The last few months, I have been trying to be more intentional about slowing down and really enjoying the season of life I’m currently in. For awhile, I felt like I was moving through life at lightning speed, always racing towards the next opportunity or place to be. Making the decision to get off the hamster wheel has not only restored peace and balance to my personal life, it has changed the dynamic of our family time together as well.
As part of my quest for more simple living, the little girls and I have been spending even more time together in nature, playing board games, doing art projects, and working together in the kitchen. One recipe that we’ve really enjoyed lately is this homemade angel food cake. Light, airy, and with the most delicate texture and flavor ever, this cake would the perfect way to end your Mother’s Day brunch.
Now, I get absolutely zero credit for this recipe. It comes from the cookbook Two Chicks from the Sticks: Back Home Baking, which is co-authored by my good friend, Jill Means. Jill is my friend for many reasons, but I’d say the biggest one is that we are both passionate about getting people back in the kitchen and cooking from scratch. She and her co-author Jamie are also beautiful story tellers. Not only do they share mouth-watering recipes, they share the stories that inspired the recipes as well. From church potlucks to swinging on a rope in a barn, I really felt that I got a glimpse into what it was like growing up on a farm in rural Iowa.
When I came to this recipe for homemade angel food cake, I immediately knew it would be the first recipe I would try. Not only have I never baked an angel food cake before, but seeing the picture of the cake brought back a flood of memories from my own childhood. Every summer, we would go visit my dad’s parents at the home he grew up in in Pueblo, CO. I loved both of my grandparents, but his mama held a special place in my heart. From a very young age, she always made me feel loved, special, and that I was really “helping” her with the daily chores. Sadly, my grandma passed away while I was young, but my memories of her are still strong. I remember making homemade jam together, mud pies that she really put in the oven, twirling in the flower garden, hanging clothes outside to dry, and tasting the first homemade angel food cake I’d ever had. I can still picture the beautiful “round cake with a hole in the middle” sitting on the right side of the counter we were making jam at, taunting me with it’s beauty. When it was time to eat, the flavor did not disappoint!
If you decide to make this cake, please please please do not make the same mistake I did on my first attempt. As you read the recipe, you will see it says to invert the cake when it comes out of the oven to cool. I reread that phrase repeatedly in confusion. “Why the heck would you invert a cake to cool”, I wondered. “If I do that, the cake will surely fall out and make a big fat mess.” So I didn’t. (Yes, I am fully aware that I should have just sent Jill a text or given her a quick call to clarify. Or followed the recipe in the first place.)
I quickly learned it is crucial that you turn (invert) angel food cake upside-down on a wire rack to cool. It won’t fall out and make a big mess. However, if you choose NOT to follow the recipe and cool the cake right side up, your angel food cake will collapse into a sticky dense mess that will make you want to say things that an angel would not. I’m just saying.
Anyways, whether you make this cake for your mama on Mother’s Day or as a simple ending to an outdoor gathering, invert it to cool, embrace the simple life, and enjoy making some warm weather memories of your own. (Instructions to win your own copy of Two Chicks from the Sticks: Back Home Baking follows the recipe.)
Happy Mother’s Day mamas! You are blessed and a blessing!!!
Homemade Angel Food Cake
1 cup unbleached cake flour
1½ cups powdered cane sugar
1½ cups egg whites, from about 10 large eggs
1½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
For the macerated strawberries:
1 pint organic strawberries
½ lemon, zest and juice
¼ cup organic cane sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift cake flour and powdered sugar together. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (use paddle attachment), combine egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. (It took me 3- 5 minutes to achieve this…you want it to stick to the beater like whipped cream, not stiff like meringue.)
Gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture in four addition. (Using a spatula, not the electric mixer.) Fold each addition until flour mixture is completely incorporated into egg mixture.
Pour batter evenly into ungreased (yes, ungreased) 10-inch tupbe pan. Bake cake on bottom rack for 30 – 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven; invert pan onto a wire cooling rack until completely cool. Slide knife around edges of pan to remove cake.
To keep this dessert as light as possible, I like to serve it topped with macerated strawberries. Jill and Jamie top it with a decadent buttercream frosting in their cookbook, Two Chicks From the Sticks: Back Home Baking. Either way, serve and enjoy!
Notes: This cake is naturally vegetarian. Those sensitive to nuts can add an additional ½ tsp vanilla in place of the almond extract. This cake is so delicate that I am not sure the best way to make it gluten-free. Would love to read suggestions in the comment section. This cake tastes best when served the same day it is made, but is still mighty tasty when stored under a cake dome for at least three days. (Italic notes in recipe are my additions.)
I am so excited to let you know that one lucky Healthnut Foodie reader will receive her own copy of Two Chicks from the Sticks: Back Home Baking. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling us your favorite childhood memory involving your mom, grandma, or mother-type figure! A winner will be drawn on Monday morning, May 13 using random.org. Happy Mother’s Day to you!!!
This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Candace W.!!!