VALENTINE'S DAY // RED VELVET ANGEL FOOD CAKE

Valentine's Day. Some people love it, some people hate it. Me? I'm on the fence, I don't feel the need to go out and eat a prix fixe menu in an overcrowded restaurant (sorry but it's true), but I do however like to send greeting cards and of course, bake.

This year I decided to kick-off the festive baking with something I've been thinking about for the past few weeks. I love angel food cake (who doesn't?) and I love red velvet cake (the perfect Valentine's Day treat) but why hadn't I ever seen a recipe for combining the two, red velvet angel food cake? I just blew your mind didn't I?

It was there and then that I decided I was going to create a recipe for one. I started by researching angel food cake. I went straight to some of my favorite blogs, Joy of Baking, Epicurious, and even Betty Crocker for this one but in the end I ended up going with the angel food cake recipe from Brown Eyed Baker (you can never go wrong with her).
The recipe looked pretty straight forward and I had even been given the special angel food cake pan recently, feet and all. The only thing left to do was figure out the ratios to turn this angel food cake into red velvet angel food cake. First, I had to think about what really makes red velvet red velvet. The cocoa powder and red food coloring of course. Next I had to think about measurements, how much of each would I need to add to this recipe?

Red Velvet Angel Food Cake
(Angel Food Cake Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker)

Yield: 10 to 12 servings     Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 to 60 minutes  Total Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup sifted plain cake flour
1½ cups sifted granulated sugar

2 tbs cocoa powder
12 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons lemon juice

Red food coloring

Directions
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Have ready an ungreased large tube pan (9-inch, 16-cup capacity). If the pan bottom is not removable, line it with parchment paper.

2. Whisk the flour, ¾ cup of the sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Place the remaining ¾ cup sugar in another small bowl next to the mixer.

3. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer at low speed until just broken up and beginning to froth. Add the cream of tartar and salt and beat at medium speed until the whites form very soft, billowy mounds. With the mixer still at medium speed, beat in the remaining ¾ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites are shiny and form soft peaks. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until just blended. Add red food coloring. I started with 1 teaspoon and added more until the cake was the color I wanted (keep in mind adding cocoa powder will dull the color slightly).

4. Sift the flour-sugar mixture over the whites, about 3 tablespoons at a time, and gently fold in, using a large rubber spatula.

5. Gently scrape the batter into the pan, smooth the top with the spatula, and give the pan a couple of raps on the counter to release any air bubbles.

6. Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly, 50 to 60 minutes.

7. If the cake pan has prongs around the rim for elevating the cake, invert the pan onto them. If the pan does not have prongs, invert the pan onto the neck of a bottle or funnel. Let the cake cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.

8. To unmold, run a knife around the edges of the pan, being careful not to separate the golden crust from the cake. Slide the cake out of the pan and cut the same way around the removable bottom to release, or peel off the parchment paper, if using. Place the cake, bottom-side up, on a platter. Cut slices by sawing gently with a large, serrated knife. Serve the cake the day it is made.

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