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Try this light, fluffy, chocolate angel food cake tonight! It is easier to separate the egg whites while the eggs are cold, but let the egg white come to room temperature before whipping. The bowl needs to be completely grease-free because the tiniest amount of grease or egg yolk will prevent the egg whites from reaching full volume.

Cake
1-1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
12 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place oven rack in center. Sift 3/4 cup sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add grated chocolate and set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. With machine running, add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a slow steady stream, beating until fully incorporated, stiff glossy peaks form and the beaters leave ridges in the whites. Add vanilla and almond extracts; beat to combine.

3. Remove from mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, gently but thoroughly, folding into egg-white mixture until fully combined. Pour into an 10-inch angel food cake pan. Tap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until cake springs back when depressed with a finger, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool, inverted, 1 hour before removing pan. Serve with chocolate hazelnut anglaise.

Chocolate Amaretto Anglaise
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons Amaretto Liqueur

1. Prepare an ice bath, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks, set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean with scrapings, and salt. Bring just to a simmer.
2. Using a measuring cup or a ladle, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture. Whisking constantly, continue to add milk mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until it has all been added. Pour mixture back into saucepan.
3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of a spoon, 1 to 5 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, set over ice bath. Whisk in Amaretto Liqueur; stir occasionally until cool. Cover, and transfer to refrigerator until completely chilled, at least one hour and up to overnight. Makes one 10-inch cake

Note: If you do not have cake flour, you can substitute 1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour for 1 cup of cake flour. Cake flour is made with soft wheat, producing less gluten when mixed, so your cake will be more delicate, with a slightly crumbly texture.

Posted on Jan 9, 2008
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