First concocted almost 100 years before the egg beater, angel food cake used to be a true labor of love. Perhaps that explains its other name, Pennsylvania Dutch Wedding Cake. Even now with our modern conveniences like hand mixers, stand mixers, and “old-fashioned” crank egg beaters, Popular Science says “If you’ve never whipped egg whites before—don’t. It’s a real pain”. That one made me laugh. Folks, it’s not that bad.
Angel food cake is a natural crossover into the gluten free realm since it has such a small amount of flour anyway. In this recipe, Dale uses three gluten free starches in place of the flour: potato starch (NOT potato flour), which helps baked goods stay light and fluffy; tapioca starch to give the angel food its characteristic spongy texture and to aid in browning; cornstarch, for its binding and thickening abilities.
- 1-1/2 cups egg whites (about 10)
- 3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour or starch
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Sift 3/4 cup sugar, tapioca, cornstarch and potato starch together twice and set aside.
- Beat eggwhites on medium speed and add the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt. Beat until soft peaks form.
- Beat on high and add remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form.
- Gradually fold in starch and sugar mixture about 1/2 cup at a time.
- Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Poke through the batter gently to remove large air bubbles.
- Bake on the lowest oven rack at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until the top is a light brown and starts to crack. Turn the pan upside-down immediately and cool completely (about 2 hours)
- Run your knife around the side and center tube of the pan to release it onto your cake plate. Top with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
Want a visual? Watch Rachel from The Stay At Home Chef whip egg whites in a Mauviel copper bowl, a stainless steel bowl, a plastic bowl (egads!) and a glass bowl. What you don’t see is how these various meringues perform once baked. As Popular Science explains, egg whites whipped in copper are more stable and less leaky than egg whites whipped in another vessel.
We know that not everyone has room in their kitchen or their budget for a copper beating bowl, which is why this recipe also includes cream of tartar. Chemically, it serves a similar purpose to the copper and is almost as effective.