The more I experiment with food the more I come to realize that classic recipes are classics for a reason. Spaghetti and MEATballs can’t be beat, peanut butter’s heart belongs to jelly, and we make Rice Krispie squares not Cheerio squares. As a food blogger, I consider it my unspoken duty to explore flavour combos and try new techniques in the hopes of creating something new and exciting. Sometimes the outcome is scrumptious, sometimes disastrous, rarely is it better than the classically-inspired original.
Since creating that decadent Heaven and Hell Cake for my 30th birthday back in December, I had been thinking about baking an Angel Food Cupcake and stuffing it with local strawberries. Unfortunately, the 6-month anticipation turned out to be more delicious than the actual dessert. Cake batter in individual muffin tins, I stuffed each muffin with 2 to 3 cleaned & trimmed local strawberries to create an awesomely decadent inside cavity, but baking this Angel Food Cake recipe as individual-sized muffins threw off the perfect balance, it lacked the texture of a sponge cake and offered too much chewiness and crunch. Traditional Angel Food Cake relies on its perfect ratio of light, fluffy texture to crunchy meringue top. For that, I am choosing to stick to the original classic cake to bed all of our freshly picked local berries.
I’ve been thinking a lot about traditional roles and classic approaches lately, beyond the cake pan and in my everyday existence. I’m at the end of a few big projects and the time has come to once again decide whether or not to (1) leap back into the full-time work force, (2) solicit part-time contract work, or (3) focus on my children and chasing my cookbook dreams. The past 6 months have proven that I can’t manage all 3 options at once (while staying sane) so the time has come to choose a direction and commit.
Work vs. Family is a tough balance for every family, especially those with young kids. There are many big decisions to be made to make it work right for your needs. I think it most often comes down to two great measures: time and money. Rarely do the two synch together so decisions need to be based on what is more available and more necessary at the moment.
Preparing this post, I started to compare all of the frustrations I’ve had the past few months while managing chaotic schedules, expectations of others, my household, my kids, my relationships, my health, and so on to a dry Angel Food Cupcake. It wasn’t terrible but I know it can be better. With that thought in mind, I’m committing to the exploration of new avenues and new techniques in the hopes of discovering a successful recipe for work and family balance, until that day comes, I think I’ll be happy in my classic role of just being a dependable mom – with a side serving of food blogger (of course).
Classic Angel Food Cake:
Inspired by Saveur.com and the oh so extravagant Heaven and Hell Cake
Makes one standard-size Angel Food Cake or 32 standard-size muffins
Note: You will use 12 eggs in this recipe, be sure you have enough before getting started.
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 large eggs)
- 1 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- Heat oven to 325°f. Generously coat with non-stick spray or butter the inside of an sponge cake pan (tall walls with a hollow centre, approximately $15 new in most kitchen supply store).
- In a medium bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar and flour; set flour mixture aside.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with a handheld or stand mixer on low speed until frothy.
- Increase mixer speed to medium, sprinkle in sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Sprinkle half of the confectioners’ sugar–flour mixture over egg whites; using a rubber spatula, fold until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour mixture.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until top of cake springs back when touched, 45–50 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack and let cool.
P.S. Go ahead and try this recipe as a batch of cupcakes. Just because it wasn’t my favourite, doesn’t mean it won’t be yours. Either way, enjoy! xoAdd to favorites