Since the Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book is often required bedtime reading in this house, I was quite worried that the Small Girl would choose something like a helicopter or castle for her birthday cake. Mercifully, she wanted a “pink cake with ballerinas on it”, which was much, much easier to produce.
Angel Food Cake Supreme
My mother once had a recipe booklet, dating back to the 1960s, called ‘New American Recipes’. I remember reading it as a child and her explaining to me how angel food cake was such an American delicacy and how tricky it was to make. I don’t know where her copy got to but I nearly wept last year when I found one in a charity shop. I thought of Mum often while I made the cake in the weekend, wishing she was here to see it in all its fluffy, pink-iced glory.
I made this cake in a special angel food cake tin my sister found in a charity shop (and kindly donated to the cause). If you don’t have one, use a deep, 25-30cm ring tin. Mum had a square ring tin – that is to say, a square tin with a hole bit in the middle – which I remember she used when making this cake, but I’ve never seen anything like it elsewhere. The most important thing, whatever tin you use, is not to grease it. The batter needs to climb up the sides of the tin and greasing it will be akin to oiling a hill and then expecting your car to drive up it.
This is the first recipe in ‘New American Recipes’, which makes it my entry for this month’s Random Recipes challenge, in which you must select a book at random and make the first (or last) recipe from it.
110g sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
185g caster sugar
170g caster sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 10-12)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond essence
Preheat the oven to 175C.
Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and first measure (185g) of caster sugar together THREE times. Set aside.
Put the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar into a large bowl and beat with an electric beater (or in a freestanding mixer) until foamy. Gradually add the second measure (170g) of sugar, two tablespoons at a time, until the mixture is meringue-like and holds stiff peaks. Fold in the vanilla and almond essence.
Sift the dry ingredients over the meringue and fold in as gently as you can until just mixed. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin. Cut through the mixture with a knife to release any air bubbles.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake springs back when touched. Invert over a rack and let hang until cold, then remove from the tin.
I iced my cake with raspberry meringue buttercream – the making of which was FAR more stressful than the making of this lovely cake – but you are limited only by your imagination (and the demands of the cake’s recipient).
Do you have a copy of New American Recipes? Have you ever made any of its dazzling recipes?
Well that cake looks beautiful. I have never made an angel cake – it looks daunting especially as we don't get cake flour here so I think we have to sieve flour about a million times or something ?
just add some cornstarch!! flour + cornstarch = cake flour
So beautiful 🙂 Happy Birthday to your wee girl. I love that she reads cake books at bedtime. My girl does the same and has been planning her 5th birthday cake for months already!
I've never made an angel cake either, must try one!
so beautiful… look at how happy small girl is… and what a glorious cake… i'll take this random recipe thank you very very much!… its also the most dear story about your mum, which I love… too sweet x
The recipe sounds like a keeper.. and what a sweet sweet picture of the Small girl!
I loved that book as a kid! Now as a parent, I can only imagine the fear my Mum felt when she saw me flicking through it around about birthday time. I do remember her making the tiger, some ace butterflies, a mickey mouse and a treasure chest. Your pink ballerina one looks lovely.
Lou – you don't need cake flour, ordinary plain flour will do the trick just fine. What IS cake flour, anyway?
You've reminded me that I used to have a square ring tin many, many moons ago. I've no idea what happened to it – I think it disappeared some time in the 1980s – but I can't remember ever seeing one like it since. The cake looks just great but I've never seen a copy of New American Recipes, sadly. I think I once asked for a pink birthday cake with a ballerina in it – but I was young and foolish at the time.
Oh I remember that book! Is there a publishing date in it?
I think Mum got it when I was about 12 and she suggested I make the caramel cake for me and my friends for a special afternoon tea.
She must have thought it looked relatively easy, but I met my match making that blasted caramel!
The third attempt was OK but the cake did not live up to its promise and I was mortified. I'd love to have another go at it now that I'm all grown up.
Your angel cake looks divine (and so does your daughter, should have said that the other way round)
thats so gorgeous ! as is the wee girl, look at that happy little face, my smallest pea just turned three and he wanted a golf cake, so i baked a cake cut a hole in it and stuck a flag in, love it when they don't request cakes you need to employ an engineer to achieve x
Happy birthday !! Wee girl you look so happy and adorable :))) nothing like sweet memories and stories that we can pass on . Lovely post :)))
The cake looks gorgeous but I love the look on small girl's face even more – and it is nice to remember your mother in the celebrations with the cake
Well, that's reassuring. If I can make it with plain flour, I will give it a try. Thanks.
The picture alone is dear enough to make your heart catch! Small Girl's birthday dream come true! Well done, Mom!
Lovely picture! And the cake looks gorgeous. I'm wishing for a square ring tin now but have never ever seen one.
What an absolutely lovely post hon! I adore Angel Food cake (and its lower in calories than most cakes, lol!) and yours looks simply delightful. What a sweetie your wee girl is. Precious moments indeed. Becks xxx
What a gorgeous picture! And a beautiful little girl. Happy birthday Small Girl!
Lovely post! Gorgeous photo of your wee one too 🙂 I've got angel food cake on my list of things to get around to making. Hadn't heard the tip of not greasing the tin before – doesn't it stick??