Monday, January 10, 2011

angel food cake: back to basics

 

My favorite time of the year: Christmas. I can't tell you how much I love the holidays. There's something so wonderful about it. It's not just about the gifts (although I love receiving, I find it more enjoyable to give), but it's more about the time spent with family and friends. I love spending my days doing next to nothing. Just relaxing, playing games, reading or catching up on all the movies I've been wanting to watch.


What I don't like about the holidays? All the stress that comes with the work that has to be done before it. Don't get me wrong, I like to move around and work, but this year was a little too much. Between school, work #1 and work #2, there wasn't much time left for myself. I was working every day of the week then going to school at night and working weekends. Let me tell you, I'm glad that's over. I'm actually amazed I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done on time. 

I got some pretty great gifts this year actually. Some great baking and decorating books, kitchen accessories and an ice cream maker attachment for my mixer. I'm so excited to try it out! I must admit; I. Love. Ice Cream. I wouldn't say that I'm an ice cream-o-holic, but I'm not that far-off. All the different flavours, the creaminess...so good! I love gelato, sorbets and granitas too. 


As excited as I am to try it, I've been using most of my time off to hang out with my friends and family. Best friends from out of the country, best friends from in-town and new friends. I've had such a great time going out for breakfasts, late lunches/early dinners, drinks, karaoke, parties and definitely staying-in nights. I spent quite a bit of money over the last week or two but it was all worth it. I have to face the fact that I'm probably never going to have this much time off over the holidays again so I might as well enjoy it. 

My break also made me realize how much I love my dearest friends. There are some people in this world who, well, mean the world to me. Friends are easy to come by, but true friends don't come by as often. That's why it's so important to let them know how much you love them.


I also loved spending time with my family. We went up to a beautiful chalet in eastern Quebec for some fun in the snow and relaxing. And also some baby-sitting of my ridiculously adorable niece! The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and enchanting. Nature is the main focus along the fleuve St-Laurent. There's nothing but trees, snow-covered mountains and blue skies. We went out for a little walk one day to capture some of the beauty and get some fresh air. We also had a great time eating delicious food! For desert, we enjoyed a delicious angel food cake with poached strawberries and plums and whipped cream. So light and airy with the right amount of sweetness from the fruit. The fruit can be changed depending on the season.

For now, it's back to school and life as we know it.

This post is linked on Sweet as Sugar cookies: Sweet Treats for a Saturday
 


 Angel Food Cake

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Ingredients

1 cup (110g) cake flour
1 cup (100g) icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
12 large egg whites (360g)
3/4 cup (140g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt onto a large piece of parchment or waxed paper. 

In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk until foamy (it will sort of look like foamy soap). Start adding a 1/3 of the sugar in a slow stream (about a tablespoon at a time and wait about 10-15 seconds between each addition) and add cream of tartar and vanilla when the whites are more opaque. Increase speed to high and continue adding the rest of the sugar slowly until whites increase in volume and form soft peaks (when you lift up the whisk, the peak should fall back into a hook shape). Do not overbeat otherwise the meringue will be too stiff. Remove the bowl from the mixer and carefully fold the flour mixture in batches into the whites with a large rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into a 10-inch UNGREASED angel food cake pan and smooth the top. Make sure there is no batter running around the inside walls of the pan. Bake until cake is lightly browned and springs back to the touch and a tooth-pick comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. Once out of the oven, invert the cake onto a countertop and let it cool completely in the pan. To remove, tap the bottom of the pan and if needed, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge and invert cake onto a serving plate. Serve with fruit compote and whipped cream or even creme anglaise if desired.

Poached fruit

4 cups of cubed strawberries and plums
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil and keep stirring. Lower heat and let simmer until fruit is soft and liquid has thickened. The time will depend on the ripeness of the fruit. The firmer the fruit, the longer it will take to soften.

Whipped cream

1/2 cup (or more) of heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar

Whip cream and sugar with a mixer until soft peaks form. Serve on side of cake with fruit.

2 comments:

  1. That looks so fluffy and delicious. It's like a cakey cloud. Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday.

    ReplyDelete

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