17 years ago today, I was a new bride just a month away from her first anniversary. And my loving husband was turning 25 and wanted his traditional birthday cake. The one his mom, the gourmet cook, always made him when he was growing up. Since we lived around 8 hours away from his mother at that time, it was up to me to produce said cake.
Now really, in comparison to many of the things my mother-in-law makes, the cake is a breeze–angel food with a layer of chocolate pudding in the middle and whipped cream for icing. But Adventure Guy stressed how important it was for the cake to be homemade.
So, I dug out my great-grandmother’s angel food cake recipe and got to work.
Ma-Ma’s Angel Food Cake
2 1/4 c. sugar, sifted then measured
1 7/8 c. egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 1/2 c. sifted flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Add 1/2 of sugar to flour and sift together twice. Beat egg whites and salt together until foamy. Sprinkle cream of tartar over egg whites and continue beating until stiff but not dry. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over whites. Fold in slowly until all sugar is added. Add flavoring. Sift in flour and sugar mixture slowly. Fold in carefully. Turn into ungreased angel food cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until finger doesn’t leave a dent.
Note all the sifting. And do you know how long it takes to successfully separate 1 7/8 cups of egg whites? Not 2 cups, but 1 7/8 cups?
But finally, the cake was done. I cooled it, cut it in half, added the pudding layer, and finished it off with whipped cream. After I proudly served it to Adventure Guy, I couldn’t resist asking how it was as compared to his mom’s version. His answer? Wait. For. It.
“It’s pretty good, but the cake doesn’t taste exactly the same. What brand mix did you use?”
I could have killed him, but that wouldn’t have been very nice it being his birthday and all. After I defined the meaning of “homemade” for him, he explained that he had meant his mom didn’t buy an angel food cake at the store but made it from home from a mix–a little detail I would have liked to have known prior to the multiple sifting events.
But, I forgave him. I even still make him the cake, just like I did today for his 42nd birthday. The key to success? Betty Crocker mix. Just add water and bake! I also suggest using a standing mixer (I love my KitchenAid) and powdered sugar to make the whipped cream. After cutting baked angel food cake in half, add a layer of chocolate pudding on the bottom half, top with the other half and then ice a thin layer of whipped cream to cover the cake and set in the crumbs. Add more whipped cream until the cake is fully iced. Enjoy!