Angel Food Cake originated in the United States and it's a type of sponge cake but made with egg whites, flour and sugar, with a whipping agent like Cream of Tartar. It was so named because of it's unique light and fluffy texture and is said to resemble the "food of the angels!" It first became popular in the 19th century and it differs from other cakes because it uses no butter, but rather gets it's structure from "protein foam" from whipping egg whites. Egg whites, which are composed of many proteins, aid in creating the voluminous angel food cake.
If you're a Butter Pecan fan, like me (and my mother was), then this is the cake for you; my hubby loved it!
Butter Pecan Angel Food Cake with Browned Butter Glaze
Preheat oven to 375F-degrees. Used an UNGREASED 10-inch Tube Pan, preferably one with "feet" to help properly cool the cake.
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
1 cup cake flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup finely ground pecans
12 egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 T Butter flavoring
1 T Vanilla extract
1 T Vanilla Butternut Flavoring
1 cup granulated sugar
In a medium bowl, sift the confectioners' sugar and cake flour. Add the salt and stir. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and flavorings until frothy on high speed. Gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until stiff and peaks form. My mom always said, "if you can turn the bowl upside down over your head and none falls out, you've whipped it enough!"
Remove bowl from the stand and gently fold in the flour/confectioners' sugar mixture in thirds until it's fully incorporated. This can get a little messy, but gently folding ensures you have a light cake!
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes--mine actually took 38, so watch it after 35 just to be sure.
If you don't have a 10-inch tube pan with feet, you will have to invert the pan onto a top of a bottle. Let it cool completely.
Browned Butter Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
10T unsalted butter, cubed and browned
In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it turns a medium brown and has a nutty aroma--about 8 minutes. Have your confectioners' sugar and salt in a medium bowl and when the butter is ready, pour over the sugar through a fine-mesh strainer. Whisk until smooth. Pour over the inverted cooled cake and decorate with additional chopped pecans. Enjoy!