Since the Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book is often required bedtime reading in this house, I was quite worried that the Small Girl would choose something like a helicopter or castle for her birthday cake. Mercifully, she wanted a "pink cake with ballerinas on it", which was much, much easier to produce.
Angel Food Cake Supreme
My mother once had a recipe booklet, dating back to the 1960s, called 'New American Recipes'. I remember reading it as a child and her explaining to me how angel food cake was such an American delicacy and how tricky it was to make. I don't know where her copy got to but I nearly wept last year when I found one in a charity shop. I thought of Mum often while I made the cake in the weekend, wishing she was here to see it in all its fluffy, pink-iced glory.
I made this cake in a special angel food cake tin my sister found in a charity shop (and kindly donated to the cause). If you don't have one, use a deep, 25-30cm ring tin. Mum had a square ring tin - that is to say, a square tin with a hole bit in the middle - which I remember she used when making this cake, but I've never seen anything like it elsewhere. The most important thing, whatever tin you use, is not to grease it. The batter needs to climb up the sides of the tin and greasing it will be akin to oiling a hill and then expecting your car to drive up it.
This is the first recipe in 'New American Recipes', which makes it my entry for this month's Random Recipes challenge, in which you must select a book at random and make the first (or last) recipe from it.
110g sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
185g caster sugar
170g caster sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 10-12)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond essence
Preheat the oven to 175C.
Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and first measure (185g) of caster sugar together THREE times. Set aside.
Put the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar into a large bowl and beat with an electric beater (or in a freestanding mixer) until foamy. Gradually add the second measure (170g) of sugar, two tablespoons at a time, until the mixture is meringue-like and holds stiff peaks. Fold in the vanilla and almond essence.
Sift the dry ingredients over the meringue and fold in as gently as you can until just mixed. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin. Cut through the mixture with a knife to release any air bubbles.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake springs back when touched. Invert over a rack and let hang until cold, then remove from the tin.
I iced my cake with raspberry meringue buttercream - the making of which was FAR more stressful than the making of this lovely cake - but you are limited only by your imagination (and the demands of the cake's recipient).
Do you have a copy of New American Recipes? Have you ever made any of its dazzling recipes?