“Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake.” ~unknown
My birthday is this Friday. I’ll be joining the quarter century club! Actually, one of the reasons I started this blog is due to the fact that I’m having a quarter life crisis and really have the urge to get back into writing and doing something I really love.
But that’s neither here nor there – today’s post is about CAKE! I do love cake! I don’t discriminate either: chocolate, vanilla, coconut, red velvet, carrot, pineapple, strawberry, cupcakes, ice cream cakes, cake brownies… ok, I’ll stop. Today I’m sharing one of my favorite cake recipes, and it actually comes from the wonderful, amazing and brilliant Ina Garten. Otherwise known as the Barefoot Contessa.
I only have one cookbook by Ina, but I absolutely adore it. Her recipes are classic and never fail me. I made her lemon angel food cake for a good friend’s birthday one year and everyone fell instantly in love.
This cake is spectacular. That’s right, I said spectacular. I thought it was a bit intimidating at first, what with the sifting and whipping and folding, but I diligently followed her directions step by step and it came out beautifully. I served mine with a berry compote on the side and fresh whipped cream. I might even make this for my own birthday. It’s that good.
Don’t be scared ya’ll. I know working with egg whites can be kind of nerve racking, but it’s well worth it.
Ina Garten’s Lemon Angel Food Cake:
- 2 cups sifted superfine sugar, divided
- 1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine 1/2 cup of sugar with the flour and sift together 4 times. Set aside.
Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs make medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon zest and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 more minute. Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour by fourths by sifting and folding until it’s all incorporated.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack until cool.
Now let’s all drool as we pay homage to Ina’s cake baking brilliance.
I’m done now.