Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rice Flour Angel Food Cake

The fella has only one requirement for his birthday: there must be an angel food cake with blue frosting. I love him more than air but in case you've never tried angel food cake making is a pain in the behind. There is also the fact that boxed cake mixes are my Achilles heel of baking. I can make a three layer hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting from scratch without breaking a sweat but show me a boxed cake and I can almost guarantee it will not turn out.

The first two years the fella and I were together I made the mistake of thinking a boxed angel food cake would be the way to go because even though baked goods in boxes are my nemesis it had to be simpler than doing it from scratch. Right? Both times I spent an afternoon in the kitchen glaring at the box and swearing at the electric mixer. No matter how much I beat the mix it wouldn't fluff up. Convenience food? Ha. After much pacing of the kitchen and many choice words I did end up with a mostly in tact cake placed on the table and frosted and me with a smile on my face, trying not to let on to the fella the amount of crazy I had just re-harnessed behind my beaming faux house wife facade before he got home.

There were a couple moments while making those cakes when all the angel food cakes I would make for the rest of my life flashed before my eyes and I wanted to give up. Was a deep meaningful relationship with a man I love dearly and connect with on almost every level worth making angel food every year? It turns out it is but I still dislike angel food.

This year a box mix wasn't even an option. If I was making this cake I was making a gluten free cake I could eat and if I was going to go through that much effort I was going to make the best freaking angel food cake ever. This would be the year I made piece with angel food.

It worked. I took the super simple recipe for basic angel food cake in The Joy of Cooking and switched rice flour in for the cake flour and stirred in some chocolate flakes to make it more interesting. It was a long 35 minutes waiting for that cake to finish. There is no window in my oven door and opening to peak in would have ruined anything so for 35 long minutes I was sure that I had just wasted a dozen eggs and my afternoon for nothing. When the timer went off and a perfectly risen fluffy gluten free made from scratch angel food cake came out of the oven I couldn't help but do a little dance and congratulate myself. The fella was thrilled and belly laughed at me for my lack of modesty.

Now there was the issue of blue frosting. I thought of all sorts of creative and crazy ideas for flavors or ways to make it blue without food coloring but in the end I went simple. Homemade whipped cream with blue food coloring heaped on the top of the angel food cake so that it looks like a fluffy blue cloud of yum. As you can see the fella was excited by this prospect and I'm excited that I finally made a yummy birthday cake for him.

Turns out angel food cake isn't that difficult after all. The trick is reading the recipe a million times before starting and making sure absolutely all the tools you'll need for all the steps are within arms reach because once you turn that mixer on for the first time you are not leaving that corner of the kitchen for a good 10 minutes but the result is worth it.

So happy birthday to the fella, hope you've had the best birthday week ever.

Rice Flour Angel Food Cake

1 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/ 4 cup dark chocolate pieces or chips

12 cold egg whites
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Have ready an un-greased 10 inch tube pan.

Sift together the flour, sugar and salt three times into a medium bowl.

Pulverize the chocolate chunks in a food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat together on low speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute the egg whites, water, lemon juice, cream of tartar, and lemon. Increase mixer speed to medium and continue beating until the mixture increases in volume about 5 times and resembles a slightly translucent soft foam. This should take around 2 to 3 minutes. The foam will hold soft moist peaks when beaters are lifted.

One tablespoon at a time slowly beat in the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar. Do this process over the course of 2 minutes. When the sugar is added the foam will be a creamy white and hold soft glossy peaks that bend over at the points. Do not beat until stiff.

A 1/4 cup at a time sift a fine layer of the flour mixture evenly over the surface of the batter and fold gently with a rubber spatula just until the flour is nearly incorporated. Repeat 7 more times with the rest of flour mix until no traces of flour are visible. During the last addition of flour mixture add the chocolate pieces.

Pour the batter into the pan and spread to level the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool upside down for at least 2 hours, setting the tube over a bottleneck or resting the pan on 4 glasses.

Original recipe from Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker's The Joy of Cooking.

1 comment:

Quincidence with a purpose said...

WOW. Beautiful cake! Glad you finally found peace for angel food cake.