Cappuccino Angel Food Cake

(Serves 12)
Cappuccino Angel Food Cake
An angel food cake is wonderfully light and airy in texture and not overly sweet.  It is made with a large
amount of egg whites whipped until they are stiff, and gently folded into the other ingredients.   In order for an angel food cake to rise well it is best to use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour.  The softer flour, which is low in gluten, and the lack of fat (there is no butter or oil in this cake) cause angel food cake to have a very light texture and taste.  In this recipe, instant espresso powder, vanilla extract, and cinnamon combine to create a different flavor profile.  Traditionally, angel food cake is not frosted, since heavy frosting would obscure the light texture and flavor of the cake. Sprinkle the top with confectioners' sugar and simply serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, gelato, or some fresh fruit.
Tips for Making a Perfect Angel Food Cake:

1. The bowl in which you whip the egg whites needs to completely clean and  grease-free. Even the tiniest bit of oil or egg yolk will prevent the whites from whipping properly. 

2. As much air as they can hold should be beaten into the egg whites; they should triple in volume.  Do not over beat the whites or they will become dry and difficult to blend with the other ingredients and therefore will produce a heavy cake.

3. The batter for angel food cake doubles in volume during baking and requires a deep pan.  The cake should be baked in a tube pan; a tall, round pan with a tube in the center that leaves a hole in the middle of the cake.  The tube conducts heat to the center of the batter; without it the cake will dry out on the edges before thecenter bakes through. The angel food cake pan should not be greased, unlike pans used to prepare other cakes.  This allows the cake batter to rise higher by 'clinging'  to the sides of thepan.

4. After the batter is poured into the pan, run a knife or spatula through the middle of the batter to eliminate any large air pockets that may have formed. Bake the batter immediately to prevent the batter from losing its air and deflating.

5. An angel food cake is always turned up-side down in its pan to cool.  This allow the steam to condense on the bottom of the pan and help prevent sticking and it also allow the proteins to stretch as they cool and prevent the cake from collapsing.  Invert the cake in the pan over a funnel or bottle neck to cool.  Some tube pans have metal legs that allow you to rest the pan on a counter-top to cool.

6. Angel food cake should be cut with a serrated knife, as a straight-edged blade tends to compress the cake rather than slice it.

1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1-2/3 cups egg whites (about 12 large eggs)
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder 
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla  extract
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and confectioners' sugar; set aside.

In large bowl, combine the egg whites, instant espresso coffee powder, cream of tartar, salt, and cinnamon. With an electric mixer, beat on high speed until soft peaks form; beat in vanilla. Add the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating mixture after each addition. Beat until the sugar completely dissolves and egg whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks.

Add the flour mixture to the egg whites, one-third at a time, folding in with rubber spatula after each addition. The flour should be completely blended with the whites.  Spoon the batter into ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Run a knife or spatula through the batter to eliminate any air pockets. Bake the cake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched with a finger. Invert the cake in the pan on a funnel or bottle; cool completely in pan. With metal spatula, carefully loosen cake from pan. Invert onto a dish and invert again onto a serving dish.

Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
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