I spent 21 minutes contemplating the idea that if I licked this whisk and it’s three accompanying spatulas completely clean, I mean like COMPLETELY CLEAN… just exactly how sick could I get? Would the sickness be worth it? If I took my last breath slurping fluffy meringue and choked on raw egg whites, vanilla and sugar, would it be my IDEAL – like, total ideal – way to go?
Because there is a fine line between consuming batter and feeling like garbage (or uhhh… dying?), and I often cross it.
Actually… I always cross it. Repeatedly. Forever. Evermore.
I did that batter justice.
Really, in all my 20-something years on this Earth, if I have survived using six-years expired shaker Parmesan cheese from Mother Lovett’s fridge, if my mom has baked a cake in 2012 with Duncan Hines mix that was good through March of ’08 and I ate seven bajillion slices, if I lived after taking a swig of Dawn dish soap thinking it was my water bottle, if I consumed… well, let’s be honest here – inhaled – a piece of coconut cream pie that I found in the back of the fridge behind some congealed substance that had basically grown legs and was waiting to walk away, well then…
… I don’t think the base of an angel food cake is gonna kill me.
Oh! And especially not… because it’s called ANGEL food cake, so there has to be like, angels involved somewhere. Watching over me. As in my guardian angel, which obviously has to have some involvement with cake somewhere.
If not, it’s like they don’t even… know me. And well, that’s just not safe.
Besides one of my life goals being for George Clooney to prank me, another one is to make a mean-ass angel food cake. Mother Lovett used to make one and then top it with some glaze, and it was gooooood. Not my favorite, but every once in a while it was cool to bite down into a spongy layer of vanilla. Oh, but this was before I knew that angel food cake was basically a HEALTH FOOD. After learning that, I just wanted to eat brownies.
I made my first angel food cake a few years ago and assumed it would be soooosoo easy. Like, embarrassingly easy. I mean, it normally just looks like a plain, fluffy, fat life-size donut. It doesn’t taste like tiramisu layered cheesecake with chocolate mouse filling and graham cracker crust and mascarpone frosting and fresh truffles on top of a bed of creme brulee and… and… yeah. Angel food cake is simple and light and people eat it so they can feel better about themselves ingesting cake. I didn’t expect it to be all “beat the egg whites! watch for stiff peaks! sift the sugar! sift the sugar again! don’t stir the egg whites! fold the stuff in! no, FOLD the stuff in! don’t mix it in circles!” and stuff. I’m much more of a mix-all-this-junk-in-a-bowl-and-who-cares-when-you-add-the-dry-ingredients-and-oh-cracked-two-entire-eggs-plus-their-shells-in-the-batter?-just-scoop-it-out-with-your-fingers-and-move-on kind of person.
Needless to say, I was much more prepared for this angel food experience.
Still, I complicated things a little more and made some cupcakes instead, which ummm… might just be the best thing ever because you can pop them in your mouth like candy. They are everything that angel food cake is, but cuter.
Angel Food Cupcakes
makes 36 cupcakes
12 large egg whites (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar (sift before measuring)
1 1/8 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Let egg whites sit at room temperature for about one hour before beginning. While eggs are resting, measure out powdered sugar and flour, then sift powdered sugar, flour and salt together. Set aside. Line a cupcake tin (or two) with cupcake liners.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the bottom third of oven.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Once frothy, add in cream of tarter, then beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. This took me about 5-6 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar with the mixer still on medium speed, continuing to beat until egg whites thicken a bit more with opaque, soft, droopy peaks. Once there, beat in vanilla extract.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and sprinkle 1/4 of the dry ingredients over the egg whites. Fold gently with a spatula until combined completely. Continue with the rest of the dry ingredients – I did this in three increments.
Once batter is smooth, use a 1/4 cup measure to pour heaping scoops of batter into each liner. Bake for 18-19 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Let cool completely, then frost as desired. I frosted mine with a simple fresh vanilla whipped cream, using 1 pint of whipping cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and beating until thickened.