(73) Angel Food Cake with Triple Sec Rhubarb & Berries

I’m not really a cake girl.  I mean, I’ll eat the cursory wedding or birthday piece, but I don’t typically bake cake, except perhaps a pound cake once or twice a year.

But that’s all about to change, friends.

I (finally) made an angel food cake.  I have been madly in love with angel food cake since my mom first introduced it to me many years ago.  Oh, it was heaven (ha!).  Sweet, but not too sweet.  Light, yet still rich.  Spongy, and a touch melt-in-your-mouth. I became a fan for life.

I’ve always been a bit trepidatious about making it, though, because it requires a dozen egg whites.  Not even a dozen eggs, just the whites!  And twelve of them.  What was I supposed to do with all those yolks?  Throw them away?  I don’t farm money trees, thankyouverymuch, cake.

This year, two things have happened: 1) We joined a CSA and 2) I’m far more active in the kitchen.

1) Our CSA includes, along with the expected produce, one dozen eggs per week.  Per week!  We definitely do not eat a dozen eggs a week.  See?

2) I have good use for those egg yolks.  And I know how to store them (freeze ’em: for sweet recipes, with a pinch of sugar; for savory recipes, with a pinch of salt).  So with that dozen eggs, I can make not only an angel food cake, but also lemon curd, ice cream, and mayonnaise.  That’s some sweet business right there.

You can totally stuff a big ol’ piece of AFC in your face, standing in the kitchen with one foot resting on your inner thigh all flamingo-like if you want.  I won’t judge you.  Or you can place a slice of cake on a plate, dollop on some freshly whipped cream, drizzle some triple-sec soaked rhubarb compote and macerated strawberries, sit down in your cozy place of choice, and totally enjoy.

Angel Food Cake with Triple-Sec Soaked Rhubarb and Strawberries

from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School cookbook

for cake
1-1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
12 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325 degrees, with rack in lower third of oven.  Use a fine sieve to sift together flour and 3/4 cup granulated sugar over a sheet of parchment paper or a bowl.  Repeat sifting four times.

Beat egg whites in a large, wide bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until foamy; add salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.

With mixer running, add remaining 3/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating no more than 1 minute after each addition.

Raise speed to medium-high and beat until stiff glossy peaks form (when beater is lifted, only the tip of the peak should fall over slightly).

Sift flour mixture over meringue in six parts, gently folding in each addition (using a J pattern) with a flexible spatula.

Be careful not to overmix or the egg whites will deflate.

Scrape batter into a 10-inch angel food pan (or tube pan).  Run a knife through the batter to release any large air bubbles, and smooth with an offset spatula.

Bake until cake is golden brown and springy to the touch, 30 to 45 minutes.

Invert pan onto its legs (if using an angel-food pan) or a wire rack, and let cool about 1-1/2 hours.  Carefully run a paring knife around side of cake to loosen, then turn out onto the rack.

for whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form.

for rhubarb & berries
1 rhubarb stalk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup triple-sec

Slice rhubarb.  (Meanwhile, prevent toddler from grabbing knife.)

Simmer rhubarb with sugar and water until fruit just begins to soften.

Quarter strawberries.

Add triple-sec to strawberries.

Combine rhubarb and strawberries.  Imbibe.

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