chocolate angel food cake photo by vsimon
This ethereal gluten free cake melts in your mouth. It tastes like sweet chocolate air.
It is dairy free, and great plain for every day. Or add a sauce or two for a spectacular treat. As my daughter says, “This is a thousand times better than store bought”. That’s if you can even find it.
Homemade and preservative free, it stays moist for days. Four days on the counter and it still tastes just baked. It gets eaten at our house, so we don’t really know how long it can go.
How hot is your oven? A little story.
We bake this cake for our clients. Since we always cook multiple dishes at once, there is a lot going on in a client’s kitchen. One day, I didn’t really have a handle on how long it was baking. After a while, it seemed long though.
I tested the cake with a thin skewer and it kept coming out a bit moist. But I had added chopped chocolate to the batter that day, I reasoned that was melted on the skewer. The cake had risen to lofty heights, and I tested the top with a finger. It seemed done.
Out of the oven, the cake deflated like a pierced balloon before my eyes. The shrieking sound was mine. The cake ended up half the height it started.
I didn’t have time or ingredients to make it again. It tasted great, but fudgy instead of airy. And it looked small and sad. I cut it into pieces and artfully arranged it on a serving plate to make it look better.
That evening, I received an email that the chocolate angel food cake was “AWESOME!!”” Mind you, this was not a capitalized / multiple exclamation point type of person. I emailed back, “THANKS”, and I wish you saw how awesome it was when I took it out of the oven.
Long story short, her oven as off 50 degrees. So it did take longer to cook, and I should have cooked it longer than I did. She got the oven fixed.
And she wanted a repeat of the deflated cake. We were never able to duplicate it. But we did find a flourless fudgy cupcake recipe she liked. I’ll post that sometime.
Back to airy angel food cake.
When I started adapting wheat recipes to gluten free, I looked for recipes with a minimal amount of flour. Angel food cakes rely on eggs and sugar for structure. Wheat flour has just a supporting role here. The cocoa functions like flour too. So making this gluten free wasn’t hard.
Today I used teff flour. Teff naturally pairs with chocolate. It is finely ground, there is no hint of grittiness. Even when when using it alone.
You might be saying, “Darn, I am just out of teff.” Sometimes, teff is hard to find in my grocery store. I have successfully made the same cake with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free blend too, measure for measure.
Please let us know if you make the cake with other gluten free whole grain flours. Like sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat…
Homemade angel food cake from scratch takes some skill. Though it is still “AWESOME!!!” if you goof.
People avoid sifting these days, but you do need to sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, and xanthan together. I promise, you will have lumps of unmixed dry ingredients it you skip this step.
And this cake is an exercise in egg foams. You beat the egg whites until they are foamy, then soft peaks, then glossy but not dry peaks. There is some judgment involved here.
But do not be afraid. Just jump in and make this lovely cake, it is the best way to experience perfect peaks.
Chocolate Angel Food Cake
|serves 12||metric measures|
|2/3 cup teff flour||95 gm|
|1/2 cup pure cocoa powder,
not cocoa drink mix
|3/4 cup sugar||150 gm|
|1/4 teaspoon xanthan||1 gm|
|1/2 teaspoon salt||4 gm|
|1-1/2 cup egg whites (11-12 egg whites)||360 ml|
|1 tablespoon very strong coffee||15 ml|
|1 tablespoon vinegar||15 ml|
|1 teaspoon cream of tartar||3 gm|
|12 tablespoons sugar||150 gm|
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Sift the teff flour, cocoa, 3/4 cup sugar, and xanthan together three times into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Put the salt, egg whites, coffee, vinegar, and cream of tarter in a very large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. The mixture will be foamy.
Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture increases in volume about 5 times. And holds very soft peaks that flop over when you lift up the beaters.
Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Beat to glossy, but not dry or stiff peaks.
Very gently fold in the sifted flour mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Stirring wildly will deflate the air you just mixed into the foam, and you want to keep all the air you can.
After you think the flour is well mixed, fold about ten times more. I seem to always have unmixed streaks in the finished cake if I don’t do this.
Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan. It has a column in the middle and a removable bottom. Do not use a nonstick tube pan. The batter needs some texture on the side of the pan to cling to.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Invert pan and cool at least 2 hours. The cake will set during this time and maintain it’s height. If the pan doesn’t have “feet”, you can slip it upside down over a glass bottleneck. Even baked properly, cooling it right side up, the cake is going to shrink some.
Super Simple Sauces
1. Thin preserves with water and add fresh fruit.
2. Thin peanut butter with an equal amount of water, stir until smooth.
3. Thin sour cream with water and add a bit of sugar and vanilla.