angel food cake [eyn–juhl food keyk] noun
A light, fat-free cake baked in a special tube pan (see angel food cake pan). This dessert is typically made with egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar (granulated or confectioners’), salt, cake flour and vanilla extract.
Beaten egg whites provide the loft for the cake and the pan is always ungreased so the egg-white-heavy batter can climb up the deep sides of the pan. To prepare, egg whites are beaten with part of the sugar until stiff, but not dry. Dry ingredients (usually including the remaining sugar) are folded in. The cake will only fill the pan about halfway, as the air beaten into the egg whites helps the batter double in height during baking. Some pans have “feet” that allow the cake to cool upside down. This preserves its loft by preventing the cake from falling down onto itself. Lacking feet, or in lieu of using them, many recipes suggest to slip the center tube over a sturdy bottle with a slender neck. This will suspend the angel food cake upside down in an alternate way (Insert image of inverted pan on bottle).