A1 Angel Food Cake
Fluffy light yet firm baked to a perfect soft golden crust.
Prepare an angel food cake pan. It's best with a removable bottom. Cut some parchment paper into a circle to fit the pan. Then fold the circle several times as if making a paper airplane and cut off the tip to create hole. Unfold and use to line the bottom of the cake pan.
Preheat the oven to 325℉ (160℃). Arrange the over rack(s) to allow the use of the lowest rack.
Sift the flour (three times is best) into a measuring cup over waxed paper and use a knife to level off any excess.
Do the same to measure out the sugar.
Combine ¾ cup of the sugar with the flour in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
In a large clean bowl add the egg whites. Preferably use a stand mixer with a whisk attachement for best results but a hand mixer will do the job in a pinch.
Whisk at medium speed until the egg whites are beginning to froth.
Add the cream of tartar and salt and increase the speed of the mixer. Continue whisking until very soft mounds begin to form.
Continue whisking and add the remaining sugar, one tablespoon as a time. Keep whisking until the egg whites are shiny and form soft peaks.
Add the vanilla, lemon juice and almond extract and whisk until just incorporated.
Do not over whisk to form firm peaks or it will be harder to fold in the flour/sugar mixture without deflating the egg whites.
Sift in 3 to 4 tablespoons of the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites and gently fold in with rubber spatula.
Repeat, sifting in more flour and gently fold until all the flour has been used.
Gentle pour/transfer the batter into the un-greased angel food cake pan. Smooth out if needed and sharply tap the pan a few times on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the cake rises and turns golden brown. The top should spring back when lightly touched.
Remove from the oven and invest the pan over a wine bottle (or other suitable method) so the pan hangs freely and air is allowed to circulate for even cooling.
Cool completely for 2 or 3 hours.
To remove from the pan use a flexible thin knife and insert along the edge between the cake and the pan. Press the knife firmly along the pan and rotate all the way around to release the edges. Try to keep as much of the golden crust intact as possible.
Release the center using the knife or a wire cake tester.
Invert (top side down) and release the cake. Peel off the parchment paper.
Cut using a long serrated bread knife.
Serve the same day. If serving the next day freeze the cake overnight (to avoid absorbing any moisture). Can be frozen for up to one or two months.
Serve with fresh berries, coulis or use in other recipes.