[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]
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For the avid baker, spare egg whites are a lifestyle. After making batches of yolky banana pudding, ice cream, chocolate custard pie, and French buttercream, these leftover egg whites can actually begin to pile up.
When my stash hits crucial mass, I do know it is time for angel meals cake. It is the proper antidote to all of the richness that got here earlier than, a dessert that is ethereal, mild, and lean, however flavorful sufficient to face by itself, whether or not served bare or with contemporary fruit, a dollop of whipped cream, or a drizzle of ganache.
My favourite factor about angel meals cake is how simply it may be personalized by buying and selling plain white sugar for extra flavorful choices. On this case, I am matching the winter climate with a dose of maple sugar.
It is a beguilingly easy swap, however one which’s transformative for a dessert so simple as angel meals cake (a mix of egg whites, sugar, cake flour, and little else).
If you have not performed with it earlier than, maple sugar comes from cooking maple syrup to drive off all of the water, which yields a crystalized sugar. It is principally sucrose, however with a stable proportion of fructose and glucose, which implies it behaves extra like brown sugar than white. Not each recipe will deal with the swap with ease, however angel meals cake is resilient like that.
Tiny, souvenir-sized luggage of maple sugar typically have an eye-popping price ticket, however the fee comes down significantly within the bulk meals aisle of a serious grocery store, or when shopping for bigger portions on-line.
I went all-in with a five-pound bag, however there isn’t any disgrace in testing the waters with a extra moderately sized 25-ounce bundle as an alternative.
I’ve already coated the science and approach behind angel meals cake for Critical Eats however, briefly, the trick is to create a comparatively dense and tender however steady meringue reasonably than one which’s mild and stiff however fragile.
Not solely does this strategy cut back the danger of angel meals cake collapsing within the oven, it simplifies the precise work of creating the cake. As a substitute of rigorously including the sugar little by little because the egg whites whip, the 2 are mixed suddenly after which whipped collectively.
With maple sugar, that makes for a meringue that begins out surprisingly darkish, however it’ll lighten considerably because it whips.
The purpose of this strategy is to keep away from overtaxing the egg whites via overbeating, so it is necessary to cease whipping whereas the meringue remains to be runny reasonably than stiff.
When the whisk is lifted from the bowl, the meringue will run proper off the wires reasonably than kind a clump inside.
That meringue could pile up on itself briefly when it falls again into the bowl, however this little mound shall be re-absorbed in a number of moments. So overlook the standard visuals of stiff peaks and fluffy piles of meringue, this type shall be runny and tender!
As soon as the meringue is softly whipped, it is folded with bleached cake flour; my private fave is Swans Down, however Softasilk works properly, too. What’s necessary is to keep away from unbleached types*.
That might not be a hip advice in in the present day’s organic-obsessed market, however the science is sound: chlorinated cake flours have starch and protein behaviors in contrast to another flour in the marketplace, making them uniquely suited to angel meals cake.
For extra info on the hows and whys, see our information to bleached vs. unbleached cake flour in angel meals cake. It contains facet by facet pictures of how these flours have an effect on the construction, rise, and crumb of angel meals cake.
* If bleached cake flour cannot be discovered, attempt the flour mix from my gluten-free angel meals cake as an alternative.
Fold within the bleached cake flour (or my gluten-free mix) with a versatile spatula, ensuring to chop down the center of the bowl every now and then to interrupt up any pockets of flour. As soon as the batter is properly combined, scrape it right into a 10-inch aluminum tube pan.
Such a pan is an absolute should for angel meals cake. The pure aluminum end is important for the cake’s success in rising and cooling, as a slippery, non-stick floor will impede its rise and trigger the cake to fall flat when it is cooled.
That is as a result of angel meals cake must be cooled the other way up, in any other case the nice and cozy and fragile cake will collapse on itself because it cools. To that finish, correct angel meals cake pans have stilts for this very function.
As soon as cool, the perimeters of the cake could be loosened from the pan with an offset spatula, permitting the cake to be plucked from the pan by the middle tube.
The underside of the cake can then be loosened from the pan with an offset spatula, and inverted onto a cake stand or platter (it would slide proper off the tube with none fuss).
Serving the cake the other way up provides the highest a pleasant, flat floor to showcase enjoyable toppings like contemporary fruit and whipped cream, or for a easy glaze.
If serving the cake plain, or with these toppings on the facet, the cake could be re-inverted to point out off its crackling crown.
For these of us who love angel meals cake, the fragile maple taste of this variation makes it price savoring all by itself, however for these much less enamored with the type, that drizzle of darkish chocolate ganache will properly offset the cake’s sweetness.
Or mess around—the breakfasty vibe of maple pairs properly with the tangy taste of different morning classics like citrus and yogurt, in addition to bitter parts like espresso and black tea. Nonetheless it is served, this angel meals cake is a enjoyable excuse to discover new substances and the lighter facet of dessert.
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