The cake-of-the-week for the Heavenly Cake Bakers is an angel food cake, a type of cake which I have to admit I've always felt was a waste of caloric intake, containing no butter and too much sugar plus all those beaten egg whites. (No, I don't see the point in meringue or divinity either.) Rose's recipe, though, adds grated chocolate to the usual angel food cake, which sounded promising. And I did set out to bake my way through this cookbook along with the other Heavenly Cake Bakers, so...I made my first, and maybe only, angel food cake.
The full recipe calls for 16 egg whites for a 16 cup angel-food cake pan. My angel-food cake pan fortunately is only 10-cup capacity, and for the sake of easy math I just halved the recipe. I hadn't been saving and freezing spare egg whites, but I made younger niece's requested birthday cake this weekend (White Gold Passion Génoise) giving me 4 extra whites, then looked ahead and made the sour orange curd for the True Orange Génoise coming up February 8, having found sour oranges at Your DeKalb Farmer's Market (Buford Highway Farmers Market had 'em, too). That gave me 4 more spare egg whites. Those 8 whites gave me a little to spare, as my local eggs seem to be more white and less yolk than what Rose worked from. I went with a weight measurement, though I don't think the amount of extra egg white I had would have done much but give me a little extra volume.
The cake starts with beating egg whites and sugar to stiff peaks, beating in vanilla, then folding in the flour, salt, and more sugar to make the batter. Grated chocolate is folded in at the last, then the cake is baked, cooled upside down to prevent it collapsing, and removed from the pan and decorated. My smaller cake was done in about 25 minutes. It didn't brown much, but when the sides started to pull away from the pan I pulled it out, tried a cake tester on it, and declared it done.
The baking went pretty smoothly for me, though my folding technique still probably can use some work--I didn't get quite the volume I think I should have had. Or maybe those 2-3 T. of egg white should have gone in. My grated chocolate was too fine, and I ended up with more a light tan cake than a tweed look--maybe the Microplane grater was too efficient. And I should have spent more time running my spatula through the batter to eliminate a few more of the large holes in the batter. All this was cosmetic, though, and overall the cake came out well.
Rose offered a suggestion of splitting the cake and frosting it with whipped cream. Given the excesses of the birthday cake the night before, I gave that a pass. Alternatives were a dusting of cocoa, or drizzling melted chocolate. I grabbed a partial bar of 62% bittersweet chocolate, melted it, and drizzled. More chocolate is rarely a mistake around here.
Now, the tasting. First, keep in mind that the tasting was inherently unfair, as we had White Gold Passion Génoise last night and it was a smash hit. (I will blog that cake later, maybe in the 'free choice' week coming up.)
Younger niece liked the texture, otherwise just gave me permission to take the leftovers to the office. She refused such permission for the passion fruit cake. <g>
Sister-in-law found her first bite (which got some of the top 'crust') too sweet, but middle bites were better. Overall though, it was still too sweet for her.
My brother thought it better than other angel food cakes, but still, it's an angel food cake. Seems like he had some other comment which has escaped my brain...must start taking notes...maybe it was that it was somewhat moister than the dry texture of angel food cakes, which he dislikes.
I think I agree with my brother. It's not bad, and the chocolate (not just the drizzled stuff, the chocolate in the cake proper) really cut the sweetness level. Finished with Rose's whipped cream treatment it might be even better. Fundamentally though, it's an angel food cake, and the fluffy texture and the sweetness just don't appeal to me.