Angel Food Cake
The name alone evokes images of floating clouds and winged celestial beings offering sweet gifts from the oven. When made right, this Angel Cake is indeed an ethereal treat from your own kitchen. The key to a light and fluffy cake is in the ingredients: fresh egg whites, which you must whip to pillowy perfection for heavenly results; cream of tartar, which helps stabilize the whites so the cake won’t deflate after it comes out of the oven; and cake flour, for a tender crumb.
Use the freshest eggs you can — the whites will whip up better and hold more strongly.
Start with more eggs than you need. It’s important that no yolks are in this recipe.
Let the eggs come to room temperature before you use them.
When breaking eggs, break the shell against a hard, flat surface — whacking them against the rim of a bowl may cause the shell to break in toward the center, increasing the chance of shell bits getting into the mix.
When separating eggs, break them into clean, individual bowls. Be sure to keep the yolk whole; using clean hands, scoop out the yolk and let the white slip through your fingers back into the bowl, or use one half of the broken eggshell to scoop out the egg yolk. Save the yolks for custard.
This recipe also calls for a mix of vanilla and almond extracts, but feel free to use all of one or the other or your own combination (just keep it to a total of 1-1/2 teaspoons).