Chocolate Angel Food Cake
Light but chocolatey, this is a tall cake with no leavening
other than the air that is beaten into egg whites. For this
cake you'll need a two-piece tube pan, 10 inches by 4 inches
tall. A two-piece tube pan means that the bottom and tube are
in one piece, and the sides are in another. You'll also need
a lot of egg whites for this cake--about 14, if you use eggs
graded "large". Since you can use whites that have
been frozen and then thawed, save them in the freezer ahead
of time. It is important to note that a 4-1/2 quart mixing bowl,
the size that comes with my electric mixer, is not large enough
for this batter. I use a 6 quart, absolutely clean, nonreactive
pot and a sturdy, powerful, hand-held electric mixer for beating
the egg whites. Whatever you use, both container and beater(s)
must be grease-free, and the egg whites should be at room temperature
for greatest volume.
other foam-type cakes, this cools upside down, suspended over
a sturdy, long-necked bottle. I know this sounds crazy (believe
me, it looks weird, too), but it does work. The finished cake
will be about 4 inches tall and extremely light-textured. It
will have a definite chocolate taste without being too sweet.
The best way to cut this is with a large, very sharp, serrated
knife; saw gently to cut. This cake needs little in the way
of a garnish, though you might like to dust the top lightly
with confectioners' sugar just before serving. For a special
treat, serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh
cups sifted granulated sugar, divided into 1 cup and 3/4
- 3/4 cup
sifted cake flour
- 2/3 cup
sifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
cups egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 tsp.
freshly-squeezed, strained lemon juice
- 2 tsp.
oven rack so that it is one-third up from bottom of oven. Preheat
oven to 375 degrees F. Assemble a two-piece tube pan, but do
not grease or line it. Have ready a baking or cookie sheet lined
with aluminum foil; the assembled tube pan must fit on the sheet.
Place the assembled pan on the lined baking sheet; set aside.
a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine 3/4 cup
granulated sugar (reserve remainder), cake flour, and cocoa
powder. Process at high speed for two bursts of about 10 seconds
each, or until mixture is well-combined and very fine-textured.
a 6 quart, nonreactive, absolutely clean pot (or other clean,
nonreactive bowl/pot of over 5 quart capacity), combine room
temperature egg whites, lemon juice, and salt. Beat at high
speed until very white and foamy. Gradually add the remaining
1 cup sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating between each
addition. With the last addition, add vanilla. Continue beating
at high speed until this meringue holds stiff peaks, but do
about 1/4 cup of the processed sugar-flour-cocoa mixture over
the beaten egg whites. With large spatula, gently fold into
whites (don't be too thorough). Continue sifting and folding
in the dry ingredients, about 1/4 cup at a time--don't
fold in any one addition too thoroughly. If you are using a
pot to make this, you must be certain to scrape the bottom edges
and pot bottom well and often. The object is to fold in the
dry ingredients gently but quickly, just until everything is
combined. Do not overmix. You will see that this folding deflates
the beaten whites slightly, but the finished battter should
still be quite thick.
batter into assembled tube pan. Gently level with spatula. Using
a flat knife, cut through batter several times in a circular
pattern to get rid of any large air bubbles. Immediately place
cookie sheet (with pan on it) into preheated oven.
35 to 40 minutes. The cake will rise above the edge of the pan
and develop very deep cracks in the top surface--OK. Cake is
done when it springs back if touched lightly with a fingertip.
Do not overbake! Remove from oven and place right side up on
pick up tube pan (carefully--it's hot!!) while you insert the
neck of the bottle through the tube; gently and carefully turn
the whole assembly upside down so that the baked cake, still
in the pan, rests (upside down) on the (right side up) bottle.
I place the whole on a sturdy cooling rack; it should be about
12 inches above the surface of the table.
undisturbed and out of drafts until the cake has reached room
temperature--this will take at least an hour. While it cools,
the cake will shrink slightly--OK.
completely cool, turn cake pan right side up. With stiff-bladed
plastic spatula or knife, gently loosen cake from sides and
tube, then lift tube portion of pan (with cake still attached)
up from sides. Loosen cake from pan bottom; gently invert onto
large serving plate (this will be served upside down). Store
airtight at room temperature for up to three days, or refrigerate
airtight for up to ten days. Note that this does not freeze!
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