What's For Dessert: Angel Food Cake with Fresh Berries

It's berries galore at the local supermarket -- and what better accompaniment with fresh berries than a slice of angel food cake? The last time I purchased one of these cakes at the store I accidentally picked up an artificially-flavored (and colored) strawberry angel food cake. Long story short, it was not good. A quick scan of the nutrition facts for a "regular" angel food cake indicated a whole bunch of ingredients. I decided it was about time I tried to make one myself. So, off to the store for an angel food cake (tube) pan, and I was good to go. I think my cake turned out rather well, though it definitely had a homemade appearance and was not quite as "perfect"-looking as the store-bought kind. But no matter, as the taste was nearly spot on. I think the altitude messed with the fluffiness a little bit, but otherwise, I think I'd call my first attempt at making an angel food cake from scratch a success!

Angel Food Cake (printer-friendly version)
makes 10+ servings

1 1/2 cups liquid egg whites (or the egg whites from about 12 eggs)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Amaretto (or almond extract, if you're a teetotaler)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup raw sugar

1. Measure out 1 1/2 cups egg whites. (I was feeling lazy and was quite daunted by the need to separate out 12 egg yolks from the whites, so I used the carton variety.) Pour into a mixing bowl (I poured them directly into the mixing bowl for my stand mixer). Allow egg whites to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
2. Sift together the flour and powdered sugar. Repeat for a total of three times. Set aside.
3. Add the cream of tartar, vanilla extract, Amaretto, and sea salt to the egg whites. Beat the egg whites on high-speed. Gradually pour in the raw sugar while beating the eggs.
4. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until stiff peaks form.
5. Gently fold in the flour-powdered sugar mixture. Add the dry ingredients in small increments, about 1/3 cup at a time.
6. Spoon the mixture into an ungreased angel food cake (tube) pan.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently touched.
8. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan. Let the cake completely cool in the pan.
9. After the cake has cooled to room temperature, carefully remove it from the pan. You may need to use a knife or flat spatula to gently cut around the edges to help it release from the pan.
10. Serve with fresh berries (see below) and a dab of whipped cream, if you are feeling particularly indulgent.

(adapted from this recipe)

Fresh Berries
makes 2+ servings

1 cup strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved
1/2 cup blackberries, halved
1/2 teaspoon raw sugar

1. Mix together the strawberries and blackberries.
2. Sprinkle the berries with the sugar. Gently mix the berries.
3. Let the berries sit for an hour or so to let the juices flow.
4. Serve with angel food cake or eat them straight from the bowl!