Everyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I am NOT a cake person. But! There’s an exception to every rule and my exception to the cake rule is this Angel Food Cake. It’s made for angels! How could any human not like it?!
If you’ve never had it, it’s a feather light cake that reminds me of meringue. The main ingredients are egg white and sugar, which get whipped up into a giant, fluffy cloud before carefully sifted flour and even more sugar are gently folded in. I flavor mine with a mix of vanilla and almond extracts for just a hint of flavor. There’s nothing better on top than sweet, juicy macerated strawberries. The brandy balances out the sweetness of everything else perfectly, and the cake acts like a giant sponge to soak up all of the ruby red strawberry juices. This is a cake that’s perfect for entertaining – it’s a mile high, feeds a crowd, and is best made the day before you eat it! If you’re intimidated by angel food cake, my recipe has every tip and trick you need to ensure perfection, good enough for any guest, friends, family, or, dare I say it, angels!
Angel Food Cake with Macerated Strawberries
For the Cake
- 1 ¾ cups (350g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (133g) cake flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
For the Berry Topping
- 1 pound strawberries, tops removed and quartered
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or up to 2 tablespoons if berries are out of season
- 2 tablespoons brandy or port
- Whipped Cream
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Add sugar to a food processor or blender and blend on high until fine and powdery, about 1 minute. Pour about half of the sugar into a bowl and set aside. Add flour and salt to remaining sugar in food processor, and mix on low for 30 seconds, or until everything is well mixed and aerated. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk on medium until frothy bubbles form, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Increase speed to medium high and add reserved sugar a tablespoon at the time, allowing 8-10 seconds of mixing in between additions. After all sugar has been added, continue whipping to medium peaks, another 1-2 minutes. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl very well, then add extracts, and mix until everything is well combined, about 30 seconds.
- Remove bowl from mixer, and sift flour mixture over the egg white mixture in 3 additions, folding gently with a rubber spatula in between until just combined.
- Gently pour or dollop batter into ungreased tube pan and use a spoon or offset spatula to gently smooth the top.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool upside down until cake is room temperature, at least 2 hours. If your tube pan has little feet around the edges for cooling, simply invert the cake on your counter. If it does not, invert the cake on a cooling rack.
- While cake cools, macerate berries. Add strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl, toss to combine. Leave for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow juices to come out. In a medium saucepot over medium low heat, add strawberries and all juices, along with alcohol. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until berries start to release their juices and become soft, but not mushy. Transfer back to medium bowl and set aside to cool until cake is ready to serve.
- Once cake has cooled, carefully run an offset spatula or butter knife around the sides and tube to loosen. Hold the center tube to lift the cake from the outside of the pan. Use the same off set spatula to then run around the bottom of the cake. Place a large plate on top of the cake and carefully invert everything at once; the cake should release cleanly but some residue will remain on the pan, which is normal.
- Invert cake once more onto a cake stand or serving tray, and cut gently with serrated knife, using a sawing motion to avoid deflating the cake.
- Tops slices with macerated berries and juices, and whipped cream if desired. Serve immediately.