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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Cake That Descended From The Pearly Gates

Okay generally my mother is a complete and utter control nazi when it comes to the kitchen.

I think I live in one of the few households on the entire planet where when someone offers to bake, they are greeted with a look of pure, seething, cold, unnatural and somewhat bowel clenching distaste.

You see, my mother hates mess. Yeah you're thinking, everyone hates mess you choof Ella, didn't take a genius.

But my mother, oh, she has a pure, seething, cold, unnatural and somewhat bowel clenching hate for mess.

I will admit, her opinion is fair in a sense. I am a disgustingly messy cook. I like to be artistic when I bake, throwing flour, caressing myself with brown sugar and rubbing butter into the crevasses of the drawers. So when I offer to bake, my mother

(who stupidly decided to tile the kitchen floor with black and white tiles that are quite possibly the easiest things to stain in the world. It's like she went into the tile place and said "GIVE ME TILES I CAN STAIN BITCH!")

pre-empts the eggshells and raspberry buttercream (yum) lining the walls (i'd probs like raspberry buttercream off the walls to be honest...) and proceeds to give me the deathstare that makes me shit my pants.

I've even resorted to baking in the time she goes to the grocery store. She says "Ella I'm just going out for an hour to do some chores." I hear the key in the ignition and like a gazelle I assemble and make mess and bake and clean and I fucking have an epic choc chip cookie for her to munch on when she walks back in the door. She's none the wiser.

Anyway, I did have a point to this ramble.

And that is, when I walked in the door the other morning my mother accosted me and said "BAKE SOMETHING WITH EGG IN IT"

Yes friends, my father had spent the weekend at a conference and had come home with 32 cartons of eggs that they did not ingest while at the conference.

The first thing that sprung to mind was angel food cake, which I had never been brave enough to bake before without permission as it requires ten to twelve egg whites. This number would even make my retail therapy addicted mother shit her pants.

Anyway, I made an angel food cake and here is the recipe. It's pretty difficult to get right the first time, but if you're really careful and follow the instructions to the very last full stop, you will get the lightest fluffiest most beautiful cake you can possibly imagine.

It also has an extremely low fat content as it is egg white based, so for all you loser dieters out there you can have seconds and not wake up feeling like you should put on a makeshift nappy, tie your hair in a bun and tackle some other asian fatties. I took the recipe from The CookBook Store's Poppyseed Angel Food Cake with Grapefruit Curd and omitted the grapefruit curd and poppyseeds and made a vanilla based one with a yummmmmyyy warm raspberry sauce on the side.


Vanilla Angel Food Cake with Ella's Warm Raspberry Sauce

angel food cake...
1 cup cake flour (or plain is just dandy)
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (it WILL work better with caster but feel free to use white)
1 1/2 cups egg whites (keep the yolks for another recipe..otherwise it's such a sad waste. make hollandaise sauce and have eggs benedict in the morning! fucking yum!)
2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
A generous squirt of lemon juice

raspberry sauce...
cup of berries (frozen or finely chopped fresh)
two tablespoons thickened cream
squirt of lemon juice
as much icing sugar as you want (until you get your preferred consistency)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a spotlessly clean 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom, ungreased and unlined. Sift the all of the flour and 1/2 cups of the sugar together 3 times, then set it nearby.

In the very clean, grease-free bowl of an electric or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl if whipping by hand, beat the egg whites with warm water until frothy. If you have a mixmaster, USE IT. Try really hard to make sure you get little to no yolk in the cake as it completely changes the texture. Add the cream of tartar and the salt and whip the whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, a little at a time, whipping constantly. When all the sugar has been added, the whites should be firm, glossy and hold stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.

The flour-sugar mixture must be incorporated very gently, but as quickly as possible so as not to deflate the whites. This is best done using your hand, as to avoid lumpage. You can use a spatula but you will almost certainly have some lumps if you don't just get into it.

Sprinkle about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the whites, then use your (clean!) hand to fold the batter over onto itself, making sure you reach down to the very bottom of the bowl and scoop all the way around the sides and through the centre. When you don't see or feel lumps of flour, add another 1/4 of the flour. Repeat until the final 1/4 of the flour is meshed through.The batter should still look lovely and white and fluffy and like a cloud. :)

Scrape the batter into the pan, do it carefully, you need as much air in the cake as possible. Smooth the top of the batter, then run a clean knife through the batter in the pan to rupture any of the larger air bubbles.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, and the top is cracked and golden.
While the cake is a baking, whip out a food processer or mixer chuck some icing sugar, frozen chopped berries (I used rasperries but if you chop up some strawberries, all works) squirt of lemon juice and two tablespoons of thickened cream and PROCESS until all blended and lovely. Bung this in the microwave for two minutes on high to warm it up and serve it drizzled over your cake.


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