An American classic: light, airy angel cake

Old-fashioned angel cake, once made in order to use up left-over egg whites, is now an American classic dessert. Light, simple and delicious, it is easy to make and requires only a little sugar, no fat, and very little flour.

Although the basic angel food cake is white it can be varied with different flavors such as chocolate or by adding 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon cloves.

Another change is made by carefully folding into the egg white-flour mixture, 1/3 cup crushed peppermint sticks.

Baked in the traditional angel food tube pan this cake is often preferred plain without frosting, especially when it is served as an accompaniment to icecream or other light dessert.

Here is a recipe for the chocolate variety. Chocolate Angel Cake 1 1/4 cups (10 to 12 ) egg whites 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 cup granulated sugar, sifted 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract 3/4 cup sifted cake flour 1/4 cup cocoa 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Egg whites should be at least 3 days old. They should be at room temperature, between 60 and 70 degrees F. Separate them just before using.

Whip egg whites until foamy then add cream of tartar and whip until stiff but not dry. Fold in the 1 cup sifted sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla and lemon extract.

Sift flour, cocoa and powdered sugar together 4 times then sift a small amount into the batter and fold it in. Repeat this until all flour is folded in.

Put batter in an ungreased 9-inch tube pan then draw a thin spatula through the dough to destroy any air pockets.

Bake 45 minutes in oven preheated to 350 degrees F.

When cake is done reverse the pan as you remove it from the oven, resting the tube on an inverted funnel or a small bottle, so the cake will be above the table.

Let it hang about 1 1/2 hours until set. Remove from the pan for serving or before storing.

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