The angels would sing if they could taste a bite of this pillowy soft, slightly sweet, airy, gluten free angel food cake. (Skip to recipe.)
And I'll sing, too (you just don't want to hear me)!
This gluten free angel food cake is so soft and tender, with a delicate almond flavour. It's a great base to be adorned with whipped cream, sugared strawberries, lemon curd, jam, fruit compote, ice cream . . . you get the picture. You can ice this beauty however you like - soft and fluffy seven minute frosting and a few homemade sprinkles turn it into a fantastic birthday cake. Swirl the outside with a luxuriously simple swathe of stabilized whipped cream for an elegant but less sweet frosting. Or you can just cut yourself a big slab and hold it in your hand, devouring it with secret blissful enjoyment.
Once you have a good recipe for a basic angel food cake, you've got the makings of an elegant dessert, beloved by all. You can even make the cake ahead and freeze it. This version is gluten free (but can be made with regular flour - see note below), so you can serve it to anyone, whether they have a food allergy or not. The fact that angel food cake is made with only egg whites and a minimal amount of flour is what makes it so light and delicate. Make sure to beat the whites really well, until all the sugar is completely dissolved, and you won't have a fallen angel for a cake. It'll be a light and spongy cloud with a crackly, caramelized crust.
You'll need to have a tube pan - an aluminum one works best, as the batter needs to climb up the ungreased sides of the pan in order to get tall enough (non-stick tube pans don't work for angel food cakes). And yes, I know - I've gotten rid of all my aluminum cookware years ago, but make an exception for my angel food cake pan since I haven't found any other material that works as well. I don't use it that often, so I figure I'll keep it.
Invert the pan with the cake still in it to cool, then cut it loose and put it onto your cake plate.
A little nibble of melt-in-your-mouth heaven.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: Egg whites freeze well. You can keep them in a resealable plastic container in the freezer, and keep adding to them as you have extras. Label the container with a piece of tape and keep a running tally of how many whites you have, until you collect enough to make the cake.
Or just use fresh egg whites, and then check here for ways to use up the leftover yolks.
You can, of course, use 1 cup of regular flour instead of the brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, and tapioca starch, if you wish to make this cake non-gluten-free.
- 1½ cups (360ml) egg whites (from 10 or 11 large eggs)
- 1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (200gms) sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (75gms) brown rice flour
- ¼ cup (40gms) sweet rice flour
- ¼ cup (30gms) tapioca starch
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have ready a 10 inch ungreased tube pan with a removable bottom. (NOT non-stick, or the cake won't be able to grip the sides and reach its full height as it bakes - an aluminum pan works best.)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt, increase the speed to high, and whip them until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar, one or two tablespoons at a time, beating well between each addition. Whip the egg whites until they are thick and glossy and the sugar is totally dissolved. You can tell if it's dissolved by rubbing a bit of the meringue between two fingers - if there are no sugar granules left, it's done. Beat in the almond and vanilla extracts. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.
Measure out the flours, and sift them over the beaten whites through a fine meshed sieve. Don't use a flour sifter because the holes are too large to catch any grit in the flour. You might have about a teaspoon of larger granules from the rice flour that didn't go through the sieve - discard them.
Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the flour into the egg whites, just until they are lightly combined. Don't over-mix the batter or you will lose the air and the cake will be flatter.
Scrape the batter into the tube pan. Use a butter knife to gently cut through the batter to remove any air pockets. Smooth the top.
Bake for one hour, until the cake is a rich golden brown on top and it springs back if lightly touched with a finger.
Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert it onto the counter, so that it rests on the center tube of the pan. Let it sit like that until it is completely cool, at least 2 or 3 hours.
To remove the cake from the pan, run a butter knife all the way around the cake, between the outside edge and the pan, and also around the central tube, to loosen the cake from the pan. Remove the outside part of the pan. Then run the butter knife underneath the cake, between the cake and the pan to loosen it. Invert the cake carefully onto a cake plate. Use a large serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion to cut the cake.
The cooled gluten free angel food cake freezes well, too. Set it onto a paper plate or cardboard circle lined with tin foil, then wrap it well in plastic food wrap, and slide it into a large plastic bag. Seal it and freeze for up to 3 months.
Serves 10 to 12.
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