Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
12 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 325°.
To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and 3/4 cup sugar, stirring with a whisk.
Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla, juice, and almond extract. Sift 1/4 cup flour mixture over egg white mixture; fold in. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time.
Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through the batter with a knife. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert the cake onto a plate.
Nutty: For nut lovers; fold 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted nuts--such as almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts--into the batter with the flour.
Chocolate glazed: Whisk together 3 tablespoons unsweeetened cocoa, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and about 3 tablespoons water or cold coffee. Drizzle over cooled cake.
Chocolate malt: Add 2 tablespoons malted milk powder and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to the flour mixture.
Citrus-glazed: Whisk together 2 tablespoons lime, lemon, orange juice and 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.
Ice cream: Cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers, then spread each layer with cup of softened ice cream or sorbet. Reassemble the cake, then freeze it until ready to serve.
Orange: Fold 2 tablespoons grated orange peel and 1 teaspoon orange extract into the batter.
Pink Peppermint: Add 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring to the batter and fold in 1/4 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candies.
Spiced: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice to the flour mixture.
Wow, this is one great cake! I sort of did an amalgamation between this one and the Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake from CL March 2006. To this recipe I added the beans from a 2" piece of vanilla bean and then cut the liquid vanilla down to 1tsp instead of 1.5 tsp. Although this really didn't matter and I think I'll add the whole 1.5 tsp next time. The almond extract gave it a nice little something extra. Usually angel food cake on its own is fairly bland but this one is great. My kids are eating it plain without the berry topping. A keeper for sure.
Store-bought angel food cake doesn't hold a candle to homemade. If you've got an extra dozen eggs and you're comfortable whipping the whites to stiff peaks, you have to try this recipe! It is so good with fresh berries and a bit of whipped cream on the top. I made the recipe exactly as written. I found that it needed a few extra minutes in the oven.