I have always been a big angel food cake fan. I love the high rise and soft texture of the light and fluffy cake, as well as how versatile the finished cake can be. It needs no frosting, although you can always add a simple glaze or dessert sauce, and it goes well with all kinds of fruits and ice creams. Angel food cakes are actually fat free, too, so I especially like them as light snacks or when served after a heavy meal.
My favorite angel food cake is plain vanilla, and I have been using the same Perfect Angel Food Cake recipe as my standard for some time now. As with so many other desserts, however, I like to have variations ready to go when I’m looking for something different. This is a Chocolate Angel Food Cake.
This cake is made the exact same way as a traditional angel food cake, namely with lots of beaten egg whites, but it has cocoa powder included along with the cake flour. The cocoa adds a not-too-rich chocolate flavor to the finished product and is a nice change from plain vanilla. The cake is sweet, even more moist than regular angel food cake, and keeps well for several days. You will need a tube pan for the best results, as well as a little bit of whipped cream and maybe some fresh berries – or at least a big cup of coffee – when you go to serve it!
Chocolate Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large), room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup sifted cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (pref. Dutch process)
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a small bowl, sift together 3/4 cup sugar, the cake flour and the cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, the add cream of tartar and salt. Beat at high speed, gradually adding the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar one to two tablespoons at a time. When sugar has been added, beat egg whites to soft peaks. You will know when you have soft peaks because the egg whites will look like soft waves and when you lift the beaters, the peaks will droop back down into the batter. If your batter is falling in ribbons, it is not quite down. Don’t be afraid to slow down the mixer and check a few times as you get close. Once you have soft peaks, add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat for a few seconds to evenly distribute.
Sift the cocoa mixture over the egg whites in 4-6 additions and gently fold it in after each addition. It is better to take your time and do it gently than to rush and deflate the egg whites.
Spoon batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Smooth the top with a spatula and tap the pan on the counter once or twice to ensure that there are no large bubbles lurking beneath the surface.
Bake for about 55 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove from oven an invert pan over a bottle. Allow to cool completely or overnight.
Gently run a thin knife around the sides, then around the bottom, of the pan to release the cake when you are ready to serve it.