Now that we can buy eggs in unshelled form, packaged in the dairy section of your Tucson supermarket, you no longer have to throw away half a dozen (or more) egg yolks, or try to figure out what to do with them, when you want to make an Angel Food Cake.
Due to its high protein content (in the form of egg whites), Angel Food Cake is a pretty good deal, nutritionally speaking. And if you get one of the low-sugar baking sweeteners such as Splenda Bake or the sugar-stevia combination that recently appeared on the shelves of Tucson's supermarkets, this can be a pretty good choice for dessert as it disguises its good ingredients in a fluffy cloud of sweet-scented dessert.
Egg yolks are still the basic ingredient in Lemon Curd, though, and a combination of lemon curd and sliced sweetened strawberries will do as well as anything to make a Valentine's Day dessert. It wouldn't be particularly rich to follow a dinner that might go into sauces or a hearty cold-weather standby, either.
ANGEL FOOD CAKE
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1-1/2 cups egg whites, from about 12-15 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla or flavoring of choice
Whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Set aside.
Place the egg whites in the mixer bowl and whip at high speed for 30 seconds, until the egg whites are frothy.
Add the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla and whip for 2-3 minutes, or until the whites are almost stiff but not dry. Lower to the lowest speed and beat in 1 cup of sugar. Mix for another minute.
Fold the flour mixture into the egg whites as gently as possible. (This is best done if you have a stand mixer with a very low Speed 1.)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Pour the batter into either a tube pan or smaller individual tube pans and cut through the batter with a table knife to be sure you don't have any air bubbles where they can't be seen.
Bake the cake(s) for 30 minutes and check for doneness. If the cake(s) is very dry on top, including any cracks, and the crust is golden brown, it is done.
Allow the cake(s) to cool to room temperature in the pan and then remove for decoration and serving.
From my experience, I assure you that the trick with Angel Food Cake is getting it out of the pan. That's why you cool it completely to room temperature before you try.
In fact, it's a good idea to get into the habit of allowing most food that I can think of to cool to the point that it is no longer dangerous before you handle it any further. Since I have been watching food television over the weekend, I know that one exception to that maxim would be fudge, especially if you use the stovetop/candy thermometer method. So there are exceptions, but generally speaking I have changed my ways.
Your typical angel-food cake is served inverted onto a serving dish and topped with frosting or some other decoration like the strawberries I mention above. This is to remove the browned, dry top crust from view. The whole thing about angel-food cake is the fluffy whiteness that used to suggest luxury to those who lived in previous centuries. Back then most of the flour sold and used was whole-wheat (something to keep in mind when we look at a recipe for baked goods).
For example, nothing bad will happen to you if you use white whole-wheat flour to make gingerbread; the leavening and strong molasses-spice flavor will outweigh anything else. The same is true for Peanut Butter Cookies.
But one thing you could do this Thursday would be to put on a slow-cooker dish to get itself ready while you are out at work, and then add some crusty bread and wine, or a crisp side salad. Then you could slice and top your Angel Food dessert and it will all be looking pretty good. A beef or lamb stew would work particularly well, I think.