Ryan Thomas is a university student who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Angel food cake has the paradox of being childishly simple to make and fiendishly difficult to do correctly. It's simple because, in theory, the idea is an extraordinarily easy one: take egg whites (a huge quantity of them), beat them, add in sugar and your other ingredients, and—voila!—success. Unfortunately, things go downhill from there, since the egg whites can collapse, fail to rise, or have an irregular consistency. In my case, I had made a previous attempt at this recipe but discovered that my cake rapidly deflated after it came out of the oven. It was still good, but hardly angel food cake.
This is the corrected version—and thankfully a great success. It is delightfully airy and light and yet still rich, especially when still warm after just being removed from the oven—slightly moist with the chocolate seductively caressing the tongue. The taste of cherries shines through, as does the almond flour's extra richness, and it's bedecked with a generous serving of whipped cream—which just makes it better, especially if there is a plentiful amount of cherries upon it. Chocolate, cherries, and whipped cream can rarely go wrong, but they are more than the sum of their parts in this case.
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This is a recipe that I developed personally and is my own.
- 12 egg whites
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, (unsweetened, Dutch process)
- 3/4 cup + 1/2 cup + 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, (optional, for the whipped cream)
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, (1/2 teaspoon optional, for the whipped cream)
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 21 oz can cherry pie filling
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, (optional, for the whipped cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- As a recommendation for the cherries, upend the can of cherry pie filling over a sieve in a bowl so that the cherry filling and cherries can be separated. Not all of the cherry filling can be used if the cake is to be sufficiently light, and nor is it advisable to layer it all on top of the cake.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they begin to form soft peaks, then gradually add in 3/4 cups of granulated sugar, beating constantly until stiff peaks are formed. Then proceed to add in the almond extract and the 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, either folding or beating it in.
- Sift together 1/2 cup of sugar, the cocoa powder, and the almond flour. Proceed to fold this into the meringue. Add in 1/3 cup of the cherry filling: more can be added in, but this might risk sabotaging the integrity of the cake. Fold this and the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips together into the batter.
- Pour the batter into a greased or non-stick spray-applied soufflé dish or bundt pan. Then place it into a 350° F oven for 50 minutes. Place aluminum foil over it to prevent burning during this period.
- After the cake is cooked, do not open the oven and allow it to remain in the oven. This is to prevent it from collapsing. After 10–15 minutes remove it from the oven, and cool it on a rack until it is capable of being handled, then extract it from the soufflé dish or bundt pan onto a dessert platter. Refrigerate until cool, unless if you are willing to take the sloughing of the whipped cream in exchange for eating it warm (not a bad trade in my opinion, and one which I took myself).
- The whipped cream is optional but in my opinion quite desirable. Beat 1.5 cups of heavy cream until mildly stiff, then add the vanilla extract and the 2/3 cup of granulated sugar, beating until it is fully stiff. Then mold this over the cake. Place the cherries on top. This can be served immediately or refrigerate for the future.
© 2018 Ryan Thomas