel wire whisk to beat egg whites – do not use a plastic bowl or a mixer. In a large stainless steel bowl beat egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla and almond extract until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in sugar in 4 stages. Finally and gently fold the flour/sugar mixture into the egg whites in 4 stages. Pour into tube cake pan do not coat with non-stick cooking spray and it should never have been coated with non-stick cooking spray or greased in any other manner. Using a butter knife inserted about ¾ of the way down swirl it through the batter a couple of times to eliminate air bubbles. The judges at the fair did not like air bubbles in the cake. Make sure your oven rack is low enough to accommodate the height of the pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes. Do not open the oven door to check on the cake at any point in time, this will cause the cake to fall. After 45 minutes in the oven remove. Cake should be a light to medium golden brown. Do not stick a butter knife or a toothpick in it to check. If your pan has “legs” for you to fold up tip pan upside down to cool cake as our mother did. This is optional, because most pans these days don’t have “legs” for you to do this. Allow cake to cool completely before removing from pan. Remove cake from pan by running a butter knife around the edges including the small ring in the middle and invert onto a platter.

If making seven minute frosting, add, sugar, water, Karro syrup and salt to a medium sauce pan and whisk over medium heat. Whisk continuously for about 3 – 4 minutes until sugar is dissolving and the mixture is thinner and more transparent. Set aside. In a large clean stainless steel bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out. If you are not this brave, just turn the bowl on its side and they should remain intact. Once egg whites are stiff add sugar mixture and beat until stiff peaks form. Again you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the frosting falling out or turn on its side. Spread on cake. See Let’s Chat if you don’t believe me that you can actually tip this over. It will be labeled 7 Minute Frosting.

If making creamy lemon pudding topping, make lemon pudding according to package directions and refrigerate to cool.

Place a medium bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes, remove and add cream. Using a mixer beat on high until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Do not over beat. Beat together the completely chilled lemon pudding and whipped cream and serve over sliced cake.

Chatty Advice

There are a couple of things that are required to make this recipe. You will need a special pan that is normally used for angel food cakes (a tube cake pan) that has never been coated with non-stick cooking spray or greased in any way, a stainless steel bowl and a stainless steel whisk for whisking the egg whites. Sifting is essential and eggs must be at room temperature. And the number one secret – it must be whipped by hand! We all have tried to do it with a mixer and it isn’t Mom’s signature cake! However, you will be using a hand held mixer for the frosting or lemon cream topping.

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