Saturday, January 17, 2009

Presley Bella Angel Food Marble Cake

Every so often, my practice of baking
challah almost every Friday afternoon, causes me to develop a surfeit of egg whites that threatens to take over the freezer. I keep adding the two extra egg whites left over from the recipe to a one quart container. Eventually, the containers fill up and I start new ones. When my freezer gets too crowded, I take one out and start casting around for ways to use them up. I make coffee meringue cookies, but they have a lot of sugar and fall apart into crumbs after a week or so. I make omelets for dinner with lots of extra egg white. I add them to meatballs, hamburgers, and make extra fluffy lemon meringue pies. I also make an exquisite three-layer white coconut or poppy seed cake, but don’t want the guilt of having them around if a lot of people are not going to share them.

A few days ago, I defrosted a quart of egg whites and went hunting on the Net for recipes that use cupfuls of them. I asked for suggestions on a Foodie Blogroll Forum. I have never been very fond of angel food cake that uses lots of them because of the cottony consistency, but I decided to try a couple of recipes that didn’t use a lot of other ingredients in case I didn’t like the results. It just so happened that the day my niece gave birth to Presley Bella, whom she called “Our Little Angel” in a previous blog, I made two angel food cakes. One that we absolutely loved, and the other (a maple angel food cake) that was just okay. I used up three cups of egg whites that were left over from the quart after making dumplings and omelets.

This great recipe goes back to Valentine’s Day, 1968, when it was featured by Florence P. Hanford, one of the first people with a cooking show on television, that aired on WFIL-TV every Wednesday afternoon. I treasure a loose-leaf book where, many years ago, I faithfully punched three holes in the multi-colored pages and organized her recipes by date. She lived to be very old and I noted that she died only recently. I hope that no one minds that I have renamed it in our family in honor of the coincidence. I think I will be using up lots more egg whites this way. The original recipe had “Creamy Icicle Frosting” that was supposed to be spread on the top and sides and then a drizzle of chocolate was to be dripped over the edge of the cake. In the interest of cutting down on sugar, I did not make the frosting, but the cake was great and looks beautiful without any.

Presley Bella Angelfood Marble Cake
Sift together cake flour and the 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar.

Place egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with wire whip attachment; beat until foamy. Add the second 3/4 cup sugar gradually, beating until the meringue holds stiff peaks. (I used to overbeat the egg whites, thinking that the more air the better, but over the years I learned that there is a difference between beating to stiff peaks, which still look moist, and overbeating until the egg whites look dry. Only beat just until the peaks no longer fall over at the top when the beater is lifted. Beating just until the right consistency is reached is the secret of a good spongecake.)

By hand, with a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted flour-sugar mixture. Fold in vanilla.

Remove approximately 8-cups (half) of the batter to another bowl. Fold the cocoa into what is left in the original mixing bowl. Spoon alternate dollops of plain and chocolate batter into an ungreased, removeable-bottomed, 10-inch tube pan. With a long, thin-bladed knife or metal spatula, cut carefully through the batter in wide zigzags to give a swirled effect.

Bake in a regular oven at 375°F. for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan until cool. To loosen the cake from the pan, use a long, thin-bladed knife or metal spatula and carefully slide between the cake and the sides, being sure to keep the blade pressed against the pan. Also loosen in the same way from the middle post. Once loosened, push the bottom of the pan to release it from the outer ring, slide the blade carefully around the bottom to loosen completely. (Taking the cake out of the pan so that it looks good takes patience and practice, another reason I usually avoid angel food cake, but this one is worth the trouble, and if it doesn’t look great, you can always present it already sliced, arranged on a plate with some kind of fruit or chocolate sauce to spoon over it.)

Note: I did eventually make the icing and it is wonderful! Check it out.


jmedancer said...

This is wonderful. Thank you for creating it! We will surely make it for our little angel.

Tali said...

I googled marble cake and was directed here.. no words to describe how much i love marble cake. VEry nice slideshow!!