March 21, 2010

Kids in the Kitchen: Angel Food Cake

Today was one of those days. No, not those days. Just a day where I misjudged. A day where I “should’ve known better”. A day where I was reminded that gluten-free baking doesn’t always turn out beautifully in my kitchen. Of course, I realize nobody’s perfect. Everything won’t score a 10 in our kitchen. This is an obvious fact of life. But I felt disappointed nonetheless.

See, Brittany wanted to make angel food cake. We’ve made it before (wow, that was almost exactly a year ago!), and it was delightful. Except now, I’ve exclusively baked gluten-free for months. There is no wheat flour in my kitchen. And yet, I went into my first-time-ever gluten-free angel food cake with nary a worry. I didn’t opt to follow my gluten-filled recipe and simply sub alternative flours. I found another cake recipe, and arbitrarily substituted flours, not giving adequate thought to how the combinations would turn out.

And then WHAM! I was hit by a bummer of a cake. But it was more than that. It was a disappointment for Brittany. Oh, of course, we’ve all shared turns making less-than-stellar dishes in the kitchen. It’s part of experimenting, and it’s part of the cooking process. We all have to learn that lesson. Today, we did. (I just hate when I personally feel it had a lot to do with a few flour substitutions I made.)

We won’t let this experiment get us down, however. Brittany and I have already been talking about what we can change. We’re already talking about what will be wonderful to try next time. The reasons for our tenacity are many: Brittany wants to make a cake she can be proud of. (Well, so do I.) For me, I also want to achieve that goal I set for myself with any gluten-free dish: to provide a dish that is every bit as good (or better!) as a “gluten-y” recipe, sans gluten. But most importantly, I want to teach our children to cook in the kitchen. Sometimes, the two goals cannot be achieved in a single task, but we’ll keep on trying to reach both!

So, I will share the recipe with you, in case anyone happens to have opinions/suggestions on the subject. And to make things perfectly clear; I don’t hold the recipe creator accountable for the failure on our cake! (that had more to do with my errors and substitutions - besides, Gluten Free Mommy is awesome!) I do know one thing. Next time? No amaranth flour. (as my husband remarked, it makes the cake taste kind of like a dish towel!) But I would still like to work to make it fluffier and lighter, as it was rather dense. Still trying to work on how to accomplish that. Maybe I’ll revisit my old recipe, we’ll just have to see!

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake, adapted from Gluten-Free Mommy

1 1/2 c granulated sugar

1/4 c sweet rice flour

1/4 c tapioca starch

1/4 c coconut flour

1/4 c amaranth flour

1 t xanthan gum

12 egg whites, room temperature

1 1/2 t cream of tartar

1/4 t salt

1 T vanilla extract

1/2 t almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the sugar in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and turn on. You will process the sugar until it becomes fine, nearly like powdered sugar. Separate egg whites in a stainless steel bowl and let them come to room temperature. In a separate medium bowl, sift gluten free flours, salt, xanthan gum, and 3/4 cup of of the sugar. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Beat until the egg whites form soft peaks. Beat in the other reserved 3/4 cup of sugar about 3 tablespoons at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Slowly fold in flour mixture about 1/4 cup at a time. Once the flour mixture is combined, fold in the vanilla and almond extract. Slowly pour the batter into a tube pan (preferably one where the inside lifts out) and spread the batter evenly. Run a knife through the cake to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake for 50-55 minutes until top is golden and sides begin to pull away. Cool for 10 minutes. Run the edges of a knife along the pan and pull out the insert to the tube pan. Run a knife along the bottom of the insert and invert onto a cake plate. Serve with topping of choice!

18 Responses to “Kids in the Kitchen: Angel Food Cake”

  1. We all have our mishaps in the kitchen… but we always learn something, don’t we? (or that’s what’s supposed to be the spirit… ;-))

  2. I have no suggestions to offer b/c I don’t have experience with gluten-free baking. Hopefully Brittany can look at the “failure” of the first attempt as a challenge to find the perfect recipe.

  3. Well, it sounds like the experience will end up being a worthwhile learning experience, which is always good. Sorry for the disappointment though. I recommend toasting/broiling slices a little bit to see if you can redeem it for eating. Then add some butter or jam if necessary. It’s amazing how a little broiling action can redeem some baking failures. And, saving the cake to use its crumbs for pies or the base of other desserts might be an option (again, might have to toast to get the right crunchiness … toast, then freeze). You have to be thankful to husbands for their honesty. ;-) Amaranth might indeed have played a factor in your overall displeasure with the cake.

    Shirley

  4. Still looks good to me!

  5. sorry it didn’t turn out. There’s always a next time. I guess that’s the beauty of cooking and baking. You can always try more than once. It does look good though. :)

  6. what a drag. i love angel food cake…miss it sooo much as im on my 7th yr of being gf. I am determined to make a wonderul af cake and will share my recipe when I perfect it……im sorry yours didnt turn out, but it looks pretty! ha ha.

  7. The cake still looks pretty good.

  8. It looks really good to me but I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t turn out as good as you wanted it to. I have no idea on gluten free stuff. I’ve heard a lot about it but I don’t really know anything about it. I hope you find a recipe that works for you next time.

  9. The cake looks amazing, even if it did taste like a dish towel. I haven’t made any gf cakes or cupcakes yet, so no suggestions, but good luck!

  10. I have made GF Mommy’s recipe. It IS awesome! I would recommend using less “fibrous” flours.

  11. Darlin Brittany, I wish I could show you my first pork chops 27 years ago, I still feel the horror. Darn the bad luck and forge ahead. Happy Sunday~LeslieMichele

  12. Oh bum, how annoying. Still at least it looks ok! So it’s not a failure on all fronts! Maybe you could use it to make trifle?
    (http://www.taste.com.au/search-recipes/?q=trifle&publication=)

  13. I have been there many a times in the kitchen! The most recent disaster came in the form of (gluten filled) bread! Supposed to be a straight forward recipe, but I managed to screw it up royally! Ah, well, such is life! Good luck with this angel food cake!

  14. angel food cakes are wonderful to eat and heck to make gluten free – I have tried several times and each time end up with bits of flour globs through out the cake – yuck! the recipe I have used for angel food cake uses only potato starch – and when it works it is good! I recently found a web site for a “Gluten Free Tropical Angels cake recipe” on this web site – hope it works for you: http://www.grouprecipes.com then type in gluten free tropical angels cake recipe. Let me know how it works for you – I have been on a diet so refined grains is not allowed in my diet so I haven’t had a chance to try it. :-(

  15. I agree on omitting the amaranth flour. I find it very bitter.

    I think the coconut flour might be weighing it down, making it too dense – I believe angel food cake is usually very low fat for that reason, and coconut flour is higher in fat and protein (and also fairly heavy). You might experiment with a higher starch ratio; I’ve found arrowroot is good for very delicate things. Maybe use a little more tapioca starch too. Carol Fenster’s angel food recipe (in “1000 Gluten-Free Recipes) uses some sorghum – I’ve never tried it, but I’ve had good results with many things in that cookbook.

    One more thing you might try is using caster sugar (superfine sugar) in place of regular.

    Good luck!

  16. I love amaranth flour but it has to be in the right context. It’s good with fruit – I haven’t tried it with chocolate yet. But I don’t think it would go well with coconut.

    That being said, to me it’s light enough in texture to work in an angel food cake even if the taste is way off. The coconut flour stands out as a red flag for me – I think it might end up gummy. I’ve not worked with it a lot so I could be wrong but it’s usually really absorbent and needs a lot of liquid to turn out light.

    I screwed up dinner the other night – I had a menu planned in my head and it sounded good but once it was made I couldn’t figure out what I was thinking. This is how I learn…

  17. I hate it when I make substitutions without much thought and then it doesn’t turn out. You’re not alone. I’ve only tried angel food cake once. It was okay but not great. It’s just not something I miss. Sorry I don’t have enough experience to help you with it.

  18. Hmm…that cake doesn’t look like a disaster to me. You should have seen the cake I made when I tried making a GF angel food cake…OH MY GOODNESS….sometimes when things go so smoothly with GF baking for so long, it’s rather humbling to have something that bad happen. lol

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