Ascension Angel Food Cake

The Holiday

We found the perfect Ascension pastry. The kids at Kids Club made this Angel Food Cake today to celebrate the bank holiday that is the reason they won’t have school the rest of the week.

The cake does a levitating act while cooling.
Each slice is a wedge like a mountain.
Whipped cream whisks our strawberry up to heaven in a cloud.
I love researching the origins of our holidays – as prominent or as obscure as they may be.
Stay alert friends, “Until you are filled with the power of on High.”

The Recipe

  • 12 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsps cream of tartar (La Grande Epicerie)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
  • 1 cup (114g) cake flour (a soft low protein flour)

If you’re using cups take the time to spoon the flour gently into the measuring cups and level with the horizontal motion of the back of a butter knife, thus swiping off any excess.

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat 325°F / 165°C / Gas 3.

Put the egg whites into a large bowl and beat until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and whip to the soft peak stage. There has to be enough body and definition to them that they can stand tall before they droop. If you over beat or under beat the cake will not work, here’s a photo of what the batter should look like at this stage.

Add the vanilla extract and gradually beat in the sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and whip until stiff peaks form.

Sift the cake flour onto the batter and gently fold it in until no streaks or visible flour remain.

Transfer to an ungreased angel food cake pan* and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The top should be dark brown and the cracks dry to the touch, not sticky. Test it by sticking it with a toothpick, it should come out clean.

Invert the pan immediately and allow to cool upside down or on it’s side so that the muffin top does not sink while cooling. A true angel food cake pan has legs so that it can cool hanging upside down.

*Choosing a cake pan: This high-rising cake requires a deep and narrow pan. If you use a ‘moule à cake français’ be careful to only fill it on third full of batter, not half full – it will overflow! The cake needs to cool completely before it is removed from it’s mold, so borrow a couple ‘moule à cake’ from your friends and neighbors, or refrigerate the unused batter while it awaits it’s turn. Use the batter quickly. No oil or butter should be used on the pans.

To cut: Use a serrated knife or use two forks to pull apart the portions. There is an old-fashioned tool called an angel food cake cutter that looks like this.

Kitchen Tip: Cream of tartar has an indefinite shelf life and is great for cleaning the inside glass of the oven.

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