Heavenly Angel Food Cake
On a recent food-magazine photo shoot in my office, the scent of baking began wafting through the room. I immediately perked up—that sweet smell laced with vanilla was so familiar—but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was. The minutes passed and the scent memory grew stronger, but still no clue.
Thankfully, one of my coworkers was having the same thought and asked the food stylist what was baking. “Angel food cake,” he quickly replied. Of course! It couldn’t have been anything else.
I remembered those cakes of my childhood, when my mom would pull her angel food cake out of the oven and, to allow it to cool, inverted it (cake tin and all) over the neck of a bottle of Lea & Perrins Worchestershire sauce. In my memory, that one bottle of sauce was in our kitchen for about 15 years.
My siblings and I would take our piece of cake and try to roll the entire thing into the smallest ball imaginable, and then we’d eat the dense ball in one bite. Hard to believe that we could treat a slice of cake that way, but to my childhood self, it tasted even better all balled up.
Mom baked angel-food cakes regularly (probably because they’re so low calorie—a reason the cake was so popular during the Eighties and early Nineties, when it seemed like everyone’s mom was dancing around the living room to Jane Fonda aerobics tapes).
Angel food is not a rich cake, but that’s precisely why it makes such a great sweet treat for any night of the week. It’s incredibly simple to pull it together with just six ingredients in the classic version, and it’s incredibly versatile:
You can serve angel-food cake with fresh fruit. You can bake a marble version or coat a regular cake in chocolate sauce. You can cut it into chunks and serve it as a parfait. You can slice it and fry it up for French Toast. You can even make it pink—which, I have to say, is a hallmark of a great dessert.